You get to the end of the week and land, exhausted on the beach of Friday, only to find that your other job goes into overdrive.
On Friday, however, we had the promise of a slight reprieve: only son was heading off for a sleepover – his first for quite a while.
He had packed everything days in advance – books, DVDs, shark trumps, fidget spinners, etc. You’d think he was moving in.
When his friend comes for a sleepover he brings cherry cola. It has become a sleepover regular. However, only son, very aware of his sisters’ comments on healthy eating, opted for elderflower juice, which is not something I even knew existed when I was 20, let alone eight.
Daughter one was also going out so we were down to just two children. Daughter one was heading out clubbing and said she wouldn’t be back till morning. “The club finishes at 4am and the first train home is at 6am so I can sit in McDonald’s for two hours,” she began. This wasn’t looking as promising as it had first sounded.
“On your own?” I inquired, envisaging her dressed in clubbing gear, possibly the worst for six hours in a club, eating the one thing on the menu which is available for vegans for two hours solid. It didn’t sound the best plan to me, especially since after the long tube ride across London she would need to wait for the bus which doesn’t start till 7am. She is, however, 18 and I’m trying to adapt. My partner seems to be better at it than me.
I was weighing up driving into town at 4am when the club closed. Saturday is theoretically my “lie-in day”. Daughter one and a friend decided to club together for the long cab ride to her friend’s house. Her sisters set about doing her make-up a little overenthusiastically. They ended up with eyeliner messages scribbled all over their faces.
As I was dropping daughter one at the tube I got a text from the sleepover. It was a video of only son doing some intricate dance moves. With just two children, both of them teenagers, it was time for the parents in the house to live it up. By 10.15, however, we had crashed out, me with my mobile under my pillow for reports from clubbing land. At 4.35am I got a text to say daughter one had made it to her friend’s house. By early morning I had another from only son’s best friend’s mum. She sounded like she might have been up very early and needed rescuing. Operation pick-up began.
We got home, stopping at the tube to get I slightly tired daughter one. Daughter two announced that she had three parties lined up. She doesn’t know where they are, when they start or end or any other details apart from the fact that two are “in the London area”…
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of workingmums.co.uk.