Moata's Blog Idle
Since returning to full-time employment after having a child I've faced a number of obstacles. Most of them are The Master's toys which are strewn from one end of the house to the other. But certainly the removal of daytime naps from my life has been a sad loss. And then there were the feelings of sadness that I'd be spending less time with the little guy.
There have been teething issues, of course. Some of them were caused by actual teething, some by The Master's haphazard approach to daytime naps at his nanas' but on the whole we've been managing the transition pretty well. Apart from the first day, I haven't been that upset about leaving him to go to work.
However, I've noticed something since I've started work that's beginning to really bug me. Every time I've met a new person (or more likely have been re-introduced to a former colleague since I'm back at a previous workplace), I've been asked about my childcare arrangements. In the last few weeks, I would reckon that upwards of 20 people have inquired about where my son is and who's taking care of him.
I mean, what is that about?
I don't think the individual people asking necessarily mean anything by it. I'm fairly sure they're just making conversation, but the sheer volume of these inquiries in a short space of time has had the effect of making me a tad paranoid. Where IS my toddler? He's probably being dandled upon a loving nana's knee ... but what if he's actually been kidnapped by Colombian drug-running ne'er do wells? What then?
It's Mother's Day on Sunday.
You probably already know this due to the plethora of mailers and store displays encouraging you to show your mother how much you love her by shelling out some money and buying her a gift or two.
This is will be my second Mother's Day since having a baby. I feel like I should be able to remember the first one but that whole first six months of parenthood is something of blur of vomit, tears, and self doubt that not even the best greeting card in the world could've cut through. I'm sure the Silver Fox got me a lovely card and a thoughtful gift but I honestly have no idea.
I recently sat down with a pile of these mailers in the hopes of narrowing down the options for the SF, maybe circling a couple of things that I considered appropriate gifts.
Boy, was that a waste of time.
SAD BRIDES AND GYPSOPHILA
As an engaged person, I am technically in an "in between" state, maritally speaking.
I often have to remind myself that being engaged sort of entails an intent to marry, which means ... a wedding. I think I'm supposed to be in wedding-planning mode but every time I think about doing something even vaguely wedding-related I feel tired. It's not that I don't want to get married. I just don't want to have to do anything to make it happen.
Given the number of drawings of wedding gowns I did as a 14 year old (bows EVERYWHERE), I'm as surprised as anyone about this lack of bridal enthusiasm. I guess when you've already got a mortgage and a toddler there's not a lot of urgency in setting a date. A lot of people feel like they have to get married before they have kids. We're more in "we have to get married before we die" territory.
But a recent discovery while perusing my buddy Consuela's reading material may just be the "gateway drug" to bridal excitement that I haven't been looking for.
It's a long time ago now, but I once worked in hospitality.
It's an unusual industry. Ostensibly you're there to serve food and drinks but a large part of your job is keeping the general atmosphere enjoyable and, for lack of a better word, "jolly". You try to make sure no-one's waiting too long, and if they are waiting they're more or less relaxed enough about it that it's not a problem. Working in a pub, as I did, you were expected to "socialise" with the punters to a degree. To keep them happy. To be friendly and accommodating.
I quite enjoyed this part of the job and I'm sure it helped me a lot in my confidence in interacting with people. Working behind a bar sometimes felt like being on stage in that there's a certain performative aspect to it. At the end of a busy shift you'd feel drained from being "on" the whole time. All the smiling, and the "alright, mate? Another pint?" and pretending to give a crap about the football was tiring. I loved it, but you felt like you earned your money most days.
And then there were the customers. Many of whom were lovely. But every now and then you'd get someone who overstepped boundaries. There's something about the task of serving people food and beverages that somehow invites a certain kind of person to think very little of you. I'm not sure why. I guess because it's low paying and doesn't require much training. Being a barmaid doesn't command the kind of respect that being a neurosurgeon does, for obvious reasons. But there's a world of difference between showing someone less respect than you would a highly trained medical professional ... and showing them none at all.
For my own part, I think I got off lightly. Apart from innumerable unsolicited, often leery comments about my boobs, an occasional misplaced "your eyes remind me of the deserts in my country"*, or the time that guy out of nowhere asked me if I was pregnant, I didn't suffer too badly. But I saw some decidedly uncool behaviour, often from besuited men definitely old enough to know better.
This week I got a flu jab.
I haven't always taken up the opportunity to get vaccinated against the flu in the past. This and conversations I've had with various people over the years leads me to believe a lot of people don't get vaccinated who really should.
Of course your choices are your choices but here's why I've made mine.
Why you should get a yearly flu jab
It's free (for lots of people) - Lots of workplaces (including mine) will provide flu vaccination free of charge. I personally love free stuff even if it's not useful. You know when you come home from a conference with a bunch of branded crap? Did you actually use any of it? Me neither. Flu jabs are also free for pregnant women (who have suppressed immunity) and kids with breathing-related health issues. Woohoo! Everyone knows antibodies you didn't pay for are the best kind. Or was that wine? Who cares? I'll take both!
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