Do you think tv is more important than childcare, mum?

The hour is going back so you are going to get an extra hour in bed this weekend, trumpeted the tv. It failed to consult with only son. Only son woke up extra early on Sunday and if you subtracted the one hour then it was almost pre-dawn. It didn’t help that the teens failed to go to bed till midnight or so and then my partner wanted to have a detailed discussion about the Catalan situation.

I’d taken only son for a walk and to the shops earlier in the day and we’d read a book together and done some exercises. We were playing dice quietly while X Factor was on. Only son is not a fan of X Factor. The teens had disappeared – daughter one was recovering from a few nights out and daughter two had been readying for a rare party until she found out she’d got the wrong day – and so it was just my mum and daughter three slumped in from of the tv. Only son decided he wanted to play a balloon game. “You’re in the way,” said daughter three. Only son is a bag of energy and found it impossible to sit still. “Can you just sit still for 10 minutes and play dice because it’s been a long day and I want to just watch a bit of tv?” I asked, possibly sounding slightly stressed.

“Well, mum. If you feel that tv is more important than childcare I think that says a lot,” said only son. Hmm. I have clearly taught him to argue his corner too well. I advised him that his father had not done any “childcare” all day so maybe he could ask him. He returned from the kitchen, where his father was glued to Catalan radio. “Dad says he is a bad parent,” he sobbed and ran off to bed. I headed up after him. “I don’t want either of you to be a bad parent,” he said. “I love you both.”

I assured him that neither of us was trying to be a bad parent and that he should come downstairs. He complained of itchy feet. I promised him a foot massage. Only son decided he wanted to do a drawing while I did the massage and drew hearts and a sun and sea. “Dear mum and dad, I don’t think you are bad parents and I love you both,” he wrote. “PS but I do hate daughter two.” Daughter two had got in on the massage and was slightly overdoing it, as she does.

Shortly afterwards he was so relaxed that he decided to go to bed. Only son needs no more than seven hours or so to recharge so he was super refreshed in the early hours of the next morning and raring to go.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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