It’s that time of year again. The evenings are hot and light and no-one is going to sleep, certainly not last night, even those who have the misfortune to have GCSE mocks – and the summer holidays are looming fast. Only son counts the days down every morning, which reminds me to come up with a plan. I was anticipating that daughter one might offer to babysit, but she is hoping to have a full-time job by then and to be saving up to travel the world. The teenagers won’t be up till lunchtime in any event. All but daughter three missed the school fete on Sunday due to excess tiredness brought on by watching Love Island 2016.
Daughter three helped me out on the treasure map stand while my partner and only son went for burgers and toured the stalls. Only son was hiding from dance club who were doing a display. He is now refusing point blank to go to dance club. Only son has grown up dominated by women and knows probably more than he should about period pain, tampons, eyebrow contouring and the like. He has lived and relived the Eurovision song contest a million times. He has been told in no uncertain terms that he must never disrespect women. His sisters are seeing to it that he is brought up a feminist, but even so it is hard to be one of only two boys in the dance club when the year 5 boys are teasing you…He’s also slightly worried that he might be beginning puberty early. “Don’t tell the sisters, mum,” he whispered to me the other day, “but I think I am growing body hair.”
Being among teenagers who spend a lot of time lounging around and barely muster the energy to move from the bed to the sofa, only son has had to be quite self sufficient. This has made him fairly inventive. He was out on the trampoline the other day. I glanced over and saw that he was holding the hose in one hand, kicking a football with one foot, bouncing away with his swimming goggles on having the time of his life. Back in the day daughters three and two would have been out there with him, doing a synchronised swimming routine in the paddling pool. Now they are either revising, watching Love Island or sleeping. Daughter two has based her entire French revision on the Eurovision song contest.
My partner has been relegated to the bedroom to watch the World Cup, although there was a brief respite for the Colombia match. Generally, though, the teenagers have taken over the house and I fear I have become way too invested in whether Dani and Jack win Love Island.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.