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Valentine’s Day loomed yesterday. Because it is half term I have only glimpsed my partner in passing as he comes home and I clock on for the night shift, catching up on work. I’ve also been ill all weekend, which meant I conked out for most of Sunday afternoon and only roused myself to do dinner and bedtime, falling asleep cuddling up only son and stumbling my way to bed at around 2am.
It’s not been the most romantic of starts to the week, but only son presented me with a big card yesterday which proclaimed his “great love” for me. “Valentine’s day is all about love and forgiveness,” he said. “Why forgiveness?” I inquired. “Do you feel there are lots of bad things I do that I need forgiveness for?” Only son paused for just a second or two. “Well, you do sometimes get cross with me, but that’s ok because I do love you and I forgive you.”
Oh dear. I am a really bad mother and generally awful person. The trouble is he will try to interrupt me endlessly about Minecraft or some such or proffer a snowflake that he has made when I am in the middle of trying to come to terms with some complicated email someone has insisted on sending at 5.59pm on a Friday night.
Daughter three loathes Valentine’s Day with a passion perhaps equal to love itself and does all in her power to avoid it. Daughter two couldn’t care less and would rather watch a zombie killer film. Daughter one was in town with her friends and only son topped off his card with a series of snowflakes, to add to a growing pile by my desk.
Daughter three had decided to organise a late afternoon trip to a trampolining place. It was all going well. We had booked ahead and everything. We were on schedule. “Uh oh. There’s some small print here, mum. It says we have to get there half an hour before for safety training or we will lose our money,” said daughter three. People were barely dressed and the remote control had gone missing so the tv, which had been doing overtime on Minecraft duties, was unturnoffable. Ping! A text from daughter one. “On the tube. Can you pick me up in 15 minutes?”
By the law of physics I could not be in two places at the same time and trampolining was calling. Naturally, we got stuck behind a slow-moving truck stacked with roofing material and arrived three minutes late. I confess that I got slightly stressed because my whole life seems to be the equivalent of being stuck in traffic behind a slow-moving truck, running perpetually late. It seemed almost pointless to go in, but when we did no-one batted an eyelid. The safety training, far from being a strict 30-minute affair, simply involved a video on the wall in the changing room. Everyone bounced themselves silly and we headed home. I could see a romantic evening beckoning of catching up with work and asking only son’s forgiveness for whatever string of expletives I fired at the slow-moving truck.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.