School marathon

The school run in our family is more of a school marathon, given it is an hour-long three-school experience – at least when it comes to pick-up. Daughter two who is at the furthest school goes with my partner in the morning. But on Friday my partner was away so we had the full marathon at both ends of the day.



Only son had prepared. He brought a blanket, a teddy bear, a change of clothes and shoes, a snack and entertainment to see himself through. Unfortunately, this is only possible in the passenger seat. The driver had no such luxuries. There’s nothing to wake you up in the morning like three drop-offs against the clock. We were running slightly late too because someone informed me that the nit spray I had squirted all over only son’s hair the night before after a class email had been replaced by water, necessitating an emergency shampoo session.

Having got through a week of logistics, we faced a weekend of logistics. On Saturday, daughter one was working, daughter two was going to a party and the rest of us were heading to my mum’s. Daughter two has gone from recluse to party animal in the space of a couple of weeks.

She now seems to have a party every weekend, usually in distant places. “I need to get to RM2 by 7pm,” she said. “Where is that?” I asked. She hadn’t got a clue. We looked it up. Romford. I’ve got lost in Romford several times; it’s not a small place. “I’ll get a train there and then walk,” said daughter two. “Do you have any idea if the party is actually near the station?” I replied. Daughter two had not considered this possibility…

In the end she agreed to go with a group of people who knew the location of the party and to stay with a friend who lived nearby afterwards. She was under strict instructions to text me at every stage in the journey and to ensure her phone was not on airplane mode.

I left loads of food for the cats, battoned down the upstairs section of the house so they couldn’t get into it, dropped daughter two, picked up daughter one and headed to my mum’s. Only son had packed for a month. There were around 20 DVDs in his bag and 10 Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.

Daughter two pinged that she was “with the gals”.  Later in the evening there was a message to say she had got to her friend’s house. The friend was called Maria. Daughter two has a made-up older sister called Maria [apparently three siblings is not enough].

It made me slightly nervous about whether the Maria she was staying with was equally fictitious. “Great party,” said her message. The next morning I asked if she was up. “I’m up,” came a message at 10.15. “What are you doing?” I asked, checking when I needed to pick her up. “I’m texting you” came the reply. Hmm.

We got back home to find the house was still standing and no furniture had been trashed by the cats. So far so good. Daughter two was on her way back. My partner was somewhere near Calais. I cast a look at the calendar to check out logistics for the week ahead. It’s anti-bullying week and only son has to go in in odd socks.

Apparently, this is to show that children are all different and should not be bullied because of it. The good news is that every pair of socks only son has is an odd one…

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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