I once participated in a perception exercise with 19 coworkers as part of a team-building program. We were each given 19 small pieces of paper and asked to anonymously describe each fellow employee with a single adjective. The tiny papers were then collected and distributed face down to their rightful new owners.
Carefully situating each 3×3 paper into a perfect pile, I wondered what these folks — the people I saw more than my own friends — thought of me.
I anxiously flipped over the first perception: “Nice.”
Nice. I could live with nice. I was nice. I flipped over the second perception: Nice. The third: Nice. And the “nice” continued 13 more times, followed by one “sweet,” one “helpful,” and one “always friendly.”
I’ll admit I was proud of myself. I’d somehow managed to stay nice in a professional environment that was anything but. And I suppose if I had to describe myself in one word, I’d use the same. I may not have been the smartest or the boldest, the prettiest or the cleverest, but I was always, always nice.
That was, until I became a mom.
With a baby on my hip I wasn’t as nice as I used to be. I found myself easily irritated, resentful, selfish with my time, and if I’m being completely honest, maybe even a little bitter. Me, bitter. [read more…]