Social outcasts



“I’ve literally got zero friends,” said only son the other day. He is in a transitional phase, moving over towards the footballing crowd, but he’s about two years behind so everyone has already got friends. He has been trying to invite one boy around to play x-box with him, but he already has a group of friends and apparently he’s played all the x-box games we have. Oh dear. I commiserated with only son who said that on no-ball Wednesdays [the school bans football on a Wednesday for some reason] he has been reduced to wandering the playground on his own.

Daughter one is constantly complaining of not many friends and daughter three has had a bad week with one friend refusing to speak to her for no fathomable reason. Daughter two has one friend who she has converted into a George Michael megafan. “We have to face up to the fact that we are social outcasts,” I said to the gang, adding for good measure that I have very few friends due to never having any time to see them. We went to a friend’s house this weekend. I hadn’t seen her for two years.

The good news is that we have each other. Having a big family means that there is always someone to talk to, even when you don’t want to. Daughters one, two and three have a great time on the school run, dissecting in detail every teacher they have in common and other school activities. Daughter one announced the other day that she is not only doing the school magazine [she is fashion correspondent and interviewer apparently], but also is a lynchpin of the debate society [first debate – “why everyone needs to be vegan, mum”. I have backslided on my commitment to soya milk of late…]. Daughter two is playing Tybalt in a drama thing in which she has to die. Daughter two is always lying around the house in dramatic poses so this should be a walk in the park for her. Daughter three is getting into art, despite the overhanging shadow of daughter one’s GCSE art experience [she had six weeks to do the entire syllabus due to missing classes].

Daughters one, two and three also have a great time together singing and dancing to the Eurovision CD [still…]. Only son is also a big fan, particularly of the Ukrainian entry. He will only put on the winning Portuguese entry if he is feeling very benevolent towards daughter one, which he often is because daughter one adores him. Almost as much as the cat.

So who needs a social life anyway? I’m sure it will come in due course and, honed by constant exposure to irony and philosophy [daughter one], melodrama [daughter two], hormonal strops [daughter three] and feistiness [only son], they will have all the skills they need.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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