The CEO of Keeping Things Going

I have come to see my role as a parent as essentially keeping things going. I am the CEO of Keeping Things Going. I get people out of bed, get them to places, make sure they are in a fit psychological state to go to those places, keep them fed and generally make sure things run as smoothly as possible.

This week there have been a raft of what you might call hurdles to smooth running. The investigation into the mystery disappearance of daughter three’s lost school bag has deepened, daughter two needs her work experience to be set up, the bathroom is midway to being ready to be retiled, the toilet is playing up, daughter one is trying to sort out life after school and only son has been complaining loudly that “I just don’t fit in this family” because the teenagers have been ignoring his pleas to watch the Diary of a Wimpy Kid film again [although I think daughter two secretly wants to. After all, all the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books we have are hers].

Everyone has minor health issues – eczema, vitamin D deficiency, etc, requiring pills and potions and every time anyone goes into the bathroom, you can hear them trying to hack off a chunk of tile glue from the wall in preparation for the retiling. So far we have all the tiles off the wall and lots of damp patches, but the tile glue is not budging. Youtube suggested using a wet cloth, but that hasn’t worked so far. The tiling man sent a message the other day to say he was having to come two days earlier than anticipated. He suggested 7.45 on Saturday morning. He clearly does not live in a house full of teenagers. I have been in deep text correspondence with him over disconnecting the toilet. The only problem is my mobile doesn’t work in most parts of the house so I have to run upstairs and wave it around until I get a bar to check if he has texted or I can send a message through. It doesn’t help that there is no mobile signal within about two miles of the primary school.

My partner is not entirely confident of my disconnecting toilet skills, but I’ve now watched at least three Youtube tutorials [albeit most of them are in the US]. I’ve also been chasing a missing parcel from Amazon. Daughter two got a gift voucher for Christmas and has ordered some kind of perfumed oil burning vessel which is probably a fire hazard.

Delivery was attempted over a week ago during the school run and a card left saying a renewed attempt would be made the following day. Nothing has happened. I have been twice on Amazon chat to try and fix it. The problem is my Amazon account is in my partner’s name and Amazon seem to be very security conscious. “Are you Mr xxx?” they asked and then promptly refused to talk to me about my delivery even though all I am asking is for it to be redelivered to the same address it would have come to anyway. They recommended I call instead of doing chat so I did. “Are you Mr xxx?” they asked once I had explained my problem and the fact that I had tracked my parcel to a depot in East Essex. I considered lowering my voice. How hard is it to get a parcel redelivered? Very hard, it turns out. While the Amazon team in India are on the case, the people in Essex appear to have gone totally silent and the package still hasn’t arrived. The good news is that we’ve had delivery waived and got a fiver off it. By the time it arrives we will be in profit. Maybe I should order more of these oil thingies.

Meanwhile, only son has given up complaining about being ignored. I found him the other night in his sister’s room having mascara applied and strange things done to his eyebrows. He now fits in just fine.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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