The dos and don'ts of dealing with the real world

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You might be returning to the world of work for the first time in a few months, or even just venturing out without your miniature ball and chain. Either way, there is a certain etiquette to the “real” world that you might have forgotten. Cat Neilan reminds us all how to behave…

DON'T: MAKE EYE CONTACT

Eye contact is strictly forbidden in the real world, particularly when commuting. Without a baby to gaze at you may find your eyes wandering, but it is important to restrict your glance to either floor or ceiling. If eye contact is inevitable, smiling is to be avoided at all costs. A brief grimace is acceptable.

DON'T: ENGAGE IN POO BANTS

When colleagues ask how your baby is, avoid mentioning poo. Talk of bodily fluids is surprisingly regarded as a no-no in the real world. Simply nod and murmur something about how well he is sleeping, even if this is not true.

DO: LIE ABOUT WELL-BEING

Similarly, if they ask how you are, offer a brief lie - you’re sleeping well, you’re happy to be back at work and/or you’ve never felt better - before returning the discussion to the latest series of Broadchurch and whether David Tennant and Olivia Colman are going to get it on. No one really needs to know that you’ve had two hours’ sleep in the last three days, that you cry every day on your way into work and you feel like a shell of your former self.

DO: WIPE OFF SHOULDER VOM

Ensure you have given yourself a thorough once-over before leaving the house. Vomit on your shoulder and poo in your hair may be acceptable among your mum mates, but is generally frowned upon in the real world.

DO: WEAR IMAGINARY HEADSET

Do you find yourself talking to your baby at all times, even when he or she isn’t actually with you? Style it out by pretending to be speaking to someone on a headset so small that it cannot be seen by the naked eye. Note: Remember, this doesn’t work when on the tube.

DO: DEPLOY THE BOOB

If your baby attends a back to work meeting with colleagues, try to avoid interrupting the conversation with questions about his bowel movements. However, if negotiations are getting tough, a strategic feed (and deployment of boob) can work wonders, especially if you have male colleagues. Maintain eye contact throughout.

@CatNeilan @mushmums