Isn’t it the weekend yet? This week has been a particular logistical nightmare – especially Thursday. The secondary school finished at midday due to Open Evening. No problem, thought I. I can pick everyone up as part of my lunch break. Daughter three then mentioned in passing that she had invited four friends for a sleepover and they were going into town first so could I pick them up from there. Daughter three made a strong case for why she absolutely had to have a sleepover on Thursday – she owed several friends and she’d recently cleaned her room and that wasn’t going to last. I said she’d need to check with her dad as I was going to be out on Thursday night for work and I wasn’t able to drop people back on Friday morning. There followed several whatsapp exchanges. Eventually it turned out that only one friend was coming. She and daughter three would need to be picked up mid Thursday afternoon from a town around half an hour away. So far so good.
My partner made reference to the fact that he was due to be in deepest Sussex on Thursday and that he wasn’t sure when he would get back. I said no problem, daughter one could babysit. However…daughter one announced, as she was preparing for teen yoga, that she had been told that all her form had to be on duty for Open Evening and she would need picking up at around 8.30pm. “Are you coming to yoga, mum?” she asked. I muttered something about being too stressed to have time to de-stress.
I rang my mum who is in the process of moving house, although with no firm dates yet. She agreed to act as temporary back-stop in case my partner couldn’t get back for 6pm when I had to go out. As a bonus she was bringing some plants and a suitcase of stuff for temporary storage. Things were falling into place.
I was just doing the goodnight rounds when daughter two piped up that she was going on a sleepover to London on Thursday night, but might need picking up in the morning. I suggested this was not a great plan and that daughter two might make her own way back by bus, train and tube. Daughter two is a bit worried about travelling on her own, given current news. She decided she would instead go to the cinema and make her way back to school on Thursday evening to be picked up with daughter one. By this point my head was going into spasm and I realised, as always, that I had not enough cash to cover all these goings out.
I bought a pizza and got some cash so by the time I went to bed on Wednesday night everything seemed kind of sorted. I sketched out the plan to my partner, though I am not sure he really took it in as he is entirely focused on what is happening in Catalonia at the moment. At least only son was going to school as normal, I thought. At 1am, only son croaked out in pain and started sobbing. He had a sore throat and a temperature. He would need the day off school.
I spent Thursday tracking people on my phone. At 12.05 daughter one rang to ask if it was okay to invite a friend for a sleepover. “Of course,” said I. “The more the merrier.”
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.