New year, new course


The New Year does strange things to you. There is a feeling that you have to reassess and come up with a Plan simply because you have had a few days off [even though you have been checking email throughout…]. This year having a Plan has been a bit more wide-ranging than last year, ranging from work progression to what to do if World War Three breaks out [Iceland?].

I have to admit I have never had much of a Plan. But this year is different. I have signed up to do an employment law course because, of course, I’ve got bags of extra time in my week to squeeze that in. So far I have merely logged in. There are 100 hours to do over the course of a year. I’m thinking at this rate I may be doing all 100 hours in December.

I’ve allocated the hours of 1-2am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to do the law course. It is when I am at my most rational and efficient. I have learnt from 17 years of parenting that the desire to sleep is a huge motivator for any task.

This is just about an hour before only son normally wakes up and yells “Muuuuuum” very loudly because he is scared of the dark. He has a night light, but he is still scared of the bits around the night light which are dark so would require full floodlights in an ideal world.

This week is his first week back at school and he is not exactly looking forward to it, although he has written an extensive sleepover invitation to his best friend, listing all activities and meal options. His friend is six and unlikely to be allowed to have a sleepover yet.

Till then only son will have to resign himself to having sleepovers in his sisters’ rooms. He’s already had one in daughter one’s room. He’s not so sure about daughter two who is slightly unpredictable and has a fetish about anyone sitting on her sheets because of germphobia…although she has made an exception for only son because he apparently has “cute germs”. Also she has a very elaborate bedtime routine involving putting olive oil on her eyelashes. This makes it difficult for her to read her books. I may mention it to her English teacher if asked why she took three to four months to finish To Kill a Mocking Bird. In addition she spends quite a long time looking at her eyebrows in the mirror in complete fascination. I have never considered the eyebrow that interesting, but she can gaze at her own endlessly.

Meanwhile daughter three already has a sleepover with only son every night as they are in the same room, although daughter three more or less ignores only son most of the time because she is deeply into drawing graphs and pie charts about 2017. She has always been the person with the Plan in our house. I should get her to map out my future.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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