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There's a lady I work with who's a new mom :) She's very excited about her baby and always talks about him—to the point where it's uncomfortable. Every time I say hi to her or walk by her she tells me a story and even shows me videos and pictures on her phone and computer. While I can tolerate the occasional story, it's kind of ridiculous every time I see her she acts out a story and makes some baby imitation sounds. (I'm not the president of the company but I sure would have a problem with clients walking in and seeing the secretary pretending she's a baby, and she's a grown woman.)

What should I do next time this happens? This is affecting my work, as I notice I'm now trying to avoid her. What should I say when shown pictures or videos of the baby making a mess? I'm not so good with kids.

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closed as off-topic by gnat, Garrison Neely, Jim G., Jan Doggen, ReallyTiredOfThisGame Aug 19 at 14:23

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6  
Be considerate buddy it will pass, i bet with a new xbox you would have done the same :D –  amar Aug 19 at 5:05
2  
@amar: my experience is that it doesn't entirely pass. Many parents continue talking about their children pretty much indefinitely. The children stop being babies, but I'm not sure the questioner will be any less worked up by imitations of toddlers, small children, teenagers, etc ;-) The questioner might get lucky and be dealing with a parent who loses interest in keeping her colleagues up to date with her family, but doing nothing other than counting on that is a risky strategy... –  Steve Jessop Aug 19 at 9:36

3 Answers 3

I can see 4 ways of dealing with it:

  • Let it pass. As David mentions in the comments, she will probably talk less about the kid as time goes by.

  • Tactfully avoid her stories. When you are done with your business with her, and she starts on her stories, say something like, 'I'm sorry, I really have to get back to project XY'. By stopping and listening, you are encouraging her to keep talking. If you about 90% of the time make up some excuse and hurry on, you are still being friendly, but you are also not encouraging her to tell you every last little thing.

  • Talk to her boss about it. If it really bothers you to the point of impacting your work, and if you are afraid she will do it to a client (I think that would be highly unlikely), tell her boss. If she is not acting appropriately for her job, then the boss is the one to deal with it. However, if you are the only person bothered by her behavior, you might come off as an ass to her boss.

  • Talk to her about it. If you are a direct kind of person, you might be able to say 'your baby is really sweet, but I am not really interested in all the baby stories'. I don't really recommend this, and you need to know for sure you can pull this off without alienating her.

I would only really recommend doing the 2 first items, unless you really think that she is disrupting the business for multiple people and/or jeopardizing client relationships.

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From someone who's been in exactly the same situation but from the opposite side please let me reassure you firstly that this will pass.

I suffered (and friends who have also returned from maternity leave agree) from what I can only describe as 'baby brain' for the first 12 months after we had our child.

'Baby brain' as we refer to it is, is generally caused by having spent the last 6/9 months where the majority of your human contact is spent with someone who makes only gurgle noises and weird faces. The fact that your mind is literally still reeling from the fact that you actually made a tiny little person and that the blob that they start out as quickly turns into an actual tiny person with moods and mannerisms all combine to make them literally your entire world.

It follows therefore that you genuinely can't comprehend the possibility that another person won't find your baby's antics as amazing and hysterical as you do.

Odds are that she has absolutely no idea that she's a) prattling on incessantly and b) that you really don't care.

There's potentially other factors at play, if it's a first child then there's possibly a bit of separation anxiety and guilt on her part that she's at work and might miss some of the major milestones like first word, crawling etc. Talking excessively about baby's antics may be her way of reassuring herself that she's not essentially neglecting her child by coming back to work.

I'm honestly not trying to justify it, once this period had passed for me I found it just as annoying when friends went through it so I understand where you're coming from. However I do remember what it was like, so tend to grin and bear it.

If waiting it out (honestly this phenomena should pass), isn't an option then you can gently and tactfully try to explain that you have pressing work/deadlines etc.

If it's possible, having things like a couple of photos on her desk (maybe as a collective gift from the office) can go a way to giving her the 'constant contact' she's craving.

Lastly, once this period of time passes you may find that it's even beneficial. The days where big business client relationships were maintained on the golf course or in members only clubs are fast waning, partially as a result of increased numbers of women as CEO's and in senior management positions.

I've traded some pretty funny (to us at least) child related anecdotes with clients (both male and female) before. This has established some common ground with them and makes both sides view each other as human. To the point where meetings can start with a quick 'how are the kids?'. This human side to the relationship can have its benefits when it comes to retaining client loyalty etc.

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8  
This has got to be one of the best answers on this site. –  Mehrdad Aug 19 at 10:07

I've not had to deal with this but my SO works in some mother-heavy workplaces and she did come up with a solution.

When they pull out pictures of babies she pulls out her phone with pictures/videos of our pet.

They are as bored by them as she is by their babies. The more perceptive of them thus experience a moment of insight. The less perceptive of them just stop showing her baby pictures to avoid being bored with videos of a hamster.

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-1 Combating a negative with a negative. –  Jan Doggen Aug 19 at 11:11
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absolutely not. It's not impolite, it avoids needless drama and solves the problem. Worst case scenario they actually like the pet pictures and the 2 of you at least have something to talk about other than babies that fits into the showing off of pictures. –  Murphy Aug 19 at 11:15

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