Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Loving Mr Jamie Oliver

I think I may be a teensy bit in love with Jamie Oliver.

Not in the 'rip his clothes off shag him into next week, Taylor Kitsch kind of love' but in the 'thank god there are folk out there, celebs even, that say "marriage is hard" and are honest way. (And his is not of the school of Gwynnie "my life is perfect, have you seen my freshly baked organic cookies and my abs are still rock hard.")

In The Sunday Times mag, he talked about how he was expected to do more at home, the more time off he took - which in fairness sounds like most marriages. Women who have been left holding the babies, want a break as soon as their tag team walks through the door. They also bicker. Hallelujah! Someone admitting that day to day is a world of negotiations, quiet simmerings, frustrated looks and endless compromise. The interviewer admitted his wife struggles with being a full time Mum - she gets bored, she misses work. (We could be friends for sure). Jamie then pitches in with 'They do say, and I see it as an employer of thousands of women, that the most unhappy women are the full time workers and the full times mums, and the ones who are the most happy are the two to three dayers. I see both models of Mum and definitely the ones that remain engaged, vivacious, humorous, have got the mechanism of work in their lives.'

Amen Jamie.

The only time I had a little fleck of disgust with his wife was when Jamie said 'She doesn't necessarily get every project I do. She's like 'But why do you care? If you're not going over there and doing it for the money, then why do you care?'

Nice Jools - sitting in your two-put-together mahoosive Primrose Hill mansions, with your designer shoes and endless bank account funds, why would you care about more philanthropic deeds? There again, she may just be a Mum on the edge who needs a break. Here's a thought - hire some help Mrs Oliver, and go do something fun. Then you might be more supportive of Mr O trying to encourage American kids to eat some greens?

Apparently it is all flexi time and work life balance if you work for Jamie - but I wonder if this extends to the folk who produce his TV shows? I doubt that on a budget in the US, that half way through the day the director will feck off to pick up his/her kids or shooting in a studio in Wembley, the producer will nip home to do tea. If it is the case - Jamie, where so I sign up? An employer like you, a man, who understands the plight of Mothers, is quite frankly the holy grail of employers.

Jamie clearly has a heart of gold and an admirable ambition to be a provocateur - funding schools' kitchens and supplying dinner ladies on his endless quest to make us all eat a bit better. But he is also a father of 4 who is needed at home. No matter the help you have with kids, it is always better when you are together as a family. Everyone mucking in, the team supporting one another.

The thing I found most heartening about the whole interview was his complete honesty. If only more people were as brave as old Jamie, the world would be a better place. Instead we are forced to buy into the bullshit idea that everyone has a Tom and Katie style romance, that happy every after exists, that marriage and kids is one easy road.

No one has all the answers, not even Jamie.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

For Daycare Lady...

Ok, maybe it's time for me to be a bit more honest. See, I wasn't into blogging because I thought 'what is the point of blogging, if I am going to keep secrets?' Totally defeats the purpose. But then I kept thinking of folk who read this blog who I know, folk who don't like me, etc and thinking how I really didn't want people to just have a good old chortle at my life. Oh ho ho, CM is having a shit time! Looks like her career is up the left and she's broke! I'd feel bad for her if my diamond shoes weren't so tight and my wallet could no longer hold my £50s... I also felt a bit ashamed, for many reasons, and a failure in lots of ways.

I am on anti-depressants. Yep, I am back on the pills. There, I said it.

I am completely convinced that having a baby does something chemically to me, and that about 8 months or so after having one my head kind of melts down. I am sure it is chemical because not one single thing has changed in my life, not one, since I started taking them - but my god I feel a whole world of better! I still have moments of feeling a tad blue occasionally, but it is more of a 'oh, that sucks, big deal' feeling than a gut wrenching, tormented angst that used to spasm through me.

It all came to head a week ago on Tuesday. Funnily enough, the day I took my first pill, I got my period that evening. So my PMT just about sent me over the edge. I realised I had cried every day for weeks. That aint normal. That I struggled with stuff that really isn't that big. Every day would overwhelm me. Fear of not finding work, fear of finding work and hating it, fear of never getting away from my kids, fear of getting away from them and never seeing them. Realising I am not really that interested in script editing any more, but not quite sure of how to proceed, as the bills keep a'coming. I felt like all my friends have their lives sorted - great jobs, fab homes, success, success, success, and I am here, unemployed, at a kind of dead end in my tv career. Again.

Firstly, I really need to stop comparing my life to others because it is MY life. One I am proud of, with a whole variety of experiences that mean I am a pretty fun dinner party guest. And that is enough for me, it really is. Secondly, my Mother in Law is here and she tells me daily that I give myself a hard time. So that has got to change. I met with some Mums yesterday who I have known for years and all of them had no idea what they were doing and how to make it all work either - suddenly I realised it aint just me who struggles with the whole work/kid dilemma - there are a whole army of women out there who are vastly skilled and would love to working, and have time to see their bairns.

But those few days before I took a tablet, were so damn hard. I swallowed down tears at everything. I flinched when anyone spoke. Things that I thought I had got over made me sad - like seeing an old friend who now hates me and briefly congratulating her on her pregnancy. I walked away in tears, so so sad that this is how it was with us now. Sad that someone I care about, who I thought knew me well - well enough to know I would never hurt her intentionally - can dislike me so, when I thought I had put it behind me. Seems that I am far more vulnerable than I thought.

I wasn't really eating. Life felt grey. I felt lost. I put on a false smile when I saw my friends and then would cry all the way home on the train. It is easy to pretend you are ok if no one challenges you, if no one asks. So I did what I thought was right, and I am so so glad I did. Nothing has changed in my day to day life. I don't have any more answers to my (endless?) job issues. I don't have any money in my bank. Winter marches taking a little bit more light, a little bit earlier every day. But I am ok. More than ok. I am loving my daughter with a newfound vigour. I am throwing out my CV and am not caring too much where it lands. I have hope again. Feck me, you are nothing without your health and hope.

So, that's where I'm at. 5 weeks to Halloween. Woo hoo!

Monday, 19 September 2011

A little break

Someone emailed me asking me why I haven't blogged for so long. It has in fact been 12 whole days since I last blogged. Which isn't that long, well maybe in blog land it is. Thing is, I'm just not feeling it. Blogging that is. For the first time in like, well, ever maybe, I just don't want to share all my innermost thoughts. I just want to keep some things to myself in this time of change and unsettledness. I feel that for me to continue blogging at the mo would be like a tape being jammed - playing over and over and over. And who wants that?

Things I do want to share however:

1. I am over the MOON that Kyle Chandler won and Emmy last night as did Jason Katims, the lead writer on FNL. So deserved - this show was truly brilliant and should have won best drama and Connie Britton best female actress. I miss it. If you have never watched it - go buy series 1. You won't regret it, I promise. Taylor Kitsch, swoon.

2. I have just finished 'Room' by Emma Donoghue. A brilliant book that will forever haunt me. I won't even begin to tell you what it is about - save to say I have read nothing like it. I couldn't put it down. Mind you, it did cost me £100. I bought it in the local cancer research charity store - when I was dropping off 3 big bags of kids clothes, and as I went to pay for it, a rolled up wad of notes - £100 worth, that Husband had given me to put in the bank, must have dropped out of my pocket. When I got to the bank - 30 seconds walk away, my money was gone. I ran back but it wasn't found. I sobbed and sobbed as I have so little money, what with no income an all. If only I hadn't stopped to buy the book, I never would have lost the money. Oh well, the book was great.

3. My Mother in Law is here for 2 weeks, - helping me with the kids and generally being lovely. In having the slightest time away from my daughter, I have been smitten with her. I find myself torn between wanting time for myself and dreading the thought of work and leaving her.

4. Please DO NOT go and see 'I don't know how she does it.' Seriously, give the money to charity or buy some chocolate or something. Even paying the window cleaner with the cash would be more satisfying. SJP plays Carrie, being a mother. Piers Brosnan should give up acting - now. Right now. In fact why did he ever take it up? There is no plot to speak of and a woman with a full time nanny (one that stays over surely must be about 40K plus a year no?) really can't be struggling that much? It is so dreadful I can't waste any more energy writing about it - but it makes Sex and City 2 look like a masterpiece. Exactly.

5. BBC2's Bake off show is brilliant. Cake and a hot guy called Rob making said cake. What is not to love? I am addicted to this and never knew there was so much skill in having a thin crust, non soggy base and over whisking.


I am sure I will be back blogging shortly. I did toy with the idea of setting up a new blog, under a new name, just for some complete privacy. Which is a complete paradox I guess - blogging for privacy! I feel I am a bit of a paradox at the mo. At 6s and 7s. When I work through this time I will be back. Bleating on about my usual rubbish. Until then, I thank you all for reading, for caring, for supporting me and for making me feel not so alone. In moments of complete darkness, you guys were twinkling little lights.

CM x

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

No, I don't know how she does it either

Miraculously I got to read the Sunday papers this week - and there was an interesting column by Eleanor Mills titled 'the truth we hide from career women.' In it, referencing the new film out this week called 'I don't know how she does it' based on the book by Alison Pearson, Mills concluded that no woman can indeed 'have it all' and that many women are down grading their careers or compromising their ambitions in order to raise a family. That women are forced to choose and in doing so negate their positions in the boardroom - leaving men to hold the powerful jobs while they fumble around not achieving their potential. Such a sorry state of affairs. We fought for equality, we fought to have a voice and when push comes to shove it is us who have to take a back seat once we sprog.

I found it remarkably comforting when Mills described women who wished that someone had spilled the beans earlier - who had guided them when making their career choices - which lets face it start at 14 when we pick our GCSEs. Pick and be damned. From there the path of A levels and then uni choice is set. Not in stone, but pretty solidified. No one told me that TV was an insane career to compliment motherhood - in fact I never even gave it a second thought. I clearly remember telling a friend's parents this in a restaurant in west hampstead in 200 when I was a kids tv presenter: 'I want my own film show - like Johnathan Ross, to be working in telly still, kids - two, and a fab life.' They said that probably wouldn't achieve all of that - they were right. Claudia Winkleman has though and she is brilliant - so there is hope I guess. But for the majority of women it is either work all hours god sends, never really see your kids, or go flexible, take a pay cut and tough it out trying to have the best of both worlds. Or simply stay at home and try not to go out of your mind - insist that you love it, after all, you gave up everything to have it - so you sure as shit better enjoy it.

Why did no-one have word in my shell like? I didn't marry a rich man so I could swan around with vanity projects or mumble something about 'in development with an idea' or the like - I want to work - I really do, but I'd also like to see my kids for more than an hour every day. A friend has recently agreed to go full time, but she will leave every day before 3pm to collect her kids - so she is effectively doing 4 days spread over five. I've got 3 meetings lined up - all potential to get work which is great. But my big fear is that they will say 'yes, we are filming in Scotland for 3 months' in which case my meeting will be in vain. Still, I'm keeping positive - something will turn up. It will work out and all these mantras. I have my health, blah blah.

But, as Mills said - why do I have to compromise on my job to be a mother - isn't there a way of trying at least to keep a foot in both camps - without coming across as SJP does in the movie as a slightly scatterbrained, exhausted, balls in the air falling all the time harassed stressed mother who still wants to work? And don't get me started on the expense and difficulty of finding good childcare. We fought to make choices when in reality we are still so limited.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

All to play for

Husband has been off all week. He has been getting up with the kids, bringing me breakfast in bed, putting on washes, endlessly emptying the dishwasher and generally being MR fabulous. I like him. I keep trying to force affection from him and he pulls away noting that he has 'banked a lot of credit' for his Mr house help activities of late. He personifies 'smug.' And yet I still like him. I wish this stress free, chilled Dad would appear more often.

Thank god, the school holidays FINALLY end on Tuesday. Sweet Jaysus, I have struggled to fill those days. I have no idea why - when in fact all I needed to do was discover Angry Birds. It fills a good 6 hours easily. Maybe more. And before you finger wagging Mums tell me that it aint good for my child to be staring at an i pad screen for 6 hours. I am joking. Maybe. Sproglet is addicted to it. I pretend that I am not and then get hideously, frighteningly excited when I blast those green motherfuckers into next week. It is possibly more addictive that pringles. The Oirish one is amazing - pig leprechauns. Is there anything better?

I am pretty loved up with life at the mo. After everything that has been happening with my best friend and her health - I have realised that life really is too short.

So I called my Dad.

We chatted in nice warm voices and even though things may not entirely resolve - he is my Dad and I want him in my life - no matter what. It felt good. I am sending out CVs with gay abandon and I've a few meetings lined up. Who knows what will happen next - I'm kind of excited to find out. Instead of stressing about it all I'm just savouring this last few moments with Sproglette aka THE DIVA. She finally ate a jar of baby food, instead of only eating home cooked mush - so the gateway to a less stressful non endlessly blending and boiling lifestyle has been opened.

Autumn, my favourite season, is nearly upon us. It is ok to start planning Xmas - which we have - we are gonna go out for Xmas lunch to Husband's swanky hotel, with family and friends. Hurrah - no snipping in the kitchen as the turkey remains frozen, no huffing over who should help with washing up, no stress over the bread sauce curdling, or the forgotten cranberry. In my head it is the end scene from Scrooge, when I doth my hat to all I pass and everyone wishes everyone else a merry Xmas in old London town as snow softly falls and soft jingly bell music floats around. It will be just like that I am sure.

So, I'm cheery. As I passed my favourite dream house in our neighbourhood yesterday, a bird shat on me. A first I thought a fly has landed on my shades and eyebrows, but then the fly did not move and to touch, was overly moist and well, green. Instead of bemoaning my shit smeared self, I was overjoyed. "It is a sign!" I yelled to a laughing Husband. Immediately I bought a lottery ticket. It's all to play for at the moment, it really is.