Tuesday, 17 August 2010

BOGGLED by phone.

Having her is a long lists of firsts. That's what makes it so endlessly interesting, but this one today was a really mind-boggling one for me: it was the first time I heard her voice on the phone.

My synapses sizzled, the electrons danced in both hemispheres. What amazing thing did she say to make me reel down the street like a drunkard at eight in the morning? "Yes, I'm ok, uh,huh, mmmm, bye." Mindblowing, huh? And then, there I was, with a big grin on my face, as if I'd got a call to say I'd won the lottery.

She's the first loved one ever that I've never heard on the phone. Imagine living with an adult for two and a half years and then suddenly hearing them on the phone. I've wished and wished I could talk to her a million times when I've been in meetings and worried how she was doing. I've fantasised about her being able to call me and tell me how she is. I've heard her talk to so many others on the blower, especially my mother, but never to me.

It had been a bit of an emotional morning. We'd had a fight about getting dressed in time to go to her D- her child carer. And then when we got there and I prepared to rush off
suddenly she sobbed great heaving, stomach wracking sobs. D wasn't impressed: " she's having you on, there's no tears. Stop it young lady , you're upsetting your mum." But I was upset myself about having shouted at her, I'd been horrible, had told her I'd leave her behind if she didn't hurry up! Doors had shut firmly. So we both had a little quiet moment on the sofa while D went off and did her hair. But it wasn't a quiet moment, the sobs didn't stop and finally D had to pull her off me.

Ten minutes later, nearing the tube, I got a text saying all was fine, but there was no way I was going to be fobbed off with that: I called. No crying, D as calm as ever - mind you that woman would be calm even if there were a hundred children living in her shoe. And then she passed the phone to X. I strained to listen, over the cars revving down the Liverpool Road, and then I heard her little, grown up voice. She sounded different: more precise, much older. It was if I was hooked into a weird time-travel call from her future and she was talking to me as a teenager.

Then "bye-eee," she said childishly, suddenly bored. And then I knew she really was ok and wasn't going to cry for me all day. Not that she was really crying for me, anyway; she was crying because life at D's isn't so much fun without her best mate E, who's off on her holidays to France. Maybe I should get D to hook them both up on Skype. That would put a just- won- the -lottery smile on her face, no doubt.


Adgirl said...

Hey Methusula Mum I'm so glad to have found a female senior creative who actually has a child!! I am planning to have kids when I'm older and have thought I'd have to give up my job. When I was in Ad college I asked my tutor Alice what women did when they had kids. Her answer was "you either leave, or you just don't have kids". Are your employers understanding? Or is it really tricky?

Methusula Mum said...

Hey, so glad you left a comment. And I just wish I had a more positive news to give you. the truth is that the reason why I ended up adopting was mainly too many years working that extra night and that extra weekend on that extra little brief that bounces back at the last moment ("just have fun with it!" The male creative director says, as leaving of a friday night). The honest truth is that, while it seems easier for account chaps and planners to have flexi time, it seems pretty hard for female creatives, Apart from anything there's the matter of having a creative partner to consider. My creative director said outright that he did not want me to have flexible working and there were to be no' special favours'. HR dithered around, pretending to be legal about it and while I was off on adoption leave my new CD hired someone else in a job that took over my role. Hey, I always knew it was like that - when I came into the business my best friend's husband, who was CD of one of the hottest hot shops around at that time said he liked my boo but didn't employ women as he ran his creative department like a football team.

My feelings now are that I wished I hadn't worried about keeping my career on track so much when I was younger as there's never an easy time to have a child. And creative people always do find a new creative way of making money in the end, even if it's a bit rocky for a while. And my career has nearly died and resurrected itself several times anyway.

I had a few creative women mentors when I was younger and a few had children but they tended to be the ones who were very, very efficient and clever and good with clients. Or they were happy to team up with a man who was good at the feminine side of the partnership. I was always too worried that my job was rocky to be easy with that.

I know a few younger creative women who are mums and one that even does flexi time (lucky cow!) but I don't see it getting much easier in general, if I'm honest. Sorry. I wish I could be more positive. Oh, well- I do think that maybe the digital age helps as there are some more low level jobs like content writing that don't need you to be in a team and high concepting the whole time. But, like everything, if you're not known for exactly that work then it's hard to shift position. The one thing that makes it easier to shift roles these days is networking. It's easier to reposition oneself and find opportunities on a laptop while breatfeeding. In my day the only way to network was to go to Grouchos of a night.

The best of luck- don't leave it too late- babies are much more fulfilling than ads and the more !!