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We are a three-adult household. Daughter one is now 18. We took her out for a vegan curry to celebrate. The only problem was that only son found it all a bit spicy. He has yet to come to terms with toothpaste. Every time he brushes his teeth he complains of its spicyness and has to rinse immediately. It’s been at least six years and he has not come to terms with toothpaste yet – even the baby toothpaste was problematic. So he was struggling with the curry and filled himself up with chapatis, rice and fizzy drink and spent half the evening going in and out of the toilets.
I am hoping that in a few months daughter one will not just be an adult, but will have finally passed her driving test. I’ve been asking when the lessons might end. “My driving instructor says I am an advanced student,” said daughter one proudly the other day. “How many more lessons does than mean?” I asked, cutting to the quick. Driving lessons are not cheap. I’m a little bit impatient because being able to drive will be a milestone. On the one hand I will be even more anxious about her when she is out, but on the other she will be able to pick up only son from school in extreme situations. Tuesday was just such an occasion.
I was due to be in work for an afternoon meeting, but there had been very little warning so it was a challenge to cobble together a pick-up rota. The fact that it was the week before Christmas made it slightly more complicated. My mum was busy, friends who were around were rushing here, there and everywhere and my partner has an emergency at work to deal with plus his office Christmas party. I managed to get a plan of action in place. Only son was going to go to his ex best friend’s house. Daughter one was doing a presentation at school with no known end time, but she could meet up with her sisters and taken them on the train and tube home. I just had to supply the cash.
The night before everything changed – the meeting moved to the morning and it looked as if, with a prevailing wind and no traffic incidents, I would be able to get back to do pick-ups. I cancelled the previous plan. Unfortunately, things did not go to plan and the people I was meeting were delayed by around two hours. I was stuck in a cold, 16th century building doing logistics with my phone battery fading by the minute.
After various attempts, I contacted only son’s ex best friend’s dad who very kindly agreed to have him. The school needed to be informed. That just left the secondary school team who had no cash to get the train and tube. I texted. No response. I rang. Nada. I suggested that they walk round and round the local co-op very slowly until I arrived. It started to look as if my return would be even more delayed. I rang my partner. He was at the office Christmas party. “I’m not going to get there till at least 4.30,” I said. He sounded a bit grumpy. The Christmas lunch had been delayed and he hadn’t had hardly anything to eat. I was slightly sympathetic. I had been sitting in a cold, dark building for hours and had had no lunch at all. “I’m on my way,” he said.
I left around 3.30 and headed for only son down the motorway with the window open due to the faulty heating in the car. I arrived slightly colder than when I left, but I had made it. Every day throws up a new logistics challenge. At least it means it is never boring.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.