Maternal mental health problems are very prevalent, yet few employers mention them in...read more
Every parent has those weeks when lots of bad things happen simultaneously and you just have to get through them.
Every day can be a challenge for working parents, but some weeks are worse than others – although in the current scheme of things when everything is challenging for everyone, and some much more than others, maybe they are not that bad. Bad parenting weeks usually involve sickness, transport issues, childcare breakdown, lateness, the weather, money, technology-related problems or a combination of all of these factors. This week in our house everything seemed to go off at once. First, only son was sick – more than the normal sick for him. He had a very high temperature for days and slept most of the time. I kept waking him up to check his temperature because I was worried he had Strep A.
Then it snowed – a lot. The school was closed on Monday. Everyone in our house rejoiced, but it meant an important meeting I had had to be rearranged. A whole day on Zoom – hooray. For some reason Zoom audio doesn’t work on my computer so I had to do it on my phone. Throughout the day messages were popping up. The venue for daughter one’s birthday party [she would be 23] had been cancelled with a week to go. Only son’s form teacher was worried about his attendance rate which is well below 95.6% or whatever it has to be and his lateness [due to having to wait for his sister to get in the car every morning]. “Interventions” would have to be made. It sounded ominous. I lectured daughter three about the need to not just wake up at 6.45, but to actually move before 7.30 which is her normal pattern, however much I go in and nag her.
In a break in the whole-day meeting I tried to rearrange a venue and rang my mum. She groaned down the phone. “I have Covid,” she said. “I feel grim.” My mum lives on her own about an hour’s drive from our house. Nothing was moving in our road. I checked on her all through the day. She seemed to have got no worse and was just resting. It turned out that a family birthday party we both went to at the weekend may have been a super spreader event. I did a Covid test. Negative. For now. Or was it a false positive? Why is there never enough of the liquid in the tubes or is it because the tests we have are the old ones from school and it has all dried up? Note to self: maybe I need to get another one if I start feeling dodgy.
The next day the school was open. I scraped the car and got frostbite as I can’t find my gloves and am holding out for Santa to give me some for Christmas. I messaged my mum all day. There was no update on an alternative venue for the party. I had bought my partner and daughter tickets for The Cure for his birthday. It was in Wembley and the trains were on strike. However, the tube was working, although with ‘severe delays’. They headed out. I said I’d wait up in case they got stranded somewhere on the central line and I needed to pick them up. My partner may have mentioned that he had no front door key.
Only son decided to sleep in our room because he was still not 100%. He took my spot and I put a mattress on the floor for me and checked my phone. ‘On the tube, coming back,’ my partner texted. It is at this point that I must have drifted off, having been up since 5am after a nightmare woke me up [we’re all on edge due to the anniversary season for daughter one]. It transpired that I had put my phone on silent at some point. My partner and daughter three got stuck at a station for over an hour. Daughter three started feeling ill [Covid?]. They got back at 2am, having rung me 10 times. The only good thing is that I apparently left the front door unlocked so they were able to walk right in.
The next morning my partner had a work visit. He was not in the best mood. He scraped his car and only son got in. I was going to take daughter three later and do my meeting somewhere outside the school car park. The only trouble was his car got stuck halfway up our road. We all pitched in, but it would only go backwards, not forwards so we had to dump it and my partner took my car. Only son was inevitably late again, but at least he didn’t lower his attendance percentage. My partner had to come back to get daughter three then go to his meeting. The local meeting I had at midday was rearranged to be even more local.
The good news was that, even had I not put my phone on mute, I wouldn’t have been able to pick my partner and daughter three up and would have got stuck halfway up our road in his car. I rang my mum. She was still feeling awful. Her neighbour had posted some extra paracetamol through her door and left some soup. She was getting a Tesco delivery on Thursday. I got a message that an alternative venue had been found for the party. I just had to let everyone know. Every morning we have waved hallo to my partner’s poor forlorn [and clapped out] car at the top of the road. One day soon all the snow will be gone and it can come home.
The clear moral of this story is that I must give up on Santa and invest in some gloves.