How to NOT Be the Office Mom Anymore

How to NOT Be the Office Mom Anymore

office getty

Are you that go-to person in your office who everyone turns to when administrative tasks not on anyone’s job descriptions needs to get done. You know, organizing the office picnic, picking up a cake for a colleagues birthday, watering the plants, filling the ice trays, keeping track of the coffee? You may be the Office Mom. This person is usually a woman, and most office a real mom and she is used to cleaning up and picking up after her own real life kids (and husband in some cases) so she just assumes that role at work.

It is not fair because the Office Mom is not getting paid any extra money to fulfill these duties and she may not actually like it. If you’re that Office Mom, Lifehacker has excellent tips for helping you reclaim your life and shedding that role:

  • Say No: If you’re asked to take on an extra task like arranging a meeting or picking up a birthday cake, politely decline. You don’t want to burn any bridges here—as today’s Smarter Living newsletter from The New York Times notes, you want to remember, you are saying no to the request, not to the person making it—so say it nicely, but firmly. Say, “No, I don’t have time for that today.” Practice it at home if you’re nervous.
  • Set Up a Schedule: For a repetitive task, like taking notes in the weekly meeting, set up a rotating schedule with other colleagues and email it to everyone. Hopefully, your coworkers will get the hint.
  • Tell Your Boss: Arrange a meeting with your boss and “come prepared with specific examples of how your job is being impacted.” Offer up suggestions of how to make it more equitable, like the schedule.
  • Provide an Alternative: “When women are asked to do work that’s undervalued, they should try something like this: ‘I’d love to serve on the paperclips committee. But that’s the perfect stretch assignment for David, our new junior hire, down the hall,’” writes Joan C. Williams, author What Works for Women at Work, in The Washington Post. This works because you’re politely saying no while solving your manager’s problem.

Good luck!

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Jay Jay Ghatt is also editor at, founder of the and where she teaches online creators how to navigate digital entrepreneurship and offers Do-It-For-You Blogging Service. She manages her lifestyle sites BellyitchBlog, Jenebaspeaks and and is the founder of 200 Black Women in Tech On Twitter. Her biz podcast 10 Minute Podcast is available on iTunes and Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks. Buy her templates over at her legal and business templates on Etsy shop!