In this world resonating with the mantra of women supporting women, why is there such a negative connotation associated with the Office Mom? In just about every office across the country, there's an office mom, so why is the label so damning? Why do people question the worth of this supportive woman in the workplace, or worse yet, ridicule or devalue her? It seems to me that she should be revered and viewed as the positive badass female that she most often is.
I suppose part of it is due to the false assumption that the office mom is merely relegated to making coffee, scheduling meetings, circulating birthday cards, and coordinating office parties when in reality an office mom is much more than that if that at all.
It's shortsighted to label every working woman who is tasked to perform what some call "office housework" as the office mom. In fact, some of those tasks may be part of the job for an admin, assistant, intern, or office manager. And, in instances where it is not, women need to talk to the boss about degrading tasks and being singled out to perform them. But, the point is, that person is not necessarily the office mom.
Even before I founded Your Office Mom, I was an office mom in the workplace. I was a cool, trendy, older female with adult children who was helpful, knowledgeable, and full of advice. I was aware of office politics, had strong work relationships, and wasn't afraid to stand up for what was right. As a result, people came to me for advice, insight, and sometimes money.
As an office mom, I never bought or circulated a single birthday card. I never picked up a birthday cake, but some mornings I stopped for donuts just because it was a nice thing to do. And, when I made coffee in the breakroom, it was alongside others (both male and female) who stepped up when the pot was empty. In other words, I didn't do housework, but I know others do. And, many find joy in celebrations, taking care of things, and making people feel special.
Far from the stereotype of overly involved parents, the office mom helps young people (and anyone else for that matter) navigate challenging situations on the job. She listens to problems, offers advice, and shares feedback. She may be a coach or mentor, but always a confidante. She cuts through the red tape, clarifies the rules, and calls out bad behavior. Chances are if you have a crisis, want to know what the hell is going on, or you need help with anything, she's your go-to person. You could go to a co-worker, your boss, or HR, but instead, you seek the help of your office mom. She spends her days helping others with the professional and personal aspects of their lives, all the while doing her own job. Literally, she is the mom.
An office mom's power is founded on her relationships and willingness to help others. Guess who's invited to lunch or out for drinks after a particularly stressful day at work? Who gets a little something special for her desk? Who knows who is dating whom, and the relationship status of others? It isn't the HR manager or the boss. No, it's the office mom, and besides all that, she knows what happened in Vegas. So, for all of you people out there trying to belittle and shame the office mom shame on you because you don't recognize just how important and powerful she really is.
So, look around. Who is your office mom? You need to know because you might need her one of these days, or right now. And, if you don't have one, I will gladly be Your Office Mom.