How prepared have employers been for the challenges facing working parents around the...read more
Daughter one was due at school at 6.45am on Sunday for the first stage of her Biology field trip. It turns out there was a party taking place on the Saturday night. This presented a dilemma for daughter one: to go to the party and get around four hours of sleep and starting the Biology field trip feeling virtually unable to keep her eyes open – and for her parents: a late night and early morning pick-up on a weekend. The advice on the Biology field trip website was clear. It would not, said the blurb, be a very enjoyable experience if people were half asleep during it. I read the advice out in a serious voice to daughter one.
It turned out that there was also a party organised for the Friday night to say goodbye to the Spanish exchanges, but daughter one had a university open day and arrived home around 7pm feeling slightly knackered, though inspired. She didn’t fancy going anywhere. It wasn’t looking good for Saturday’s party at that point.
But as with all things teen, things had completely changed by the next day. It turned out that half the Biology field trip were going to the party. My partner and I were debating how to divvy up the late night pick-up on Saturday and an early morning shift on Sunday. Suddenly, though, daughter one came up with an alternative suggestion – she would go to the party, a friend who was going on the Biology field trip would pick her and her friend up and take them to the school at 6.45am. This seemed an excellent solution to my partner and I. We would get out of both the late night and the early morning pick-up. Bingo! We suddenly converted to all-out support for daughter one to attend the party.
Daughter one had a list of what to pack for the field trip. It included hat, scarf and gloves and waterproof trousers. Daughter one does not have waterproof trousers. She suggested a trip to the local charity shops. I have never seen waterproof trousers on sale in a charity shop, but was willing to take a punt. Daughter one emerged with three pairs of rather fashionable-looking trousers. “You do realise you may well be standing up to your middle in a lake full of mud fishing for algae?” I said. Daughter one assured me that the trousers cost less than a fiver all in and she would not mind if they got muddy. Plus she had a style reputation to preserve. I muttered something about a field trip not being a trip up the catwalk, but by this point daughter one had stopped listening.
Daughter three accompanied me to the party drop-off. Daughter one had her suitcase and two other bags. She was dressed in an all in one gold lame hotpants thing and trainers which she may or may not be wearing on the field trip. I told her not to venture into sinking mud and the like. “Mum, I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” whispered daughter three. “You mean the Biology field trip,” I said sympathetically. I had been worrying about pond weed and the like. “No, the party,” said daughter three who had spotted some teens armed with alcohol entering the house.
The following morning, I texted daughter one, just to check she had made it to the field trip. “Tired? Good party?” I received two messages from daughter one. “On the bus,” said the first one. “Full of regrets.” Five minutes passed. “I think it was worth it though.”
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk. Picture credit: Wikimedia commons.