Endless ‘to do’ lists

As children grow up, the list of things you have to do gets longer.


Every year, every week, every day throws up new challenges or old challenges dressed up in slightly new clothes. We are now into the GCSE countdown for daughter two, coupled with trying to figure out university stuff for daughter one and sort out GCSE options for daughter three. I spent Saturday night correcting a GCSE maths paper and Saturday daytime talking to people about student housing. Daughter one has also been doing some homework, but she’s on the 7am shift this week and it seems you need to get all this stuff done early.

We got home at around 5.30pm on Sunday after a day’s driving and kicked straight into washing, doing the school dinner money, the school uniforms, the cat flea treatment, the last-minute homework, the emergency grocery shopping, the dinner and catching up on work emails and news. I managed to kick over a can of paint and step in it without noticing too, just for good measure. I got to bed around midnight and was up at 5.30am to take daughter one to the station. When the kids were younger I was tired, but I never felt my whole life was being completely taken over by ‘to do’ lists that just keep getting longer.

Also there are endless roadworks on almost every road near where we live which make every journey complicated – and, doing the school run to three separate schools, I do a lot of journeys in a day.

Thank goodness for only son who has nothing much on except being a trog in the school play. It’s a non-speaking part so there are not even any lines to learn. The only slight hitch is that I have no idea what a trog costume might look like. I’m thinking the Greek toga painted to look like an animal skin and fluffing up his hair.

Only son does football once a week, reluctantly. “They always put me in defence and I want to be scoring goals,” he says regularly. “Don’t you ever get to play any matches?” I asked. I was curious to observe him in action. “We play matches literally every week, mum. I just don’t volunteer to be in them. It’s too much responsibility,” came back the reply. “I feel the same about school plays, mum. I don’t want to be a main part like that donkey role [he still has painful memories of being give the lead part of Steve the – funny – Donkey and having to swap it for a non-speaking census taker]. One, it’s humiliating and two, it is too much responsibility,” he said very definitely.

I said that responsibility can be a good thing, although I was definitely warming to the no-responsibility line. Maybe I could have my own no-responsibility weekend. Not this weekend, though. It’s coming up to daughter two’s birthday and she has been very enigmatic about how she wants to celebrate it. Running through meadows? Daughter two is big into candles and meadows. Only son is feeling particularly anti-daughter two at the moment. “I’m going to give her 5p and a card saying ‘improve your behaviour’,” he announced…

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