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I’m the new girl at work. Everyone else has been there for several years. I’m not sure if they’re really trying to leave me out or if they’re too busy laughing at their inside jokes to realize that I’m not in on the fun. Should I tell them I feel left out or just do my best to be a part of the group?
Alone at the Water Cooler
Dear Lonely Friend,
It sounds about like being the last person into a slightly crowded elevator. It’s not that there isn’t room enough for you, everyone still has more than enough space, but you’d swear the women in the back are giving you the stink eye anyway.
Sometimes you have those women at the back. You’ve done nothing to truly inconvenience them, but they’re going to be upset with you simply because they had already made assumptions about the trip. My niece calls those women “mean girls”.
Other times, you have a group of people who are guarded with their friendships. Your coworkers have been together for an extended time… have they seen others come and go and don’t trust you’ll stay? Are you in the place of someone they were very hurt to see leave, or maybe in the place of the bad apple?
There are a hundred variables that go into workplace relationships. Try your best to be a part of things, and if you keep feeling left out, what could it hurt to bring up those feelings? Do so politely, without accusations, and see where it takes you.
Am I a terrible person for buying earplugs to muffle the noise of my own kids? I love my children, but there’s three of them and they’re young and easily excitable, and I just need them to be not so loud. I still hear them, just… less painfully. I don’t get as frustrated with them now that their screams aren’t totally piercing, but I also feel guilty. Have I crossed the line? Am I a bad mom?
My dear girl, it takes much more than a bit of noise reduction to make you a bad mother. There are some ways to cut down on noise that would inspire me to make phone calls to law enforcement, but earplugs are hardly such an action.
I’m in the camp that believes if there is a tool to make mothering easier, or even less stressful, you all should jump at the chance. When I had small children, we didn’t have near the number of gadgets and handy extras, but we also didn’t have to worry about what the input of the internet was.
The important things are meeting the needs of and loving those children. And if someone tries to tell you that some earplugs are what make you a bad mother, you turn them around and march them right out the door. You don’t need them.