Thursday, 20 March 2008

Have we met before?

I have an interesting evening coming up. I'm going to my ex-boss's leaving do at the company I used to work for. I'm planning on meeting up with someone I used to know quite well.

This woman doesn't have children. She loves her job. She dresses well, and her shoes are polished and never down at heel. She would never dream of meeting a friend for lunch wearing a scuffed pair of bowling shoes that haven't been cleaned in heaven knows how many months. She never turns up for work with snot on her shoulders or on her thigh at the level of Boy #2's nose.

She can stay in the office as long as she likes, with no fear of domestic crises ensuing as a result of that. She can travel at will, and frequently does.

She gets on with her office colleagues. They have a laugh. She can fit in with most people, normally using humour to win their trust and respect, but can be serious when called for. Work-wise, she knows what she's talking about and it shows.

She listens to the radio at her desk - not boring old Capital FM, but cutting edge indy stuff. She goes to gigs. She wears make-up, and gets her hair cut once every 5 weeks without fail. She even manages to fit in the odd manicure on one of her occasional Saturday shopping trips. She never falls asleep in meetings or in front of the 10 o'clock news. She can finish a conversation without being interrupted by someone falling over, dropping something, needing their bottom wiped, or their face freeing of bogeys.

She works with people with kids, and doesn't see what the big deal is. How hard can it be, right? She rolls her eyes (unseen, she thinks) when her child-encumbered colleagues have to leave dead-on 5.30pm every day. She covers for them with good grace when their children are sick and it's their turn to stay home with the high temperatures and the vomit. She watches interestedly as they become increasingly skittish when a meeting rolls on past it's allotted slot, and they sit there trying to work out how they are going to fit the rest of their days' work into an ever-decreasing number of hours.

She nods understandingly when they speak despairingly of ever reclaiming their pre-pregancy wardrobe, but secretly wonders why they are stuffing down a double sandwich from Pret followed by a chocolate brownie if they are really that bothered. She watches the post-natal women at the gym struggling with their sit-ups as she pounds along on the running machine and vows never to let it get that far.

You guessed it, of course. That used to be me. And you know what? I really don't think I was that much of a bitch - just a normal, career-focused, childless woman. 15 years post-uni of having responsibility only for yourself (excepting of course marital, family and friendship obligations) will do that to a person.

But obviously, I've changed. Or rather, my priorities have. So it's going to be interesting this evening when I go to this party, to see how my ex-colleagues react to that. Or, in fact, if they even notice any difference...

Back in my reality, brushing the Boys' teeth, this morning...

Me: I must get you a new toothbrush, Boy #2...

Boy #1: Why?

Me: Because Boy #2 chews his toothbrush so this one is looking a bit sorry for itself.

Boy #1: Can I see? (Pause, whilst he studies the evidence & considers his verdict...) Oh, yeeeessss. It looks like a sad little mouse lying dead in the road after being squashed by a car.



  1. And isn't life so much better now? I bet you wouldn't switch places with that woman if someone paid you a million dollars.

    But then again - as a good mom - you should know you don't use dead animals to brush anyone's teeth with.....

  2. A mouse? I'd have thought a squished hedgehog would be more like it. Float it by Boy #1 and see what he thinks.

    I hadn't guessed that that woman was you (I'm a bit slow this morning). She sounds nice, but I think I'd like you better. More sense of humour, more fun, more rounded personality, more snot on clothes...

  3. Hi Aims - well, I wouldn't mind her figure... (but then I'm not so enamoured I'm prepared for the exercise and diet that would require). And the dead animal thing - what, are you saying you don't use them in Canada?

    Iota, no actually he's spot on. Once he made the comparison I could see what he meant. Or at least, I would if I thought he had ever seen a sad little mouse lying squashed on the road. And do you really think she sounded nice? Frankly, looking back, I think she was probably a bit of a pain in the butt...

  4. Yes, a lot of my uni and work friends think it's hilarious that I have ended up with three kids. What's that all about?
    Love the mouse comment - I just rinsed out the toothbrush mug this morning and something like a dead mouse went down the plughole.

  5. EPM, you made me laugh out loud in a crackly Steptoe styley (I have a bit of cough). And of course I am now off the bathroom to check we don't have anything similar in our toothbrush mug...

  6. the things that come out of kid's mouths are hilarious! Oh man!

    As for you meeting up with "that other lady" tell us how it goes. Sounds like it should be a real trip and a bit education for "both of you."

  7. Oh I can't wait to hear how it goes! Good luck.

  8. I was discussing this very topic with a brand new mom. And she said, I didn't get it until I had my baby. And people without children don't.

    But boy do we love those kiddos when we get them.

    Better a dead mouse than a dead skunk. That is our main road kill. Yikes!

  9. Wow, you've just described my life and after 15 years of liberated fun, martini's and financial flexibility I find myself 23 months pregnant, wondering how much my world will change. No matter how many mommy blogs I read, I cannot fathom how significant this change will be but you certainly make it sound worth it.

  10. this is one true post. it's like crossing an ocean in a rowing boat. and then what's the reward for this? a dead mouse. i don't know why i love them.

  11. I meant weeks pregnant - brain really on the fritz lately.

  12. Brilliant, really, really good, but you know the no-snot-look is just so last season!

  13. Hi J's Mommy, it was - but not as much as I had expected. Still, if I can make an entertaining post out of it you will be the first to know!

    Thanks Rosie!

    Hi Ped, sounds lovely. The thing that confused me though is that we live in the middle of London, and whilst we do have mice, rats, foxes, that sort of thing, there is very little road kill. So where on earth did that comment come from?

    SB - I hope I haven't put you off. It is worth it - but VERY different...

    Grit - because we're hard-wired to. That's why. And let's be honest - they can be quite cute (when they want something, usually...)

    Frog - I live in hope!

  14. Followed the link from your July post about reading on the radio. A beautifully written piece - hope the public performance went well!

  15. Thankyou Dot! All positive feedback much appreciated!


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