“What time do we have to be at your dad’s house?” asked my partner on Saturday, who, in an ideal world, would like to be ultra-punctual. Unfortunately, we have four children and are constantly running three minutes [or slightly more] late for family events. It is now well known in my family that a text saying “on the M25” means we have just left home. It’s not that we are trying to be late, but Saturday was a case in point.
We were due to leave around 12-ish. Everything was going fine till 11. I’d put the washing in, everyone was up and had had breakfast. Then I slightly lost focus by checking work emails and ordering some school skirts on e-Bay. It would have been okay if they were not for the secondary school people. That means a lot of checking out different styles of navy pleated skirts. You’d think there wouldn’t be too many. You would be wrong.
Daughter one insisted she would like a pinafore. We checked the school uniform list. “It’s not on the list,” I said. “It’s not not on the list,” said daughter one. “I could cover it up with the shirt and jumper and then get into English and take it off and ba bam.” Yes, and shortly afterwards I would get a letter saying pinafores are banned and we’d have to get a skirt. Daughter one insisted she needed a shower. Daughter one does not do brief showers, despite saying that she does. There are lots of potions and things involved. She disappeared upstairs.
Everyone else got dressed and was ready. We waited. I heard some noise from upstairs and daughter one rushed past me. My partner came down saying she had shouted something not very positive at him and needed to apologise. Daughter one had locked herself in the toilet and could be heard sobbing. “I’m not coming,” she said, the subtext being ‘everyone hates me’. Daughter one is in her mid-teens when emotions run high and are sometimes uncontrolled. I managed to talk her into opening the door. It emerged that she had been in the shower when daughter two – who else? – had broken down the bathroom door. Daughter two insisted that she had not meant to break down the door and had merely bumped it with her bottom and the lock had fallen off because she was tired of waiting for daughter one to come out. Daughter one calmed down and agreed to get dressed.
The washing machine finished. I fixed the bathroom lock after taking 10 minutes to find a screwdriver because my partner has created a new secret system which means all the DIY stuff is in a Quality Street tin on the top of the kitchen cupboards. Half the team got in the car. I hung out the washing fast. Daughter three came in and screamed. A wasp was in the house. I went on a wasp trail. Only son needed the toilet and was complaining that he no longer wants to wear dark blue shorts, only light blue. His actual words were: “I am not going to wear dark shorts ever. No way, Jose.” ‘No way, Jose’ had become something of a catchphrase recently and he wanders around Tesco shouting it and singing the entire Phineas and Ferb theme song, with all the words and a pretty good American accent. We had a short conversation and why navy blue is a great colour. Everyone got back in the car bar daughter one.
Daughter one emerged looking very stylish. We got in the car. It was 12.40. We were just pulling out when daughter three said she had forgotten to bring shoes. What? I got her some sandals and we headed off. I texted my brother. “Just on the M25”.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk. Picture credit: “Showerhead”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.