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.
• 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…