I spent Saturday driving. Driving is becoming my main [only] hobby. It started with taking only son and his friend to a dance rehearsal about 45 minutes drive away only to find out we hadn’t got the memo saying the time had been switched to the afternoon. I dropped his friend back home, got the car tyres done, picked up daughter one, went off in another direction to drop her, returned home for 20 minutes then took only son and daughter three back to the dance rehearsal, drove to Romford, spent an hour in a packed shopping centre with daughter three, picked up only son and his friend, dropped his friend home, returned home for about two hours then drove to Billericay with only son to pick up daughter one, got lost [only son texted daughter one “mum is completely lost…literally”] and was back home by about 10pm.
It would have been fine if I hadn’t got home at midnight the night before from an evening of mother/daughter bonding with daughter two for her birthday, got to bed by around 1.30 after cleaning up and catching up on emails and found only son spreadeagled across my bed meaning I had to lie sideways with my legs hanging off the bed.
It was daughter two’s 15th birthday on Tuesday and driving featured heavily at the beginning of the week too. Due to the lack of vegetarian places where we live, the whole family went for a vegetarian/vegan curry in north London. That would have been great except the traffic was appalling, the car has a problem with the P filter additive or some such, the motorway exit was closed on the way back meaning we had to do a 40-mile loop through Essex during which only son desperately needed the toilet. Due to the lack of stopping places, he had to make do with a bottle. “There is no lid,” shouted someone in the back…too late. My mum sat in the middle section holding the bottle for the 40-mile detour.
It had been a busy week all-round. Daughter one has exams – the big end of school ones and she is very much on the edge and in need of doughnuts. They stretch from now until mid-May. Attempting an upbeat ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ approach is not working. Only son had a postponed World Book Day event. He dressed up as Rodrick from Diary of a Wimpy Kid – his favourite book series [he has read every book at least 10 times]. “We need white face paint and eyeliner,” he said. I spread the white face paint on him. “Does Rodrick really go round with white make-up on his face?” I asked. “He has white skin,” replied only son. He was taking being Rodrick a bit too literally. I washed the white paint off, applied eyeliner and some hair gel. Only son was in a kind of grunge rock n’ roll type outfit. We got to school. Almost everyone was in superhero or princess costumes. Only son’s best friend, however, was a magnificent Bagheera. They made quite an interesting pairing – a Goth and a panther.
My partner has been in Spain since Thursday – hence all driving responsibilities have fallen on me. There has also been a deluge of work emails in the last week and I fear that if I don’t catch up I could be sucked under as if in sinking sand, never to emerge again. Plus the school hosted a Mother’s Day crafting event on Friday which only son was very keen I attend and present me with his Mother’s Day poem [“Together we make an endless friendship…every cuddle is another great memory”]. I feel a bit as if I’m on some sort of survival course. The joys of work life balance…
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.