The Downside to Having Photos of Your Kids at Work

justin desk

At present, out of the corner of my left eye, I am watching my two children. No, it’s not Bring Your Child to Work Day, but for the first time, in any office I’ve ever worked in, I decided to bring in framed photos of my offspring to put on my desk.

It not only seemed entirely appropriate, since this is an office dedicated to parenting websites, including,,, and, and why WOULDN’T I want to glance at their gorgeous faces all day long?

And, yet, I don’t think it’s working out so well, because I don’t want to stare at their faces all day long, nor do I want them staring at me. I’m no longer sure how appropriate it is to place photos of your children on your desk, because of all the emotions I never expected to feel by doing so.

The photos are a little disconcerting.

As mentioned previously, not all my colleagues are mothers, and it didn’t even really occur to me to bring in photos, until I noticed the two other mommies in the office at Savvy both proudly have photographs of their own children on their desks.

Natalie Locke Milne, the Editor-in-Chief and General Manager of Savvy, has a simple yet prominent photo of her two children and her husband. Leslie McCormick, Campaign Manager, also has a beautiful photo on her desk of her twin daughters. (Even the PM, see the image above, has personal photos on his desk.)

Yet—my children staring at me, while I’m trying to write is a little—okay, a LOT—distracting. Screw how cute they are! I thought maybe they’d be inspirational. Nope!

I think what I’m feeling every time I look at their smiling faces is guilt…even though I know they are both safe and happy while Mama works. Before I placed the photos of my kids on my desk, I honestly didn’t feel any guilt at all about working. I didn’t even miss my children while at work. Now all I keep thinking is, ‘I wonder what they’re doing now?’ And, ‘My goodness. I make good babies.’ And, ‘I miss my babies!’

And, of course, once you see a photo of someone’s kids or family on their desk, you are (I’m sorry) kind of required to say something complimentary. How could you not? I noticed that the colleagues who have walked by, even if they’re not parents, at least shelled out a, ‘Cute!’ and a, ‘Your daughter looks so much like you!’ (The non-mothers in my office all have things like plants or boxes of tissue on their desks.)

It’s sort of a win/lose situation when that happens, because, as a proud mother, you want the compliments, but at the same time, hearing someone say something kind about your children is another reminder the photo is there and then you start THINKING about your children—going back to that happy moment when the photo was taken—when, really, I should be concentrating on, you know, work. (I’m quite sure I’m not being paid to stare googly-eyed at my children, although that would be a pretty good gig.)

Plus, I’ve got to admit, ever since I put the photos on my desk, not only can I not stop looking at them, I kind of (really) miss them. I get up to go to the washroom and come back…and there they are! I go out to grab a coffee and come back…and there they are! There they are…all day long!

Although it is only ‘Day One of Bring-My-Children-to-Work-Via-Framed-Photograph, it just makes me miss them. But I’d feel horribly guilty turning their faces around to face the wall now. (That just seems so very wrong.) It also feels wrong to remove them. So they’ll stay.  I’m going to think of these photos on my desk like breaking in a new pair of shoes. Give it a few weeks, and I’ll probably forget the photos are even there.

Do you have photos of your children at work? If so, do you find it inspirational…or distracting? Can a non-mother here pass me a tissue off their desk please?


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