I was due to go out last night to a university reunion. It was my first non-work-related night out for a good few months. Things were not looking good when daughter one’s parents evening was moved from January to 9th February. Then only son’s school disco was announced for the same date. My partner was in Norfolk so unable to help out. My mum was on call, but she couldn’t go to both the parents evening and the disco. Daughter one said there was a three-line whip on the evening, meaning she at least had to go. My partner was hoping to catch the tail end. February 9th was also a big day work-wise and there was a possibility that I would have to dash out of the reunion and email people.
I was steeling myself for the occasion, though, because it was on the calendar and things that are on the calendar tend to get done [more or less].
Then, early on this week, the person I was going to go out with said she couldn’t make it. At the end of the day, I thought, the stars have aligned against me and maybe this whole socialising thing is not meant to be and I should stick to parents’ evenings as an alternative to a social life despite the fact that there is really no conversation involved. It’s just teachers reeling off targets, but beggars can’t be choosers.
This week was a case in point too because there was not one, but two parents evenings. “Do you really have to go?” said my partner, who thinks most of them are a waste of time. Many of them are, but the two this week offered some crucial information. One was on an exchange trip and the other was about daughter one’s progress and possible options after school. The exchange trip one was important because it involved work experience for daughter one in Spain, but also her parents apparently have to set up similar work experience for the Spanish exchange coming here. I know that because I went to the meeting. I’ve already got my backup option lined up – the Spanish exchange can be my technical assistant.
The slight problem is that we have two exchange students coming at the same time. Daughter two’s exchange is arriving in the middle of the other one’s stay. It may be a bit of a squash, but they will certainly learn a lot of English because only son doesn’t stop talking. Mainly about bottoms. We were on the tube the other day and he was fine for the first 10-15 minutes, sitting doing word searches and the like. He started getting restless after about four of the 17 stops we had to go through and decided to draw people on the tube and put the paper on his face and cackle. Then he drew our long lost cat, Buttons. He wrote: “Buttons minus tons equals butt.” He thought it was tremendously funny. I’m not sure the entire carriage of people who heard him laughing felt similarly.
Meanwhile, daughter three has been off school with a cold and generally I am fairly relieved to have made it to Friday, although I have not yet contemplated what I am going to do about half term. But at least there are no parents evenings in half term.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.