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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Should You Talk About Your Kids At Work?


Today, on Working Mommy Wednesday, we’re answering a tough question:  should working moms (and dads) talk about their kids at work?

Here’s my short answer:  know your audience.

Even though you think little “Junior” is the greatest thing since sliced bread, not everyone cares.  Some working adults don’t have kids.  Some don’t like kids.  Others are just over them (been there, done that!).  Still others haven’t reached that stage in life – and it scares them just thinking about it.

I was sitting down at dinner with a new client the other evening, and he started moaning about all the screaming kids on his flight.  I quickly looked at his hand – no wedding ring.  (Of course, this doesn’t mean he doesn’t have children of his own, but I tend to watch for the signs.) 

Note to self:  I probably shouldn’t lead the conversation with stories about my darling children.

On the other hand, some of us – especially women – make the mistake of thinking that any reference to our personal lives isn’t “professional.”  So we hide the pictures of our children and act like we’re not mothers – just because we don’t want others to think we have “Mommy Mush Brain.”   This too can be a mistake.  As a lawyer and a mother, some of my closest bonds with both my colleagues and clients have centered around my children.

But I still walk that tight rope. 


Laura said...

Great advice -- Know your audience. As a teacher, I'm in a natural setting to talk about my boys. In fact, they've sat in desks in front of my colleagues... sometimes another tightrope to walk.

Bottom line, Know your audience is the best advice, Susan!

Julie Cragon said...

Know your audience is great advice. I'm fortunate enough that most of my children have started in the bookstore in a front pack of some sort with a nap on the office floor and customers asking to hold the little darlings. Now two of my children work with us during the summer and the others are asked about by our regular customers. I'm lucky not to have to have to think about it much. Nice post.

Heidiopia said...

This is definitely a fine line to walk. When I worked in the mortgage business, I kept photos of my kids on my desk, but was careful not to go on and on about them. Now that I work with children it's not an issue! But great advice to consider the person or people you're conversing with. You just never know!

Laura said...

This is a tough call sometimes, isn't it? Know your audience is a good way to gauge it. I have friends at work whom I am closer to than others and we always enjoy sharing about our families. I think it's best to err on the side of want to be considerate.

As always, very thoughtful, Susan!

Amy Sullivan said...

I like to share, but I don't want to be that one, you know her, the one that talks on and on and on about her darlings.

Susan DiMickele said...

Well, just know that I never get sick of hearing about your kids! (Yeah, I'm a mom.)

T. Anne said...

What a great post! When i worked at the hospital I was leery to share my kids and all their doings with my coworkers. (With the exception of the other mommies on the unit). Of course I was usually carrying one around with all the time. I was pregnant three of the seven years I worked there.