THIS time last week, I had a wee smiled to myself as I waited on the red carpet at the premiere of James Bond.
It was fitting, I thought, that in a few moments time I would be interviewing Daniel Craig, the man who plays secret agent Bond – because I felt as though I was leading a double life.
There I was, a few days earlier, leading my ‘normal’ life in Scotland with my husband and sons – two-year-old Monty and 11-month-old Chester.
I seem to remember there had been a 4.30am start, five ‘Blaze And The Monster Machines’ (a cartoon) before 7am, Monty watching said Blaze from the comfort of baby Chester’s head, resulting screams…
And then, boom. An email from a producer at itv1’s Lorraine.
“Hi Martel. Just wondering if you would like to cover the red carpet for us for the World Premiere of James Bond in London next week?”
Em, let me think about it. YES?
It’s the kind of question a mum with wee one dreams of on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. Any chance of hopping down to London, for a night of uninterrupted sleep and interviewing Craig with his piercing blue eyes?
And while I was at it, they asked if I could interview Simon Cowell (charming and ever so charismatic in person) the night before.
The premiere was thrilling. I’ve been to many a red carpet as a showbiz reporter and nothing compares to Bond.
The sheer spectacle and the Britishness of it – at London’s iconic Royal Opera House, famous theme tunes blasting out as cast members inched their way to me.
Oh, there’s Joan Collins! Shirley Bassey!
And breathe. Back to Dundee (we have been living in a flat while we build a house in the country in Perthshire) and my boys.
Many mums might relate to this sentiment: I’m a better mother for working. For getting away and doing something that drives and excites me. For working and feeling like a person outside motherhood – for doing work I adore.
It doesn’t mean I don’t worship my boys (all three); that I don’t realise how lucky I am – but you show me the person who spends 24/7 with anyone (be it their baby, child, husband, mother) and thinks “Boy I’m lucky” every waking moment – and I’ll show you a saint…or a fibber.
The above example is an extreme. It’s not always a trip to interview two of the most famous men on the planet. Sometimes it’s radio presenting or last-minute filming, or a voice over or hosting a do.
But I worked hard to get there and now I have children, I’m more driven than ever. I focus on and enjoy jobs more. I come home from a gig and walk a foot taller. I want my boys to know they can work and achieve dreams – like both parents. I relish my time with them never more so than when I return.
It might be the actual job you love, the independence of making money or feeling of contributing at home. Some people’s work even makes a difference in a very real way – nurses, surgeons, social workers and so many more.
If you don’t work (a friend simply doesn’t want to and I admire her authenticity) you still need to ‘get out’ – with the girls, for a walk, a spa break, a coffee. Don’t you?
“Say yes, then worry about who’ll look after the kids afterwards” – the motto of my mum and husband. I have a support team and a bit of nursery – that’s invaluable. It’s a huge part of the reason we moved back home, to have both sets of parents. And a garden..when the house is eventually ready.
It’s not all roses. I am wracked with guilt when I leave. This dissipates though after a few tunes on the car radio and dare I say, a feeling of freedom. I work for myself – a choice taken years before settling down and which I’ll blog about another time.
As a freelancer, I rely on good employers. People who even see the value in having a mum on board. In fact, a good employer probably ignores it – gay, straight, mum, not – they want someone who does the best job for them.
Lorraine – show and presenter – who called for the Bond gig, is the perfect example. I heart them.
I am probably a better presenter – more natural and relaxed – now than before I had kids. Interviewing Daniel Craig still makes me giddy and nervous – but nothing makes me as giddy as returning home to my boys.