Life’ Suggestion Box: To coworkers who want me to love their children as much as they do

First seen on Kid Free Living as my guest post.

I know you’ve probably read it over there already, but I figured I should have a copy on my own blog.  A new post will go up tomorrow, if I remember what I was going to write about and then remember to write it.

To: Coworkers who want me to love their children as much as they do

I’m a writer/editor and generally go to work to produce things. In fact, I’m even paid to go to work to produce things. One thing I will never produce is offspring, and no disrespect, but I am not paid to find out exactly what the offspring you produced said that was “so cute” or what they produced while sitting on potty.

I have it written in my contract.

Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy personal interaction with you and other coworkers in minimal doses, and although I would rather have a root canal once a week for the rest of my life than have children, I respect your decision to reproduce. Casual conversation about life outside the office can be lovely, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

What we’re talking about is when you invade my space and force me to hear stories of possible allergies and prolific artistic talents with macaroni and glue, forcing me to concoct ideas on how I can use office supplies to plot your untimely and mysterious disappearance.

I can block you on Facebook, I can choose to “leave discussion” or “delete conversation.” But this option is not available in real life and any attempt to implement these solutions in the office is apparently frowned upon.

So in the interest of keeping the peace in the office—and resentment and homicidal tendencies to a minimum—I thought I might make a few suggestions to help us move past this:

  1. Take off the baby blinders and look for the signs. Perhaps you think I’m interested because I’m looking past your head, pretending to look busy at my computer,  breathing deeply (sighing, not in a creepy panting “What are you wearing?” phone call way) and occasionally nodding my head politely. I’m not. In all actuality, I tuned out the second the words “kidlet” and “breast pump” were dropped into conversation as you dropped off my mail.
  2. Keep pictures to a minimum. If you bring in normal pictures and the situation is casual, I might take a genuine interest in seeing what the little bugger looks like. I do not need them emailed to me from your office account and I do not need to receive a mouse pad with your offspring’s picture on it. No one not related to you does, and even your relatives are just being polite.
  3. NEVER force me to look at an ultrasound picture, as all embryos look like aliens and freak me the heck out.
  4. Understand that when I say I don’t want to have children, I really mean I don’t want to have children. Please do not look at me as if I just declared I don’t want to ever have fun or time to myself again, as for me, having children would amount to never having fun or time to myself again. To put it in parental terms, it would be a permanent “time out” for me.
  5. Finally, if you bring your child into the office to show them off, please do not be offended if I don’t immediately come running out to make conversation in a high-pitched voice, hold them or pet them. I understand that you’re proud of the little mouth breathers, and I’m sure they’re lovely, but kids are not my thing. If you bring in a puppy, it’s a totally different story.

If we can reach a mutual understanding that my office is a kid-free environment, things will go much smoother in the future. If not, the personalized mouse pad will be used as a dartboard.

You’ve been warned.

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9 responses to “Life’ Suggestion Box: To coworkers who want me to love their children as much as they do

  1. I once voiced my opinion a about this, and suddenly I was a treated like a leper, to top it off, someone said “they are shocked” and that it’s our duty to produce offspring (I need a good retort) do you have some? I also unjoined a group because when they got together, it was always for freak’n play dates, I know this sounds mean, but I don’t want to stop chatting by and interrupted cry, whine, whatever.

    • I’ve started to just not act impressed with their stories and tell them they could probably do better, that they should keep trying to actually get a “good” one. Pretty soon they’ll stop talking about their kids, and if they don’t, at least they’ll stop talking to you about their kids.
      Tell them you have plants. Plants don’t spew things from various bodily openings and scream to suckle from your breast (although this might be describing several men as well, so be careful who you alienate.)

  2. I do not discuss my children unless folks ask, for I have a whole range of interests that have nothing to do with my children. I assume the same is true for parents and non-parents alike.

    I wonder if this phenomenon is one that the KFL author experiences in other contexts but blocks out or otherwise doesn’t find as irritating, because I can tell you, people love telling me about all manner of business I could not care less about while I am working. I like these people. I enjoy their company. But, basically, my take is I am there to get sh!t done, and if you are talking at me about the neighborhood weekend parties while I am clearly (a) backing away, (b) verbally indicating I have work to do and must leave in order to accomplish said work while (c) looking everywhere but at you, please, please understand this means that I am not as involved in the conversation as you and am in fact trying to escape it.

    I seriously enjoy my coworkers. I wouldn’t mind these conversations away from the office. At the office, though? There’s an element of captivity missing elsewhere, which is precisely why I try to check often to ensure that–no matter what I’m talking about with someone at the office–both parties are still actively engaged in the conversation!

    • I actually wrote this post on KFL and just reposted it here, but I have to agree with your comment 100 percent in that I enjoy my coworkers and don’t mind these conversations away from the work environment. Your last paragraph summed it up perfectly, minus my sarcasm 😉

      • Oops, sorry! I always try to caution myself about reading verrrry closely the first post or two of the evening on account of that it takes me a little while to shift modes, but there’s still clearly room left for improvement! 😀

  3. Then again, when your boss wants to share his (yes, I know, or HER) love and affection for his new-born gollum with you while your trying to enjoy a well-deserved cup of what-ever-it-is-you’re-drinking, the ideal moment to seriously practise your acting skills SLASH sucking-up methods has presented itself for you to take advantage of. Or you could grin and say, “IT looks just like you, boss.”

    -Randy

  4. I need to print out this list because I am in love with it. Great minds think alike. Especially the whole “hey I wanna show you my sonogram picture” No. No. No. No. They all look aliens and the only babies who I do think are cute are fat ones not little ones in your belly. And I don’t want to touch your belly, solely because I think I will get infected.

    I hate how people expect me to justify why I dont want kids. I’m selfish and I don’t, there. Thats my reasoning. Oh yeah, add the whole I want a life thing to the reason as well.

  5. I have unfriended people on Facebook simply because they won’t stop posting pictures of their children. Please do not news feed molest me with your baby’s first poop. Especially since I tend to check Facebook when I’m eating lunch.

  6. The worst is the cubicle cornerer — they will walk up and stand barring the doorway to your office and you are stuck.
    I had several tactics to get rid of them…NEVER turn fully around in your chair for starters.
    My old stand-by was always the stand up and say “I just HAVE to pee. Can’t wait.” Then one day? The unthinkable. She followed me to the bathroom.
    Yup! Went in an everything. I didn’t even have to go. She was so busy going on and on I don’t think she noticed.
    I actually loved the woman but MAN could she talk.

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