Post # 1
My co-worker came back from maternity leave last week. I love her to death, but since she’s been back, ALL SHE TALKS ABOUT is her baby. I’m really thrilled for her and happy she has a new addition to her family, but I can’t have a conversation with her without her bringing up her baby.
I’m the person who is in charge of training her, and no matter what we’re talking about (even mundane work reports), she reverts back to talking about her kid. I’m genuinely interested in her baby – I just don’t need to know that he’s currently sick and “leaking crap everywhere” today (she told me this three times. Three times!)
I completely understand that having a baby is one of, if not the most joyous experience in a person’s life. And I want to know how the baby is developing, and have interest in his life and her life with the baby. I just don’t need every single conversation dominated by the baby.
Has anyone else dealt with this, and if so, how did you handle it?
Post # 3
You could try bringing up other topics that aren’t baby-related, but I think this may just be a thing that you have to wait out. She’s probably been cooped up at home with her baby for the last 12 weeks, so of course he/she is the main thing on her mind. She’ll probably talk more about other things as she gets settled back in at work.
Post # 4
I don’t have a ton of advice here but my initial thought was that if she is JUST back from maternity leave, she is probably missing her baby like crazy. She probably doesn’t mean to talk only about him, but she’s just been in total mommy mode since he’s been born and hasn’t quite moved back into work mode during the workday yet.
I know it’s hard when you can’t really relate (and don’t want to hear about baby’s leakages at work), but I’d hope that as she gets more settled, she finds a way to balance her work side and her new mom side. In the meantime, see if there are any other topics you can bring up. What did you used to talk about with her?
Post # 5
@mgol25: Like PPs said she’s probably just missing her baby and isn’t quite back in work mode yet. Bring up conversation topics that you used to talk about and if she starts talking about her baby when you’re trying to colaborate on a work thing maybe say something like ‘I’m so pleased that Ben is sitting now, what a clever boy! But we really need to take care of this poltergeist, so why don’t you tell me all about it later?’.
If she starts talking about something you do NOT want to know about, like the contents of the baby’s diaper, then just say ‘Ew Tina, TMI!’ in a joking way.
This is something that will die down eventually and you’re probably just going to have to listen to more baby talk than you’d like in the meantime.
ETA: I’m a mom myself and one question that never ceases to get the conversation off babies is the question ‘So how are YOU doing?’.
Post # 6
Also, if you guys are friendly, invite her out to lunch. You have to remember the only socializing she probably gets is at work. It might be good for her to be out amongst the people and discuss current events and other aspects of life.
I’m a SAHM and I can’t imagine how hard it must be to leave your child at home, even if you love your career, I imagine there’s some level of mommy guilt (like with most parenting decisions!)
Does she have a desk/office? Maybe encourage her to bring some new pics of the baby in cute frames to show off. It might sound counterproductive, but as others said, she probably just really misses her baby. Perhaps it would help feel close?
Post # 7
To be honest, I can’t really remember what we spoke about before she went on mat leave. We don’t have a ton in common, so it was mostly work stuff I guess? We had a lot more distance before because we worked on the same team, but on different projects. Now that I have to retrain her and work closely with her most of the day, I notice that she’s in mommy mode 24/7. I’ve tried to talk about current events and other sort of neutral topics, but it seems like every conversation goes back to the baby.
I completely agree with both of you – she does miss her son like crazy, and she’s told me as such. I completely understand and I feel for her. She was with him for an entire year and is probably feeling like a fish out of water, being away from her son and trying to get a handle on work again. I just don’t need to hear the nitty gritty of what her baby is experiencing. Saying “he’s sick” would suffice! 🙂 I’ve never been comfortable when parents talk about vomit or excrement or bodily functions of their children as if it’s something I need to know about, or it’s something that passes as small talk. That’s something I need to get over I suppose! Thanks so much for the advice – it’s something I will have to wait out. 🙂 If it goes on for a few more weeks, I’ll definitely (nicely) address it with her.
Post # 8
Definitely ask how she’s doing. I think so many people ask about the baby and no one even stops to ask how the parents are doing/feeling. It might do her a world of good to just say “I really miss the baby” or “Gosh! I’m exhausted”. It’s always nice for people to feel someone notices them.
Post # 9
@Carlasgettingmarried: Thanks for this. I never thought to ask about how she’s doing. The focus has been on her son for so long that this question is probably never asked. I’ll ask her tomorrow.
@stuckinwonderland: She does have a desk! It’s back to back with mine. She has all of her pictures on her phone, but I should tell her to print some off and display them. There definitely is Mommy Guilt – she told me she wants to stay home with him, but can’t afford it. 🙁
Post # 10
@stuckinwonderland: Yeah, when I had my twins I was so exhausted and overwhelmed sometimes it was nice when people asked about me and reminded me that I was a person outside of my offspring. If the OP’s coworker is not totally self-centered then she should also ask how the OP is doing in response too, which would start a conversation.
Post # 11
I agree with PPs. She is probably going through a lot. My MOH had her baby in Oct. and is always talking about her baby. I LOVE her adorable daughter, but sometimes, I do wish we could talk about other things. I know, however, that it’s because she is coming to terms with the fact that she has to go back to work in September. I say cut her a bit of slack, see this as a form of venting, and know that in time, it will slow down as she has other things (like work) to worry about. She will eventually realize that this is all she speaks about, and will tone it down.