The queen bee in the mothering hive, designer-clad JJ is unfailingly immaculate. Her hectic social life makes her too busy to work, but her son, Jasper, is always puzzled when people refer to Jane as his mummy – the live-in maid is far more of a mother figure to him than JJ will ever be.
Bur Dubai Brenda
Brenda is a left-wing pessimist (although she’d prefer to think of herself as a realist). She’s got one son, Ben, and she’s not in any hurry to add to her brood – holding down a full-time job without a maid to help out in the apartment provides her with more than enough to worry about, thank you very much.
Rebecca lives the dream: the daily run she takes while pushing the buggy keeps her in fabulous shape, and her tot, Ralphie, has that ruddy, happy glow that only comes from home-made smoothies and carrot sticks. Her family’s weekends are spent hiking and camping in the desert or on the beach.
A hippy at heart, Mary does all she can to give her kids, Marcus, Mackenzie and Marie, a bohemian, eco-conscious upbringing. She’s installed a solar panel on her villa’s roof, grows her own veggies, and she’s never happier than when she and the family are relaxing with an organic picnic in Al Mamzar Park.
Much as I condone charitable efforts and the odd spot of fundraising, my teenage son has abandoned all career goals of late, saying instead that he wants to travel the world helping the poor. Of course, one doesn’t need educational qualifications to do this and so he has stopped applying himself at school. How can I make him understand that charity is all well and good, as long as you also get a degree?
Best wishes, Trish, Umm Suqeim
Jumeirah Jane says…
Trish, darling, I totally feel your pain. I am so sick of these do-gooders pretending they know what it feels like to be diseased, unwashed and totally lacking in Chanel. Don’t get me wrong; I do my bit – it was just last month that I spent Dhs15,000 on a dress to wear to the Help The Homeless black tie ball – but we all have to know our place in the world.
Tell your boy that it’s very nice to care (although not too much – he doesn’t want to look like a sissy), but that it really isn’t feasible to visit third-world countries unless there’s a five-star hotel in the nearest city. He simply wouldn’t know what had hit him – literally; imagine all the beggars mugging him for his Louis Vuitton luggage.
In the dog house
Ever since watching Beverley Hills Chihuahua, my two girls have been desperate to get a dog. However, I’m not so keen. Though they promise that they’ll take care of it, I know I’ll end up being the one taking it for walks, feeding it, grooming it and clearing up its poo. How can I say no without looking mean?
From a cat lover, The Springs
Bur Dubai Brenda says…
Put your foot down. Who cares if you seem more Rottweiler than Shitsu? In my experience, dogs are bad news: they cause a racket, make a mess and cost the earth. However, I too am a cat lover. Our meowing friends keep clean and pretty much take care of themselves, which is exactly how a pet (and a child, for that matter) ought to behave.
Tell the nagging brats that until they can pay the vets’ bills, it’s the feline way or the highway. If you’re a soft touch, borrow a friend’s dog and make the sprogs look after it – they’ll soon learn that canines are even more irritating than their Tamagotchi equivalents.
Some mothers do ’ave ’em
I can’t quite believe I’m putting this on paper but it’s been weighing on my mind for a while now... OK. My name’s Geeta and I’m the mother of an ugly child. There, I’ve said it. There’s nothing wrong with his features perse, but his eyes are kind of close together, his nose has a squashed potato look about it, his skin’s pretty pasty and he’s, well, a bit chubby. How can I give him a thorough makeover without denting his confidence?
From a rather guilty Geeta, JBR
Ranches Rebecca says…
I can’t say I know how you feel because, without meaning to brag, my Ralphie is, basically, perfect. Maybe it’s the fact that he only eats organic; perhaps it’s his regular mum ‘n’ tot aerobics classes; dare I say it, it could be his genes – but he really is the most adorable little bubba ever. I’m sorry to hear your son is less fortunate.
All I can suggest is putting him on a diet and getting him out in the sun as much as possible to eradicate his pesky pastiness. If all else fails, give Jumeirah Jane a call – I’m sure she could recommend a surgeon.
My six-year-old has developed a most peculiar habit: hiding up trees. No matter what his mood, he’ll be beside me one minute, eight metres up the next. What does this mean?
Regards, Yasmin, Bur Dubai
Mirdif Mary says…
This is truly wonderful. In this age of environmental neglect, I find it hugely encouraging that somehow, even in the midst of the desert, tree huggers are still managing to escape the confines of social taboo and be at one with nature.
It is vital that your little one does not see his behaviour as odd, so don’t question him – a negative association with bark and leaves at a young age can lead to tree-related anger (which I like to call negatreevity) in later years. This would be a terrible thing. Perhaps suggest that he start a tree lovers’ club at school, and I’m sure he’ll be the most popular chap in the class in a solar-powered flash.