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Odd one out having children

(3 Posts)
raspberrycheesecake Fri 06-Nov-09 11:49:15

Anyone else here returned to work from maternity leave to a team where you are the only team member with children? Infact I am the only team member who is in a long term relationship (I am married) and have one child. All of the other team members (all of whom are women apart from one man) are single and have no children. My boss has tried but god I feel like i stick out like a sore thumb. She is good insofar as she lets me leave on time every day but I still feel it would be an absolute no no to mention the name of my child in the office or much worse have a photo of my baby anywhere near my desk. I can honestly say I don't spend any time on the phone to the nursery, the nursery has phoned me once when they thought my baby girl was poorly and i left the office one hour early to collect early, other than that I am certain I have worked harder (and work harder than all the other team members) in the 6 months since i returned from maternity. I know lots of working mums have to work harder on return from maternity to prove themselves but I so wish there was someone else with young children in the office. Worse I am now expecting number two, only 12 weeks gone so while before I have to tell my boss but I am dreading it. Anyone else with similar experiences?

Antiquarian Mon 09-Nov-09 12:29:27

Yes - at my work (new job started since I had my DD), only one person has ever asked me anything about my baby. Otherwise it seems like the whole subject is totally taboo.

My immediate boss doesn't have children, that was her decision, she's devoted to her career. Good for her, but she also often tells me that she's utterly un-interested in anyone complaining about the problems of having small children and working. Last week she and a colleague stood next to my desk and had that very conversation. The colleague ended it by saying, "That's why I returned to work immediately after having my four!" As if it was some kind of badge of honour. I felt like standing up and walking out the door, especially because I am pregnant and will not be returning 'immediately' after this baby!

It's not that I want to go in every day and discuss my DD in detail, but I would like to feel that it was OK to sometimes openly acknowledge that I'm also a mother. This kind of thing is very important - I research gender equality (I'm an academic), and having to conceal one side of who you are everyday drives many women out of the workplace.

Good luck - and you're not alone!

dontrunwithscissors Mon 09-Nov-09 23:02:41

Another one to say you're not alone, raspberry. I understand how isolating it can feel. I'm the only person in my department to have children, and some of the people I work with think it's just plain weird to have kids. (I'm also an academic.) When I was pregnant with DD one of my colleagues asked 'but WHY would you do that to yourself?!' Thankfully I've managed to get in touch with a couple of women in other departments who had children around the same time as me. We get together to have lunch every now and then and quietly talk about potty training and sleepless nights before slinking off back to work.....

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