Home working ramps up now we're back in the office - Janet Christie's Mum's the Word
Back in the office after two years working from home and so far so good. While there’s the hassle of hotdesking, carting in laptops and cables and routers, the joy is that co-workers don’t expect you to do their washing, give them a lift NOW, loan them tenners or lie around watching Tipping Point a few feet away with the volume up at ear-splitting.
But what you don’t need on your first day back, while you’re luxuriating in the facilities - the wide desks, multiple monitors, ergonomic chairs, swish coffee machines, and, blast from the past stationery cupboard, the all round industrious ambience - is a phone call from Youngest Child back at the homestead that involves the word ‘painting’.
“Mum, where is that tape we use to go along the edges of things when we’re painting?” she says.
“Wait, why …”
She probably can’t find any sellotape and wants to use that tape instead. A surprise gift for me maybe. Nothing to do with paint. Or painting. I ignore rogue images of teetering ladders, wobbling tins of gloss and emulsion and cat prints across wooden floors that threaten to distract me and manage to re-focus. But a minute later my phone rings again.
“Where’s the paint?” she says.
“In the big cupboard. Loads of tins in there,” I say, like a fool, but recover quickly with “Do not start painting when I’m not in the house.”
“So I’m in the cupboard,” she says. “Matt and gloss, teal and grey, sparkle something… but I’m looking for white. Found it. What’s matt and gloss mean?”
“Move away from the paint pots. Wait till I get home. See, this is what happens when I’m not there.”
“Exactly,” she says. “This IS what happens when you’re not here. Stuff gets done. When you ARE here, nothing gets done because you’re in the way, always working. And you can relax, because I’m just painting the frame of that wooden mirror for my room. I’ve already had my uni lecture and later I’m going to work, but before that I’ll just get this done.”
So there you are parents. Delude yourselves no longer. All your efforts during Covid - the home schooling, working from home, multi-tasking, fighting on the home front, holding the fort. Don’t kid yourselves. You were always just “in the way”.