And it's probably A.O.K. with your boss, that you have children.
But even if it is not ok with the boss or your colleagues, what is the cost of bending yourself into a pretzel to edit what you share about your kids, your spouse and your life outside the office?
Clearly, they know you have a family.
There's that picture on your desk of a chocolate covered 6-year old girl with a grin that accentuates the fact that she has been keeping the tooth fairy mighty busy lately. But maybe she's your niece?
And of course, you were pregnant approximately 6 years ago. Some of your colleagues still remember you working in heels until the day before you gave birth.
They secretly marveled that you were a kind of super woman; charging into the office with the stamina of a thoroughbred fueled by a commitment to work, lots of donuts (ah cravings) and an underlying fear that if you slowed down at all -- you would become irrelevant and replaceable.
Then came the baby -- and like the champion you are, you bounced right back. Got the body in shape and were able to squeeze into those pre-baby clothes within three months or so. Yes there were a few new bulges, but you were set on getting back into those &%#% slacks -- and so you did.
From that point on you have been careful not to call attention to the fact that you have a rock star kid or that at times, she will need you between 9 and 5. Do you remember getting the call from school that they had found lice in her hair? You drove across town to get her and bring her back to the office just in time for that all important meeting in the office conference room.
And as you strolled back into the office wishing you could tuck her adorableness into your giant briefcase, you wondered what people might think. If the boss walked by to see her sitting at your desk and doodling, would he question your loyalty and dedication?
Maybe so -- but maybe not. And how much stress and energy is it worth to be concerned?
No one wants a parent regaling them with each and every moment of a child's life, but how about sharing some key moments here and there that show you are a woman with a job, spouse, extended family, mortgage and yes, a child? What if you could be fully you, integrated you, work and home you, in the office?
It's true that some colleagues may not like it and might even accuse you of giving less than 100 percent to your work. But those colleagues are having those conversations already. And it says more about them, than about you.
Coach Me Quick Tips for a more Integrated You:
1. When you are asked what you did over the weekend, tell the truth. You attended six back to back soccer games in 110 degree heat -- and you loved every minute of it.
2. If your phone starts buzzing because the school is calling, tell the truth. Be authentic. In the long run, people who matter will appreciate and value you.
3. If you have to stay home because your child is sick, tell the truth. Your colleagues will be amazed by what you can achieve in between taking her temperature and changing her sheets.
4. If you feel that colleagues are judging you, realize that the more you are able to be comfortable with your situation, the more their judgement will fall away because it has no basis in reality.
5. Focus on all the energy you will gain by embracing and sharing you, more fully. Being professional doesn't mean leaving half of yourself at home.
In fact, when you share yourself in a more integrated way, you may find that you have more room for creative ideas and professional momentum. Promotion anyone?