Policy is failing to recognise or meet the needs of working mums during the COVID-19...read more
Every week it seems a little bit more difficult to get to Friday. Last week seemed long, possibly because the days have suddenly, almost overnight, become shorter and more wintry.
I’ve been sitting wrapped in a blanket to work. Midweek the ‘a’ key flew off my computer so I am now typing with the stub because I’m worried that if I stick it back on with superglue the whole thing will gum up. By mid-Friday evening, I collapsed on the sofa and was forced to watch the Kardashians.
I get a bit confused about the Kardashians because the episodes the kids watch don’t seem to go in any chronological order so one minute Kim is pregnant and the next she’s meeting Kanye for the first time. My brain starts to phase out round about when Kim is complaining about her privacy being invaded when she appears to be constantly followed around by a tv crew.
I woke up a bit later and daughter three told me it was midnight and I’d missed dinner. In fact it was 9.15 and only son, for one, was still very much awake. “I need to pack for our holidays,” he said. “We’re going to the Bell Hotel.” Only son is a bit confused about the holidays. The word holidays conjures up visions of the two-day journey to Spain and so when I mentioned that it was half-term holidays coming up he immediately took avoiding action. He has chosen the nearest hotel possible for our next trip – it’s basically five minutes away – and he’s been packing for the last two weeks. “We don’t have to go anywhere because it’s the holidays,” I told him. “We’re actually staying at home because mummy and daddy have to work.” It did not deter him. Semi-awake I had to get his dinosaur book from his suitcase and tell him about velociraptors to get him to sleep.
You’d think that going to bed late would mean he would get up late on the Saturday, my lie-in day, but no. “I love you SOOOO much,” he whispered at 7.45am. “Let’s go downstairs now.”
He was most disappointed that it was my partner’s turn to get up. I fell back asleep and dreamed of sleeping before being pounced on around 9.45am. “I love you sooooo much, mum,” said a small, but enthusiastic voice. “I love everything about you. I love your right cheek and your left cheek and your nose. You are beautiful all the time and your voice is beautiful, even when it is not working.”
He wriggled for a few seconds. “I don’t want you to die. I don’t want anyone in my family or anyone in my school or anyone I know to die.”
Oh dear. He’s turned five and this has been the year when every one of my children have started contemplating death. The death talk with daughter one didn’t go too well. It virtually ended in a mutual suicide pact. I’m not sure I have got better at it over time. Only son, though, didn’t seem to dwell on the subject. He was already onto talking about the Octonauts and trigger fish before I could muster the mental powers to respond.
I decided it was definitely time for me to get up. Fortunately, to counter such undying declarations of love I have a teenager and she was already up. “Did you have a good sleep?” I asked. “Nothing in my life is good,” came the reply. “Why do you journalists have to ask so many questions?”
Daughter two, who adores Christmas and spends much of November counting down till the Christmas movie channel starts, put on Mariah Carey. Everyone, bar my partner and daughter one, got up to dance and sing. “I don’t want a lot for Christmas…” Only son was squealing.
“I’m going to Camden,” said my partner, unimpressed. He was still saying it after George Michael started trilling “Last Christmas”. He wanted to go; he was just too tired to actually get out the door. “It’s Monday soon,” he said gloomily. That’s the problem with the weekend. You spend all week trying to get to it and then as soon as it arrives, you realise you’ve got to do it all again in just a few hours.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.