The Pretenders

Holding Hands Adrian Yee

Being a working mom has advantages and disadvantages. A big advantage is that you always have a good excuse to leave work earlier. A disadvantage is that you often have to leave your work earlier.

Another advantage is that when you’re not at work, you seldom have time to stress about or think about work. Being a mother means practicing the 'Power of Now' without having to read the books or participate in a course. A disadvantage is that you – if you want to keep your job, that is - have to actually work hard during office hours. No time to slack, check the latest fashion news on the Internet, gossip with colleagues, or just sit and look out the window.

Being a working mom lets you experience what the other half of the working force looks like. The half that always works hard and isn’t able to finish the job in normal hours.

Before I became a mother, I always pretended to be a part of the hardworking half of the work force. I wailed, moaned and sobbed about being way too busy, while checking out the latest news on PerezHilton.com and InStyle.com. Looking busy was a way of life. I had numerous strategies on how to look busy, because looking busy meant having time to do my Internet shopping during office hours, without missing out on the promotion.

I developed a radar for other people like me, The Pretenders.

My colleague S., for example, was without a doubt a Pretender. A very bad one in my opinion. And my colleague V. used to be a hard worker but slowly transformed into a Pretender.

Being a working mom means you don’t have time to complain, you don’t have time to sob. It’s all a waste of energy. Energy you need to get your job done.

So you work. That’s what you do during office hours. You actually work. And I can tell you, it kind of feels good. OK, so I don’t have the latest updates on Lindsay Lohen’s whereabouts or on who is dating George, but I don’t have to pretend anymore.

When I leave the office early to pick up my baby from daycare, my job is done, and I leave the Pretenders behind me. Let’s hope that counts for something. My job appraisal is coming next week. Let’s see if pretending is a necessary part of office life.