I was quite tired at the end of last week. Now, quite tired is my normal state of being at the moment, but last week I had three evening work events so I was more quite tired than average and I didn’t even believe that I would get to Friday at all. Friday seemed like a mirage, glittering in the distance. I also had to work on Saturday so I knew that Friday night was but a brief pause for breath. I had decided that, to celebrate, we would watch Jurassic World on Virgin movies.
Only son was primed. We’d got some salted caramel popcorn ready. The only fly in the ointment was daughter one. She had gone to a friend’s house for a birthday celebration after school. “It’s a sleepover,” she texted around 6pm. We were all down to go to a Festival first thing in the morning so picking her up en route was out of the question. I replied that she’d either have to stay till 6pm the following evening or come home on Friday evening, preferably before 8.30 when I was anticipating falling asleep. She chose the 8.30pm option.
So me, daughter three and the Wham! CD headed out to collect her. Daughter three only came because she likes daughter one’s friend’s house because it is somewhat posher and tidier than ours. On the way back my phone rang. It was daughter two’s friend’s mum. Daughter two had been invited to a party on Saturday night and her friend’s mum wanted to know if she could do a sleepover if we dropped her daughter at the party. Daughter two had said earlier that she wanted to go because her friend lives in a posher, tidier house than ours. I see a pattern emerging.
By the time we got home it was too late for Jurassic World. “Worst day ever,” said only son. Only a couple of hours earlier it had officially been the best day ever. “Every day tends to start well,” I said to him, “and ends up being the worst day ever. It must be pretty disappointing being you.” Unlike D:ream things can most certainly not only get better for only son. I went into daughter two’s room. It was covered in suspicious red and black blobs. Daughter two has got heavily into dyeing clothes in recent weeks. I admit that I knew about this, but had taken my eye slighty off the ball because only son has been busy painting downstairs.
Saturday dawned and no-one wanted to get up, particularly the adults. “You’ve got half an hour to get dressed,” I said to daughter one. “That is way too little time. I’m going back to sleep,” said daughter one. We went to the Festival and got back just in time for daughter two to change for her party and then headed out again. The party was in a nightclub in Brentwood. Daughter two is 12 and is more interested in creating explosions and decorating her room than TOWIE-style nightclubs.
When I got home it was X Factor. No time for Jurassic World again. Only son had, however, already announced it was the worst day ever several hours earlier. “Daughter two was in Sainsbury’s with me and dad and she made me put back the Match Attack sticker book back because dad was leaving so now I have NOWHERE to put my Match Attack stickers. Worst day EVER,” he had sobbed. Only son has been collecting and swapping Match Attack and other cards [“I’ve got the Golden Mongo, mum. Best day ever”] and has been going on about a sticker book for weeks, but we don’t have a Sainsbury’s near our house. Brentwood, however, has a Sainsbury’s, just by the nightclub and I had stopped to buy him a starter pack. He was beside himself with joy and completely forgot about Jurassic World.
At midnight daughter two texted to say her phone needed topping up, that she had spent all night in the toilet with her friend because she didn’t like the music at the nightclub and could I pick her up at 11am. Daughter one said that she needed to go charity shopping at 11.30am and could I drop her at the tube. Daughter three promptly announced that when she was at secondary school she would never go out.
I foresee that every weekend for the next 10 years is going to be spent on the backroads of Essex and North London.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.