Keeping grounded

summer holidays


Being a parent is an exercise in keeping grounded. One minute you’re organising debates on the future of Europe [spoiler alert: not good and that includes the UK, of course. We haven’t relocated to another continent yet]. The next you’re staring intently at your son’s poo to check if he has worms. Over the weekend I took daughters one and three to an event I had organised. I had to introduce the event and they were sitting prominently in one of the front rows. I could see big smiles on their faces as I started to speak – they were not smiles of pride. I opted to direct all my comments to the middle rows.

Halfway through the event one of the speakers was struggling with her powerpoint presentation. She glanced in my direction. My face froze in terror. Technical support is not my greatest skill. I could hear giggles to the back of me from my own technical support team. Fortunately, the chair of the event was a powerpoint expert. One day I will have the time to become a technical expert, but I’m not counting on it happening any day soon.

Daughter two had opted to sit the event out and to have a long bath instead in preparation for a party that night so when we got home somewhat tired she announced that the bath and sink were blocked.

I was trying to explain some of the challenges involved in the whole “work life” thing to a radio presenter in the early hours of the morning last week. “You basically feel your life is on fast forward all the time and that you are constantly firefighting,” I began, listing childcare, being pulled in several directions at all times and various other issues. Being in a workplace that understands those challenges and mitigates many of them, through a flexible approach, makes a huge difference, I stated. Just at that moment only son chose to wake up and come into the room. He was half asleep and started talking to me very loudly, ignoring all my signals to be quiet. He proceeded in a stream of consciousness manner, to detail just how annoying his sisters are. Fortunately, he did not mention worms.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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