Teenage-dom is a tricky time. People’s emotions are slightly on the edge. We’ve had a few meltdowns this weekend and it’s catching. Only son threw a wobbly in the middle of Lakeside on Saturday. It’s very hard to keep four different people happy. We had been to Primark, ostensibly to get only son some winter clothes. Only son has always hated trousers because they are “cold”. We have, up to now, substituted leggings. I took him to the leggings section and he admired some Christmassy-looking leggings. “The problem is, mum, they are in the girls section,” he said.
Oh dear. I have hidden this fact from him in the past. In the end we found some tracksuit bottoms that were “warm” and soft. Only son also took a bit of a shine to a blue jacket. We went to find his sisters who were in the sales section. Daughter two had found something in the sales. Daughter two hates spending any money. In an alternative world she would be a monk – a very dramatic monk. So I encouraged her to try on the jacket. Daughter three has become heavily into clothes since hitting secondary school. She emerged from the clothes racks with three items.
We went to the changing room, only son with his jacket and trousers. Daughter two decided she couldn’t justify spending three pounds on the top. Only son loved his outfit and daughter three decided she wanted at least two of her things. I had not intended to buy stuff for daughter three who has quite a lot of clothes. I told her to choose one thing. She decided to choose neither and went into hostile silent mode.
We queued up. I decided that it would be a good move to ask only son to choose between his two items too, just to be fair and because only son has quite a lot of jackets [his sister’s old ones mainly]. Only son went into a strop. Oh dear, this was not going well. We went to Boots. I had a little chat with only son about saving up for Christmas and budgeting. Only son found a corner in Boots and stood in it looking upset and refusing to move. “We need to go,” I said. “I can’t go,” he said. “I feel so ashamed. I am not worthy to be your son.” You what? I gave him a hug and told him he was definitely worthy.
Eventually we got to the car and headed home with some One Direction and everyone cheered up. Daughter one had stayed behind after a sleepover. She was feeling a little delicate and hormonal…
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.