Triple whammy

I’ve been trying to cut down on any Christmas-related commitments this year. Mainly because I’m knackered [a triple whammy of the cough from hell, the September-December work marathon and the ongoing effects of the menopause – when does it actually finish or is this it for ever?], but also because it is daughter one’s 18th birthday this week. Eighteen! Where did that time go? I feel we should mark it in some exciting way, but daughter one is very philosophical and, as a philosophical person, she finds it hard to make any decisions of any kind. I have been asking her since September what she wants to do and so far she has not come up with one thing. So I have put only son on the case, although he hates going anywhere at all.

Despite my pledge to cut down on Christmas commitments, there are some things that can’t be got out of. So we are doing mini pizzas for only son’s class party and I have had to forge his signature on at least 20 cards because he got bored after the first 10. This was mainly because he chose to write a message on each of them rather than just signing them. Only son has been busy choreographing a series of dances to the dulcet tunes of Geometry Dash. They are very energetic and it is quite exhausting just watching them.

Daughter three has, of course, developed a ten-point Christmas plan and is working her way through it. Daughter two has been doing something suspicious in her room with pots of paint and daughter one has mock exams in January. This, in part, explains her lack of commitment to her birthday preparations. She has, however, created a mood board of “looks” she likes. They all seem to date back to the 1970s which makes them difficult to track any one of them down.

By this point, with just one week to go, you imagine you are on the home straight to Christmas, but there are still lots of logistics to sort out. My partner has a long distance review to do on Monday and daughter one has a detention; on Tuesday I have an unexpected work event to attend on which there is, as yet, no time limit and daughter one has an English presentation after school which has, as yet, no end time; and on Wednesday the office Christmas party coincides with early closure at school and daughter one’s birthday. I have had to call in several pre-Christmas favours and bribe several children just for the Tuesday. By Thursday, however, all young people will be off and the real countdown to Christmas will begin.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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