I’ve been enjoying a bit of a social life bonanza this week. On Monday I had half an hour to talk to a friend I had not seen for a year or so. Next Friday I have around 45 minutes with another friend I haven’t seen for about a year. Two weeks ago I met up with a friend from school who I hadn’t seen for two years. And at the weekend I had lunch with a former colleague and her partner who I did see briefly en route to a work thing in August, but who I had not more than glimpsed for several years before that.
The excitement of Monday was clearly too much and I fell asleep in the bath on Tuesday, only to wake up with that feeling of panic that you don’t exactly know where you are, but that you appear to be entombed in water. I had actually got in the bath in order to wake myself up.
Normal service had been restored by Wednesday – daughter three made a late announcement that she was off to Romford on Thursday night to do something she described as “an NHS film project” and needed to be picked up. My immediate thought was that I might not be able to stay awake enough to drive round Romford. “It’s only half an hour away on Googlemaps,” said daughter three, ignoring the fact that on the two or three occasions we’ve gone to Romford it has taken at least twice that time. In a way driving around is quite therapeutic, though, because it means I can’t check emails and I am forced to listen to George Michael, which is never a bad thing.
My partner refused point blank to go. Daughter three knows, however, that her mother is a soft touch and piled on the guilt factor – you did it for daughter one, it is for school homework, everyone else is going [but lives in Romford], the other students cannot do weekends or Friday because they are doing activities like dance or gymnastics [which she doesn’t do. Bad mother] etc, etc. She topped it off with the silent treatment. Daughter three feels fairly hard done by, being the third child. I asked her to list what she wants for Christmas the other day and one of her top requests was a trip on an airplane [we haven’t been on one since just before only son turned two and needed to pay], followed by carrots [“I ran out of ideas”]. I suggested she enter holiday competitions.
Meanwhile, daughter one is still learning to drive. I don’t remember it taking so many lessons to learn back in the day. Apparently she had a good driving lesson the other day and only stalled twice. “And one of them was the driving instructor’s fault,” she said. “I was just about to drive into another car and he stalled it so essentially I only stalled the once,” she said triumphantly. Progress.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.