Candy Land: Best Birth Control Ever

I was at the doctor’s office filling out a medical questionnaire when I arrived at the question: Form of birth control? I was sorely tempted to list Candy Land. I have played 4,578,903 times and vowed never to have children after the first game. It is mind numbingly boring, goes on FOREVER, and there is really no way to cheat to bring about an early end. You get stuck in the Molasses Swamp, and you are done for. You can’t even lie and plead color blindness. Little kids will find you out.

Yes, I got roped into all those games by begging kids and desperate parents who have played even more games than I have. Stipulating that you will only babysit if the parents hide Candy Land is no guarantee either. I’ve had parents leave the game in a prominent place instead in hopes that their little darlings will be all Candy Landed out by the time the parents return. (Ha, it backfired. Two gazillion more rounds of Candy Land for the parents.) And all that torture came about because I was trying to be unfailingly nice.

Repeat After Me: I Am Not The Village Idiot

Yes, Hilary, it probably does take a village to raise a child, but women without children are not the village idiots. Many parents assume that if you do not have kids, you feel left out and are dying to babysit theirs. Or even worse, many parents assume that the people without kids will pick up the slack at work and cover for them when their kids have an “all day doctor’s appointment.” Sorry, but unless your child is critically ill or just got whacked in the mouth with a field hockey stick, there is no such thing as an “all day doctor’s appointment.” You are taking advantage of your co-worker’s niceness and desire to be a team player. If you work with people like this who regularly try to take advantage, or you work from home where neighbors think it is perfectly ok to call you to pick up their kids, you need to set some ground rules, even if you do not mind doing it. There are situations in which the offending co-workers usually do not reciprocate by providing help when you need it, and you lose out.

When Niceness Hurts

Being nice and always being the team player can hurt your career. How? Add up all those hours taken away from your own at-home or office assignments to cover someone else’s work or parenting duties. It translates into a loss of production and accomplishments which can lose you better assignments and jobs. Having a female boss does not necessarily help, either. They remember the days of climbing the job ladder while raising kids and may want to ease the way for their employees in the same situation. Decide whether you are willing to help and how you will do it so that your chances of being promoted aren’t hurt. Would you rather see the person for whom you are covering promoted while you are left behind? It does happen. Learn to say “No” — I know, it’s hard — when you need to. Set limits and be proactive. Tell the working parent if you want to help that you will; however, you can only pick up Susie and Jim from afterschool on Tuesday this week.  And no, you will not be playing 100 games of Candy Land with them…

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