The stereotypical prototype of the ‘working mother’ on billboard hoardings that I see gets my goat. Of course, I am being metaphorical here, since a real working mother is always on tenterhooks: she has lost her marbles, so leave alone retaining something as troublesome as a goat.
Well, the most recent hoarding I saw was of a 20-something pretty young thing, with shining, bouncy hair (just a tendril let loose on her forehead), perfectly kohl-lined eyes, and perky painted lips. She was wearing a striped, starched shirt and smart black pants (waist size = 22”), pulling out a packet of detergent from her bag and exclaiming : ‘Eazee Wash Makes My Life Easier’.
Now, there are some things I want to set straight:-
1) Working Mothers do not wear starched striped shirts and smart black pants, with the above-mentioned waist size (I do not want to repeat the size since it causes considerable stress). They are more likely to wear:
a. Baggy brown shirts with purple pants (Where the hell did the maid keep the black one?)
b. Blue Salwar kameez with red dupatta (‘Aaargh, the baby blew her nose on the blue one…)
c. Maternity pants (nothing else fits) and the old kurti (Yippee, the kurti fits me!!), which is stretching on the stomach, every weave, groaning in agony.
d. Husband’s T shirt
2) Working Mothers do not smile and endorse silly products – The only products that a working mother can smile and endorse would be:
a. Eaazee Nanny – This is a nanny that will treat your kids like her own, never take unannounced leave and will manage your house better than you could have!!
b. Eaazee Sleep – This machine will ensure that your baby sleeps through the night and wakes up after you do.
c. Eaazee Eat – When you play this CD, your baby will eat her food without a fuss.
3) Working Mothers have no time for perfect makeup – What working mothers barely manage is a plaster of cream, a stroke of eyeliner (to make up for the drowsy eyes) and a smear of lipstick. I, usually, apply these while in the car, managing to find the target areas on the face with some difficulty. I am ok with some margin of error: for eg., lipstick on the nose is passable, but on the forehead is where I draw the line.
I combed my hair, in long leisurely strokes, last in 2002, before Nikki was born. Since then, I have resorted to measures like plastering it down with water, combing just the front, or putting a hair-band. On a daily basis, I comb my hair in the only time slot that I have available: the time it takes me from my 3rd floor apartment to the basement car park in my elevator . But, then, if Prithvi has removed the comb from my bag and replaced it with a rattle/toy hammer/toy gun it does not help (this happens approximately 75% of the time). Just in case, you see me at a traffic signal, holding a gun to my head, don’t get alarmed – I am seconds away from the Moment of Daily Realization.
To sum it up, in instances when I don’t find a comb, I just tie my hair back casually, trying to pass it off as a cool and informal look.
4) Working Mothers do not pull out detergent packets from their bags – Well, I do have a LOT of stuff in my bag at any given time. Here is a partial list:
a. Triaminic syrup
b. One baby sock
c. Half-eaten biscuit
d. Barbie’s sandals, or, sometimes, Barbie herself (without clothes, since Nikki and her friends have some kind of game in which the dolls are disrobed) – I have, during a meeting, retrieved a Barbie in this state, while searching for a white-board marker (Gosh, why are these Barbies so thin??) and held it aloft while making my brilliant point around Organizational Development.
e. Plastic Insects
f. Toy car without wheels
g. The wheels, in another, unrelated incident.
But never, ever, have I had/retrieved a bag of detergent.
So, I wish these ad-makers had just some more sense and used someone else to market their detergent : the maid, the laundromat owner or, the goat, for all I care!
Finally, on a more serious note, I wish the world had more empathy for working mothers. I know some working mothers who are terrific performers at work. They are brisk, focused and damn good and closing stuff. They have no time to hang around over endless cups of coffee, may sometimes seem to be always in a hurry, but they sure deliver the goods!
Three Cheers to those ladies…they deserve some respect…, ok, forget the respect, maybe, a 22” waist size will do.
OK, bye, time for me to comb my hair.