Today, one of the two paralegals who works for me returned from maternity leave. I'm thrilled that she's back; she's my right hand. She's an extremely smart and efficient worker, and getting along without her really has been rough. She's also a lovely person and I hope she's happy about her new baby (although when I asked her how the baby was, her first reaction was, no joke, an eyeroll. I'm guessing she's a bit fatigued.)
But then of course, she had to bust out the pictures. I realize this is standard, and she's probably going to be doing it all day long, but the truth is, I don't care what her kid looks like. Does that make me an ogre of a boss? I hope not. I just have very little interest in children to begin with, and hers is no exception. But of course I had to stand there and ooh and ahh out of politeness, because I really do like her and to decline seeing the photos would have been rude indeed.
Pictures of her baby, pictures of her three-year-old, pictures of them together... what am I supposed to say? "Oh, she's sooo cute!" got a little tired after about the seventh one. So I resorted to other polite platitudes while she beamed. "She looks just like you," I said. (This was actually true. The baby does look like her mom. But so what? Not exactly a miracle.)
As a childfree person, I have come to realize that I am going to be doing this for a long time: politely exclaiming over the new baby, remarking on how cute it is or how much it resembles its parents, et cetera.
But I really doubt I'm ever going to enjoy it any more than I do now, or feel any less awkward doing it.