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Poos & Shoes

Amy Mowafi's resistance to hiring a live-in nanny might make her relationship with her baby stronger but balancing motherhood with managing a business has put her in some...ahem...'sticky' situations...

I refuse to have a live-in nanny. My Egyptian nanny arrives at nine every morning and leaves at seven every evening. There is no viable reason for this beyond the constant torture that working mums subject themselves to in a bid to allay their guilt. If I can't  spend time with Baby during the day then I shall at least suffer through the requisite sleepless nights. This makes both Baby and I sufficiently miserable so as to make me feel something worthy and worthwhile has taken place.

Of course, there's usually a few hours between 7 pm and my working day actually ending when I'm not always entirely sure what Baby is up to let alone with whom. But it usually involves my mother and a stream of photos being emailed to me of Baby in my parents house/grandma's house/mum's office/once quite literally in the giant flower display in the lobby of the Four Seasons, dressed in a confusing concoction of outfits that run the gamut from mini folkloric dresses to 80s inspired leggings teamed with neon-net tops and always the subject line "ro7-omooo". This my mother believes makes her ashkyak baby fil 3alam, a hyperbolic statement which I highly doubt to be true. Not least because it entirely dismisses the existence of celeb-babies.

She also reminds me that because of similarly well-thought out ensembles, I too was once ashyak baby fil 3alam. I have tried to explain (to no avail) that, until the age of about 12 when I finally rebelled, I was actually the most miserable baby fil 3alam, as no one wants to be friends with the girl in the polka-dot black salopette with matching polka-dot jacket and an over-sized polka-dot bow and polka-dot shoes.

The point of all this being that come the weekends (or rather the rare weekend when I'm not stuck behind a laptop), I like to brave the world without Nanny in an attempt to curb the damage clearly being inflicted during the week (to both our psyches). Of course, in a society where most every woman -  especially those who don't have much else to do with their day but look after their babies - walks around with a little African or Asian woman in tow, this often puts me in the most awkward of situations.

For example, that time recently when I forgot the baby wipes and ended up holding baby over the Sequoia bathroom sink in order to rid her bottom of the magnanimous poop she had presented me with. And then in walks the marketing director of big sneaker-brand we were hoping to snag as a client. With our previous communications limited to email, I don't recognise her and continue to concentrate intently on digging out little flecks of poop from the podgy crevices of Baby's thigh.

She, however, recognises me, and for reasons I can't quite fathom given the circumstances decides to introduce herself. "Are you Amy Mowafi?" She asks "You're one of the owners of MO4 right?"

Now, the birth of a child instantly changes how we define ourselves. Beyond the practical challenges of parenthood, the psychological confusion is perhaps the toughest to negotiate. And while separating one's personas/roles is nigh impossible and not something I even particularly recommend, the physical boundaries created by default (boardroom and baby rarely have to literally mix) still offer some modicum of comfort. So this little bathroom-baby-poop-potential-big-client situation currently unfolding is borderline traumatic.

WHO AM I SUPPOSED TO BE RIGHT NOW? Competent and professional owner of MO4 or harassed and incompetent mother? I decide that I AM every woman, and with all the matter-of-factness I can muster I continue to wash baby's bottom with my bare hands while discussing potential digital marketing strategies. Potential Client - belatedly realising that this is in fact a really awkward situation -  does a stellar job pretending Baby is not even there.

The following week, we do indeed close the deal and I receive a special delivery from the client - a pair of baby-sized sneakers. I take a picture and send it to my mother with the subject line ashyak baby fil 3alam.

 


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