Office life versus mummydom

These past few weeks I’ve been working on a magazine down in Media City – some 10 years too late.

Publishing offices here are full of skinny media types, with trendy clothes, silky hair, and because it’s Dubai, a sun tan, exotic accent and just the right amount of bling.

They’re all so young, I sometimes feel like telling them, “You know, there was a time, not all that long ago, when people didn’t have the Internet at their fingertips.”

“And when we did start getting connected at home, it was dial-up. Imagine that. Bet you can’t, can you?”

“You were alive then?” I imagine the young whippersnappers responding, wide-eyed as it dawns on them I’m from a generation that remembers cassette tapes, Commodore 64 computers and mobile phones the size of a brick.

I cover at this particular magazine during busy periods and I said yes to the work because I know I enjoy it when I’m there and they actually pay.

So I’m reminded again what it’s like to be a proper working Mum – commuting for an hour-and-15 a day in rush-hour, doing the grocery shop with the rest of the world on Saturday, and only seeing the kids at bedtime, when they’re behaving monstrously.

It’s always a nice change. Here are some of the things I enjoy:

• Lipstick and heels (with toe cleavage) rather than jeans and flip flops

• Going to the toilet in peace

• Office gossip – generally, though not always, more salacious

• Still micro-managing the boys’ social lives and well-being, but being able to do it remotely, at my desk eating salt-and-vinegar crisps that don’t get nicked

• Not being interrupted every two seconds and when someone does need something, the request not starting with, “Mumm-eeeee, I waaaa-nt…’ Even the office twit seems mild-mannered and quiet to me.

• Incentives like a slap-up meal for the team with the tidiest desks (we didn’t win)

• Colleagues who don’t hit or bite each other

• Lunch out and even eating a sarnie at my desk that doesn’t come with a plastic toy

• Eyeing up a gorgeous dress and thinking “I could buy it! I’ve earnt the money myself!” then being overcome with absent mummy guilt and settling on something for the kids instead

• Not feeling bad about achieving nothing on my mile-long ‘things-to-do-around-the-house list’ – and instead writing on post-it notes that are dealt with by the end of the day

• Making a cup of tea while chatting to adults at eye-level rather than waist-level and who don’t shout at me, tantrum or cling to my leg

• Sneaking back to the mall later to get the dress

I could go on…. it’s one helluva lot easier than refereeing small boys, but there’s a big problem: I miss them and hardly see them! Talk about the grass always being greener on the other side…

6 thoughts on “Office life versus mummydom

    • I do love working for 2-3 weeks at a time – but also love coming to the end of the stint too! it seems I need one to enjoy the other – ie, work means I enjoy the kids more, and the kids mean I really enjoy work!

  1. I’ve done it both ways – worked full-time until Son#2 was a bit past 3 – and neither is easy. The beauty of the workplace is that you have tangible signs of your accomplishments. I used to tell my husband that the difference between our jobs was that the things he did *stayed done*: the things I did every day had to keep being done over and over…

    • I agree Ms Caroline! The thing I find about full-time work is I disappear into this black-hole of work which is actually really enjoyable, but then everything else slides and I’m even more behind at home!

  2. Ah yes the joy of working and having a full time job back at home too!! 😉
    Sometimes work is easier but those darned kids get under your skin and make you feel guilty.
    As for the young skinny media types. You’ve got WAY more to offer than they have. You can’t learn life experience and smarts on t’internet. You have to have lived a little!!
    Keep up the good work.

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