So Mary, I bumped into your granddaughter Emma in Wimbledon the other day. She looked well, her little boy is a bonny lad, sitting up in his pram and chucking toys at me. What a darling!
Oh he is quite adorable isn’t he? Looks just like his father don’t you think? Shame about the hairline of course – he’ll be bald by 20, but c’est la vie! Yes lovely young Emma has caused quite a stir with the in-laws as she’s is thinking about going back to work. Did you know?
No, dear, she didn’t mention it. But little Hubert is only six months old. Does she want to go back so soon?
I think it’s more a matter of needs must, Agatha. But she did used to enjoy her job so I think a part of her is looking forward to working again, and no doubt regaining some of her identity.
Of course in our day, Mary, we had maids and nannies to look after the wee ones when we needed. And do you remember that fabulous job I had when my offspring were little?
Wasn’t it stuffing teddy bears for the WI, dear?
I only did that once as you well know Mary, don’t you remember that dreadful reaction to the stuffing that I had? Every time I see calamine lotion I shudder! No, no, if you recall I was Head of Jam. It was a much tougher job than one would imagine and of course it was terribly important – I was in charge of ensuring quality, consistency of colour and texture and making sure no one had bought it in Marks and Spencer and switched the labels. Of course, there was a great deal of tasting involved and one had to be incredibly diplomatic of course.
Yes, I do remember the time when you got into a heated discussion with Mrs Porpington-Smythe about boiling temperatures. It was wooden spoons at dawn, wasn’t it?
Ooh you do make it sound quite dramatic Mary dear! But getting back to Emma and her job, how did she decide it was the right time to go back?
Well, she and her husband Jasper had long discussions, dear. But I think it was her decision, when she felt “ready” as they say nowadays. And I have been telling her that she will be absolutely fabulous back in her job and not to worry that she has forgotten anything.
Oh I do remember that “nappy brain” feeling, when you can’t seem to string a sentence together, let alone type a coherent proposal.
Well, Agatha, in your case I think that lack of facility was more to do with too much brandy, after all it seemed to carry on until your children left home!
Oh Mary dear how you do like to exaggerate, it was just a little pick me up as you well know. Unlike you, I can’t eat too much cake or chocolate because of my thighs!
Point taken Agatha! But Emma has become so terrifically organised since little Hubert came along – it will help her when she goes back to work. After all, most new mums find they achieve spectacular things they never thought possible when baby comes along.
Like waking regularly in the night and making a bottle, or changing a nappy, without screaming you mean?
Oh absolutely dear; just like juggling when to wash your hair, or go to the toilet. Sometimes I managed that more than once a week – it was all quite thrilling!
But Mary dear, in our day we didn’t have any rights so we just had to get on with things, but what about nowadays? What happens if Emma needs to work, what is it called, flexible hours?
Well Agatha, she found this amazing spiders web link thing which gave her lots of good information.
Mary, dear, I think it’s called the Interweb, not Spiders Web – but never mind. This all looks perfectly splendid to me.
Oh Agatha yes it is, and there are some lovely people out there ready to help you if you need some advice on all sorts of things to do with going back to work after having a baby.
Women Like Us are a good place to start: http://www.womenlikeus.org.uk/
In our day, of course, you just listened to your husband and did what you were told.
Quite, Mary, except you never listened to the Count, did you?
Never understood a word he said, dear. Always spoke Italian and I never could get the hang of it. Still, that’s probably the secret of our successful marriage! Another slice of jammy sponge?
Oh please, and this must be your own jam recipe no doubt! I must say as one gets older one does rely more on the support of one’s underwear to cope with the fact that everything is either spreading or heading south.
Speak for yourself dear, the Count commented how ‘fit’ I think the term is, I was looking the only the other day.
Well dear, I find that hard to imagine.
Yes, come to think of it he was talking about that night the four of us invented a new dance. I’m convinced the lovely Michael Jackson took inspiration from us for his Thriller song.
But you know what Agatha dear – I think these young women today are absolutely marvellous. Not only do they embrace motherhood and all the picalilly nappies that go with it, but they somehow manage to go to work on minimal sleep, juggle babies, husbands and running the home. And look at the rise of the mummy blogger, how wonderful they are. But we know that the old idea of “having it all” is not possible. Women don’t need to be juggling a high powered city career with six kids to feel successful. Just getting through the day and giving your children a cuddle and story at bedtime is a real achievement.
Oh Mary dear how right you are! We don’t need Super Mums to make us feel like we are constantly failing. And sometimes success comes from doing what you love. Just look at that Nadiya from The Great British Bake Off, she’s just getting on with motherhood and doing all the stuff that holds a family together as well as fitting in time to bake a cake for the Queen and write a cookery book.
I quite agree dear. I feel we should raise a glass to our fellow mothers, working or at home, who are holding everything together and still finding the energy and commitment to make their lives, and those of their families, better.
Oh admirable Mary dear, I’ll ring for Snetter. A bottle of the Bolly ’48 would be perfect with your cake.