update: my coworkers told my boss I talk about my baby too much

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager! All this week and next, I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the letter-writer whose coworkers told her boss she was talking about her baby too much? Here’s the update.

Wow! I had no idea this ever got posted and have spent the morning reading through many of the replies. Since it’s so long after-the fact and I didn’t even realize it was ever published (my personal inbox is where things go to die these days!), I will share that having a few therapy sessions helped me through in real-time and I am now able to step back quite a bit more when these situation come up. I have an update, plus can answer a few questions (and probably need more advice).

First, to clarify a few things from comments:
– I work fully remote.
– When this happened, the people who I assume (2, not 6 like was told to me) that complained are individuals who my team shares clients with and clients would ask how things were going with the baby.
– The company culture has a lot of political parts to it (spot on, commenters!).
– The position I’m in is for a very small part of our overall service offerings, and I can assure you that absolutely nobody in the company wanted it. It has had a bit of a lackluster reputation internally due to the previous leadership, and I’ve worked hard to get this division/department of the business in a place that can be respected by our colleagues.
– Yes, while out on maternity leave, it was very hard for my team. We’re comprised of Millennial and Gen. Z women managing a growing line of the business. A lot of things, such as sales/new business efforts, are put on our plates that our colleagues don’t have to participate in. I did my best to set them up for success while I was out, but I know it was hard. I made sure they have all been promoted, 10%+ raises, and received good bonuses. They are smart, driven and thoughtful people that I am so grateful to work with (and I tell them all the time).

With that out of the way, I have some quick updates to share.

There are a few people who have worked here for a long, long time (20+ years) and are close personal friends to the owners. A very large part of the issue can be traced back to my close proximity with the owners due to the nature of my department and our ambitious growth goals. It has meant that my boss, one of the owners, spends more time with our department than before and he has admitted that it has been a struggle for him to balance the support we need with his long-time reports. We have also worked to drive a number of changes, and change is always difficult. Ultimately, I’ve realized that when challenging a status quo that has been accepted for so long, there will be people who don’t like me and will find things to complain about on a personal level, since it isn’t my work ethic or the work we’re doing. That’s just life.

I did ask some trusted colleagues and they were shocked but gave me some good advice on how to move forward. It was helpful to receive and it has not been brought up since. People still regularly ask, whether internally or externally, for baby pictures/updates, and I do the same with their kids/pets/hobbies/spouses/etc. Personal connection, in my view, will always play an important role in my career.

Last, when I wrote this, I was only 15 weeks postpartum. I was happy to be back at work for my mental health (adults! decision making that didn’t involve poopy diapers! yay!), andI know how fortunate I am to have a flexible WFH job, but internet strangers: please continue to fight for true paid maternity/paternity leave for parents. Looking back, I was not actually ready mentally or physically to return to work, but my friends, 12 weeks (which in my case, only 8 of which were paid at a fraction of my salary under FMLA) is not enough time for anyone who has just given birth or welcomed a new tiny addition into their family. I hope that when my daughter is old enough to join the workforce, there is legislation in place to address this issue.

Thank you so much to everyone – Alison, the commenters – for your thoughtful responses. I am truly humbled by the support and questions you all challenged me with.

{ 95 comments… read them below }

  1. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

    “It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager!”

    Also known as the most wonderful time of the year!

        1. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

          Every August in Canada, Staples used to run a most wonderful time of the year commercial series to celebrate kids going back to school :D

          Not sure if they still do this as i don’t have cable anymore.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      This update has quite a lot going on, but no update is too small for the community here! We always want to know what happened next (or what was actually happening at the time).

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I hope OP went out to dinner with the spice food person whose HR rep was involved with the food thief!

    2. Irish Teacher*

      It’s just perfect timing for me, being on summer holiday and before I start correcting the State exams!

  2. introverted af*

    I feel the OP on the maternity leave. My husband and I are considering leaving the US over it (among a number of other economic factors).

    1. I Don’t Know It All*

      Me too. When I had my son I was working for a company that had fewer than 50 employees so I didn’t qualify for FMLA. I got 6 weeks of paid leave and then I took another 3 weeks of vacation. I was contacted multiple times while on leave. And then I came back and one of my direct reports was unexpectedly out for 4 months due to illness, so I came back exhausted, emotional, with double the work, it was horrible. And the fact that it’s the norm (and better than what many people get) in this country is appalling.

      1. JustaTech*

        I’m so sorry you got contacted on leave.

        When I was born my mom’s boss came over when I was 5 days (days!) old to “see the baby”, then turned it into a 2 hour strategy meeting, then hounded my mom back to work after 3 weeks. (Thankfully she had a nanny lined up, but after about a year she couldn’t deal with the boss and the job and me and quit.)

        The only time I’ve ever seen a coworker contacted on leave was when the only other person who knew how to do the Very Complicated Thing was away at his father’s funeral, and if the Thing didn’t get done they would lose a year of work. The person on leave came in for like 2 hours (while half the lab coo’d over the baby) and then was gone again for another couple of weeks.

    2. Glacier*

      Welcome to Estonia – parental leave is 18 months with full salary paid by govt (there is minimum pay for those who were unemployed and max gap for people with higher salary) and you can stay at home until the kid is 3y old (for those other 18 mo you will receive small child support, approx 60 EUR). Employer has to keep your position.
      After child is 4mo old, mom and dad can switch who stays at home, and it can be switched month to month if required.

      I cannot imagine going to work and leave 3mo old at home – hell, I was still high on hormones, cannot remember much from first momths after giving birth…

      1. introverted af*

        Even just the UK – a year of leave at a combination of partial pay, guaranteed return to your position or a similar one. Like the whole point of having a child is to love this new person, and you actually get the time in that super formative year to do that.

        1. Rainy*

          Unfortunately, the whole point of having a child in the US is to provide grist for the mill of our unsustainable, abusive systems–and it shows.

        2. pandop*

          It’s also good for those of us who are not parents. I gained much of the experience that got me my current job on maternity cover secondments – it’s a good way to get experience at the next level up in your career.

      2. Anita Brayke*

        Thanks for the info-Estonia looks like an awesome place to be (on my 5-minute info search just now)!

      3. allathian*

        Yup, the legislation in Finland is similar. I returned to work when my son was slightly over 2 years old. That said, compared to the US, maternity/parental leave policies are pretty good wherever you are in the EU.

        In Finland, the non-birthing parent is entitled to paternity/parental leave regardless of their gender. The situation for gay couples is more difficult, though, because surrogacy is illegal here.

        1. MT*

          It’s one of the things that astounds me most about the US attitude to parental leave – so many people are actively choosing not to have children because they can’t afford it. One of the most effective ways to keep a population size healthy is to ensure parents are financially and socially supported, so if the end goal is to keep a future workforce populated why wouldn’t you do everything needed to encourage childbirth rates stay steady?

          Here in Sweden you get 480 days at 80% salary that are automatically split between both parents, with the absolute requirement that both parents take a minimum of 3 months of them, but most couples I know have split it closer to the middle. One of my favourite things upon moving here was seeing all the dads out with their prams having coffee in the park, and generally the gender role equality with parenting. You can also save some of the days to use through the years the kid is 8 years old (or similar). There is also a separate system where you can take no questions asked paid days off to care for sick children.

          I’m currently around 20 weeks pregnant with our first, and we’ve made the VERY DIFFICULT decision to relocate to the UK (where the support system is still FINE tbh) because we don’t have any family support here. So – the family support will be invaluable, but we are acutely aware of what we are missing out on by leaving Sweden.

        2. Caroline Bowman*

          leaving aside surrogacy, surely many gay people go the IVF or adoption route? Surrogacy seems quite fraught, even where it’s perfectly legal, there’s a lot of moving parts.

    3. Cat Tree*

      I absolutely think we need more parental leave (and that the non-birth parent should be expected to take some too, when applicable. BUT I also wish that OP wouldn’t speak for everyone. I went back to work at 12 weeks and it was absolutely great for me. I wish I could have gone back sooner but that’s when I had arranged for childcare to start.

      From my own perspective, I think that high quality affordable childcare is equally as important as parental leave. Not all moms want a year off work with their kid. Many of the struggles of going back to work could be addressed with better childcare instead of just additional maternity leave. Arrangements that hinge on women doing full time childcare on top of a full time job (WFH with kid or bring baby along to work) are really not sustainable, but women putting their careers hold even longer isn’t the only solution.

      1. PhyllisB*

        I respect your position that you were ready to come back early, not everyone is. The issue is being free to choose what works for your personal situation. In my case, I got six weeks paid, and had the option (which I took) of taking an extra six months unpaid,
        I totally agree with you about the need for high quality affordable childcare. I had three children in six years, and if my husband and I had not been in well-paying jobs there is no way we could have afforded child care for 3 kids. When my oldest was born, we didn’t have public kindergarten in our area, so we had to pay for that. By the time the other two were school age it was in place.

        1. Observer*

          Cat Tree didn’t say that everyone is ready. They said that the OP’s claim that “no one” is ready is a problem.

          Many women are not ready, childcare or not. But for a lot of women I know, if they have better childcare options, they would not need a year.

      2. Ally McBeal*

        No one is suggesting legislation mandating all parents MUST take 12-18 months of leave. Legislation should be enacted to force companies to OFFER it.

        1. AnonyMouse*

          After my first, I took a combination of personal and sick leave (no maternity leave!) for 15 weeks combined and was more than ready to go back.
          After my third – well, it’s been a year already and I’m still working with a therapist on my severe PPMD and my work, which I had to go back to at 12 weeks (no more built up personal time, but finally got some paid parental leave) and I was absolutely NOT ready, is still not where I want it to be. And I think more time off without the pressure of work performance would have benefited my mental health tremendously and ultimately benefited my employer. I would have loved to work on the PPMD and get to a good place BEFORE picking up all the work responsibilities, and I think I would have recovered faster.

          Lots of people want to go back to work, for many reasons. But lots of other people (or the same people at different points in their lives) go back to work because they have to, knowing that they’re not ready. We need to support both groups.

      3. Dr.Vibrissae*

        This! I was sooo ready to not be at home with an infant by 12 weeks. I was very lucky to have a flexible job and a spouse who could stay home with the baby. Lack of affordable childcare was the main concern for many of the people I knew with infants at the time. I mean 18 months of alternating care sounds nice, but I’d prefer fully covered or subsidized childcare and preschool. Having to stay at home with the child until 3year sounds like my idea of a nightmare (and I enjoy spending time with kids, both mine and in general). Lack of affordable childcare combined with my spouse’s desire not to have to care for an infant fulltime again is a big reason we only have 1.

      4. Scott*

        The more I read on this site and others about moms and their experiences, the more I believe my wife is/was a rock star when it comes to motherhood. My daughter was only 3 months old and my son was just short of 2 years old when I went to sea on a lengthy deployment (Navy submarine). I never really doubted her being a supermom but a lot of others’ stories really confirm it for me.

            1. Cherries on top*

              But why did you choose to abandon your wife and very young children for work?

              1. AnonToday*

                Scott didn’t say he re-enlisted, so I’m presuming he wasn’t in a position to tell the Navy he didn’t want to be deployed or he wanted to resign and go back to civilian life.

        1. Double A*

          Actually, your wife is just a mom in the US. What she did is normal. Every mom in the US does stuff like this. It’s just that US forces us to be “super moms” because it treats moms like crap.

          Moms are really, really sick of lip service. We don’t want to be heroes or supermoms. We want systems that support our families.

          1. Squishy*

            Oh, this is so well said. We just want the same freedom over our life choices as non birthing parents.

        2. I'll Never Tell*

          Yeah, I found out I was pregnant just before my husband deployed. He got to be home for her birth but essentially I was a single parent until she was three. Can confirm that I’m not a superhero or mom, just a regular mom making the stuff we get handed work with little support.

      5. EngineerMom*

        100% agree! Some women are ready to go back at 12 weeks. There should be more flexibility to take more time (for both parents!) and more childcare option and more part time options to fit a varying degree of families out there. I would have loved to go back half time after my 12 week maternity leave but that’s not common in my field (engineering) and not practical with health insurance tied to employer. Sigh.

      6. quill*

        The thing is that when leave is available, you can take less of it, but when it’s not, you often can’t afford to take any more of it. And there should be more leave available for non-birth parents. And actually affordable childcare that pays its workers a living wage…

        My point is it’s going to take more than one policy change to fix everything. So that people can arrange their lives to their advantage.

      7. Caroline Bowman*

        I’d say the option of additional parental leave, at least part-paid would be what the OP is hoping happens, not that they think everyone wants exactly and precisely what she wants and moreover should have that, what a strange takeaway.

        Even in the tinpot republic from which I hail the maternity leave regs out-class what the US offers and that is incredibly, incredibly scary, because we’re remarkably rubbish at a lot of stuff. Not to say what’s offered is remotely fantastic, nothing like the EU versions, but it’s universal and longer ”as standard” with more protections for the new parent.

    4. I Need a 9 Hour Nap*

      We wanted to have a child so we moved abroad. Best decision ever. I have dual citizenship so all my maternal and pregnancy care was 100% covered and I got a year off work. If I had had my child in the US I would have paid the max out of pocket deductible twice (conceived one year and born the following year) plus I would have had 2 to 4 weeks of pto to get ready to go back to work.

      There’s no financial room for pregnancy complications in the US. I had a c-section and it took three months before I could move with only minor discomfort. If my child had been a premie or I had more serious complications, the financial stress alone would have extended the recovery time. I was supported by the government and the healthcare system and I never had to think about if I could afford to go to the emergency room or go on my maternity leave before my due date.

      And for the haters of public health care and safety nets, I contributed and paid my taxes. This was not a free ride and I was not milking the system.

      I also got my degree while abroad because the government does 0% interest loans for education. And has affordable payment schemes.

      1. Nynaeve*

        At least my hospital had the deductible thing figured out. They bill for a pregnancy “package” only once at the time of delivery. All your pre-natal care, regardless of the calendar year or your plan’s term, is billed as if it was a single visit. My insurance even changed midway through and, except for a couple of extra labs and ultrasounds that weren’t covered by the package because they weren’t in the system with the hospital, the second insurance covered everything. It was a surprise, but a welcome one. I was very worried about the 2 deductible situation when I fell pregnant in June.

        1. I Need a 9 Hour Nap*

          It was Australia. I got citizenship through one of my parents and because I had citizenship, my husband received permanent residency when I sponsored him.

          I know I’m extremely fortunate. Our child is actually disabled so we will be moving back to Australia at some point so he has better longterm care outcomes when he is closer to adulthood.

          1. Cherries on top*

            So you went back to the us, but when you want to take advantage of a better conditions you temporarily move? And he you move back to the US and now want to go back of those conditions?

    5. Purple Cat*

      So honest question – where might you go?
      Wouldn’t most countries with better policies not necessarily be open to Americans working there?
      (I have not looked into any of this, so I have no idea what reality looks like)

      1. nona*

        I’m curious as well. I imagine, you’d have to apply for citizenship elsewhere (or have dual citizenship already) in order to make it a reality and that’s…not simple? Or maybe find a job that will sponsor you needing to live in another country, but being an expat also has complications?

        1. Ex-Pat 604*

          It would vary by country, but some offer benefits to non-citizen residents. My health benefits kicked in when I arrived on what Canada calls a “permanent resident” visa. (It’s been awhile… there might have been a short delay, like under 3 months). There are complications to moving to other countries to live and work, for sure. Getting employment, depending on your field. Taxes can be an issue. There’s an international border to deal with. You have to adjust culturally. But depending on your circumstances and desire to live in new places, it is manageable.

          1. AnonToday*

            “Circumstances” such as being able to prove you will not be a burden on the new country. And many countries will reject people with a Disabled family member who will be a burden on the nationalized healthcare system.

      2. J*

        I find a lot of people assume moving abroad for better policies is easy. It’s incredibly complicated and without direct ties to citizenship or niche employment being specifically recruited, it’s not likely the solution people think it is. If you’re disabled or have dependents, the list of countries looking to accept you will narrow significantly.

        1. I Need a 9 Hour Nap*

          Disabilities is a huge limiting factor (autism, for example, can see applications declined even if the autistic person will not be a drain on the public health care system). Most of the time you need permanent residency to be a part of the public health care system and that usually requires living in the country for a number of years so job sponsorship is necessary. It is a commitment.

          Some countries will grant citizenship if you can prove a grandparent was a citizen of that country. Usually you need their passport or birth certificate.

        2. AcademiaNut*

          Yeah, you generally just can’t spontaneously move to a foreign country. The usual paths are 1) marry a citizen/permanent residence (can still take *years* to immigrate afterwards), 2) have a parent who is a citizen/permanent resident 3) get a job that will sponsor you for a visa (limited to certain types of jobs, generally niche or highly skilled) 4) go to university there (requires being accepted and demonstrating that you can support yourself financially without a job there) and 5) a general immigration path (dependent on professional qualifications, language fluency, education, family situation, health status, level of competition, and can still take years or decades if you get in at all).

          I have a friend who was PhD technical qualified, natively fluent in English, married to an American, and it was faster to get a visa sponsoring job than immigrate as a spouse, and another whose father was a naturalized US citizen who applied for a green card for him, it went through 15 years later, with a six month window to uproot and move to the US.

          1. Caroline Bowman*

            It’s kind of like moving to the States, who aren’t renowned for letting in all comers with a big smile. Emigration without heredity claim or under very specific circumstances is tough. Australia has a thick book of exhaustive questions that go RIGHT into if one has ever taken any sort of psychiatric medication, yes, even anti-anxiety meds or anti-depressants. Obviously they weigh up lots of factors as well, but any sort of ailment or perceived ”drain” on resources is very carefully considered.

            This was part of why that horrendous, horrendous case where that South African doctor murdered her 3 little children: she and her husband (also a doctor) had emigrated to NZ during the pandemic (incredibly difficult), and were effectively imprisoned for a long period (quarantine), but to even get there, she had to come off various medications that she clearly desperately needed. The result was a total psychotic break and tragic, unimaginable results. Extreme measures are a very common thing where emigration / immigration is concerned.

      3. introverted af*

        Yeah, it would definitely be a multi-year process to figure it out and actually do it. My husband is not open to learning a new language so English only is a huge limiting factor. Some countries are definitely more open to immigration than others. The short answer from the research I have done is: look at skilled-worker visas to move, then stay long enough for whatever the permanent residency equivalent is, then naturalization.

        We are currently looking at the UK because he has a friend who has permanent residency there who has been talking it up. It seems like more of an option overall because Brexit has made US workers the same amount of work to bring in as EU workers – everybody has to be sponsored for a visa now. And our careers fall into the worker shortage lists that make it cheaper to sponsor/apply for a skilled worker visa.

        The biggest hurdle to start out seems to be to apply for and get a job that is willing to sponsor one of us for a visa. The process seems to be similar depending on what country you are looking at, but some countries may have other visas for moving to a specific area (I have seen this for Canada). I looked into New Zealand last year, and the impression I got was that the list of careers they want to bring in is pretty limited but if that’s you, you can almost waltz in compared to other countries.

        This would be a lot, to leave family and friends and practically start over in another country. But part of what has pushed us to look into this is that – even if we have some of the same problems as the US (like housing prices, overall inflation, childcare costs etc.) if we didn’t have to deal with problems like healthcare costs and poor PTO or maternity leave, that would still be better.

  3. Critical Rolls*

    I’m glad for this update, OP! Sound like it’s sorted, handled, and under control. (And I’m glad you didn’t have to experience the “AKSHULLY she doesn’t know how much she’s talking about her baby” comments in real time. *eyeroll*)

  4. Machel RcAdams*

    It’s still unbelievable to me that we don’t have proper, paid parental leave. My cousin lives in Canada, and she has 18 months off that can be shared between her and her husband. And both their companies top up their pay as well.

    1. kiki*

      It is ridiculous. It creates so many difficult management issues as well. My cousin manages a team with one woman who returned from taking her max maternity leave of 16 weeks. She’s not doing well, her baby is healthy but not sleeping, she doesn’t seem to have much help or support with this child, she’s definitely not ready to be back in the office, so she’s not performing her job at the normal standard. My cousin is trying to arrange lower-priority and lower-difficulty work for her employee, but my cousin knows that really what her employee needs is more time not worrying about work. Unfortunately, my cousin doesn’t have that sort of power (beyond gifting a few afternoons and morning off on the sly without PTO).

      1. Trawna*

        We have capitalism here in Canada. We also have socialism. They are not either-or bogeymen here, It’s a pretty successful mix.

  5. Veryanon*

    Parental leave – I had 10 weeks of (mostly unpaid) leave when my son was born in 2000. It’s shameful to me that an entire generation has had time to grow up while nothing has changed with paid parental leave in the US.

    1. anon for this*

      This update, and especially the comments, are very timely and valuable to me — one of the people in our very small firm is currently out on maternity leave, and at some level, I realize I had been starting to feel a vague resentment at her long absence.

      The resentment is now gone, replaced with a deep appreciation for the fact that my firm is giving her that leave (as far as I know, without any fuss). Thank you, commentariat, for giving my flagging attitude a well-needed kick!

      1. Swiss Miss*

        I did read the original letter. I’m just wondering if she actually was talking too much about her baby, or not?

        1. Beth*

          No, she was not. Two spiteful people had used her return to work as a basis for unjustified complaints.

      2. Less Bread More Taxes*

        I read the original and I’m also confused. I’m guessing OP never figured out what the motivation for that feedback was. She also hasn’t really given us an update on how things have changed for her.

        1. pancakes*

          It seems pretty clear to me that there’s resentment of her department due to 1) one of the owners being more involved in their work and giving them more support than other departments get, and 2) their work sometimes changes the status quo in the workplace in ways that other people resent.

        2. pancakes*

          I suppose I should add, it also seems clear to me what changed: She learned that the complaints were badly exaggerated (two people, not six, complained), and gained a fuller sense of perspective on them by way of 1) hormones calmed down a bit and 2) talking to trusted coworkers. “I did ask some trusted colleagues and they were shocked but gave me some good advice on how to move forward. It was helpful to receive and it has not been brought up since.”

    1. Mid*

      There’s a link to the original letter at the top, which might help!

      The original letter was from someone who was told that she was talking too much about her baby, and that 6 people complained to her boss about that, even though OP’s work hadn’t decreased. This update is that it wasn’t 6 people who complained, but 2 people. There are also weird politics at play at OPs job, and that added to the strange complaints.

      1. Mid*

        And no, it doesn’t sound like she was talking too much about her baby, just had difficult coworkers.

      2. Polly Hedron*

        I’ve read the original and the update and I’m still confused.

        Why had the boss said that six people had complained? Was that a barefaced lie?

        Did the boss later correct the number to two people?

        Awful boss.

        1. Ash*

          Yes, why the complainers were first numbered 6 and then revised to 2 is a key question that remains unanswered. The 6 people complaining was why the whole situation was so baffling to begin with. 6 complainers indicates a clear pattern, whereas 2 complainers can easily be explained as disgruntled coworker friends banding together.

    2. Jessica Ganschen*

      Primarily, it seems that the boss’s long-time direct reports are resentful of OP/her department getting more of the boss’s attention, due to the fact that her department is growing so significantly, and have thus manufactured reasons to dislike and complain about her.

    3. Purple Cat*

      There weren’t 6 people complaining about the baby talk, only 2, and *shocker* it really had nothing to do with baby talk and more resentment about the changes and success the LW was having.

    4. Swiss Army Them*

      It seems like fewer people complained than OP was originally told, she has objectively not been talking about her baby too much, and the people who complained did so because of resentment toward OP for pushing necessary change in her department. Looks like a case of office politics briefly aligning against OP, rather than her actually talking about her baby too much (as many commenters speculated on the original letter).

    5. Snoozy Snoopy*

      I found it confusing too, and I’ve reread both the original letter and the update: could just be Covid tiredness that’s not helping me follow.

      1. anonymous73*

        I don’t find it confusing necessarily, but the update doesn’t really speak to the original issue OP wrote to Alison about.

    6. Cocafonix*

      I had the same reaction. While understandable, this OP gave a rather defensive update. It would have made more sense to simply own a (very normal) fixation on the topic of her new baby while adjusting to returning to work so soon. As a coworker or manager, I would have noticed or been slightly annoyed by the baby talk all while being genuinely happy for her, understanding that it’s temporary, keeping it to myself, and getting on with it. It’s life, and it’s okay.

      1. pancakes*

        I would also feel defensive if people were saying I was fixated on the baby in an effort to make me look bad for “driv[ing] a number of changes” at work. Especially if the number of them saying so was inflated from two to six. It is remarkable to me that you read this update and came away thinking there was indeed too much baby talk.

        1. Cocafonix*

          There probably was, even if the complaints about it had another motive. I’m just saying both can be true. We all talk about major life events along the way, and sometimes to excess or oblivious of others’ needs when they are upon us. With no shade to the OP, as a manager, I’ve fielded such complaints by an employee who recently had a miscarriage. Or complaints about wedding talk by an employee during a busy period who just got dumped. Or just complaints as in the OP’s case afraid of change, or yes, even spiteful. But I’d never have told the excessive baby talker the real reason, but would have asked them to dial it back. On this the OP’s manager appeared to have missed an opportunity to handle it better.

          1. pancakes*

            I don’t see anything in either of the letters to support that view. To the contrary, the inflation of the complaints from two to six people seems like a pretty strong indication that people were reacting to other things, not baby talk.

            You’re saying “no shade to the OP,” but “I just don’t buy that you weren’t being excessive with the baby talk” seems like shade to me.

      2. Critical Rolls*

        Amazing that people are still fixated on the idea that the OP is incapable of understanding how much she’s talking about a subject, especially after examining it closely, *especially* with the variety of factors that appear to have motivated the (2 not 6) complaints.


      3. Very Social*

        I’m not getting defensiveness from this update.

        It wouldn’t make any sense for her to own a fixation on the topic of her new baby when that wasn’t happening.

  6. Abogado Avocado*

    The local government I work approved paid parental leave for new parents, foster parents, and adoptive parents a bit over a year ago. And I’ve noticed that it’s created this attitude of encouragement in the office, as in, of course you’ll be taking parental leave and how can we help ensure your stuff gets done while you’re gone so we don’t have to bother you while you’re bonding with your new child? Which seems to be a lot different from past attitudes toward parental leave.

  7. Forkeater*

    I can’t believe someone had the nerve to say you were talking about your baby too much when you were only 15 weeks postpartum. That’s so inhuman.

    1. Cocafonix*

      Inhuman is a bit dramatic. Understandable irritation when others chatter on and on about a single topic. But regular people would be kind and understanding about it without resorting to complaining. It must have been a bit much for a couple of people or they were just unkind or triggered in some way.

    2. anonymous73*

      Inhuman is a bit much. I probably would have kept it to myself and not complained, but I can understand how some people could get tired of the baby talk (or any other personal subject) if it’s excessive. I was in a book club with friends a while back. One friend and I were single with no kids. The others were married and during the course of our meetings over the years, 3 of them had babies. One of them talked about NOTHING but her pregnancy and then her baby. Another one of the mom friends always tried to steer her in a new direction but she still came back to the subject of her pregnancy and kids. A quick update is nice. A 2 hour gathering talking about you and your kids, no thanks.

      1. AnonymousReader*

        I was about to point this out, too! It’s usually not *just* the baby talk that can get it old, but the pregnancy talk leading up to it as well. By the time the baby is born, we’re sick of hearing about baby! (Just like we would be sick of hearing about ANY topic for almost a year.).

  8. Bill and Heather's Excellent Adventure*

    I’m really glad it all worked out for you and hope that your little one is doing well, OP!

  9. Jonquil*

    I feel you on maternity leave, OP. I live in a country where a year’s leave is standard (although there is only about 16 weeks actually paid) and due to financial reasons I was only able to take 8 months off after my daughter was born, and that felt way too short. I can’t even imagine 8 weeks. I feel like I really only hit my stride back at work after a couple of years, and even then, it’s still really hard and from what I know of families with bigger kids, it will continue to be so up until they’re about 5/6.

  10. anonymous birth giver*

    i am 7 days postpartum and left my former job in the middle of the pregnancy. former job gave 4 months protected (unpaid) fmla with 6 wks paid leave. here i am taking 8 weeks unpaid, uncovered by fmla because i don’t qualify. idk how i’m going to return to work at 8 weeks but i can’t afford any more unpaid time off.

  11. AnonymousReader*

    A plausible explanation might be that the “talked too much about baby” incident/example the Complainers cited to OP’s Boss involved 6 people but only 2 actually complained. To be fair, just because 2 submitted formal complaints doesn’t mean the other 4 (for example) weren’t sitting there silently thinking “sheesh, the meeting started 20 minutes ago and she’s still talking about baby! When are we going to get to the items on the agenda?”

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