One of the most difficult things about having to travel for work as a parent, is how to manage the children in your absence. Travelling for work without the children is never easy to arrange. It is not always harder to deal with when you are a single parent, because very often both parents work and it is still a massive juggling act, but on this particular occasion my usual support system went a little bit awry. My mother had already more than done her duty a few weeks before when I had to go to a travel conference in Berlin and other friends and family were busy.
So what to do?
Finally, in desperation, against every maternal instinct in my body I decided to rope my firstborn son in to look after my last born son. He drove back from university with the enticement of payment (always works) and looked after him on the Saturday night that I was away in Athens. We had several phone conversations regarding instructions that went a bit like this:-
Me: Bla bla bla and don’t forget bla bla bla
Him: Yes mum.
Me: Bla bla bla get him to bla bla by 7.30pm
Him: Yes mum.
Me: and can you PLEEEASE remember to bla bla bla
Him: OKAAAYYY! Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. I’ve got to go, soz
So I get the inevitable texts asking me where, what, who and why because he wasn’t listening, but generally it all worked out pretty well. My daughter was also staying at home, which obviously meant there was the potential for an enormous, disastrous house party. But, at some point or other you have to trust your children – two of them are old enough to look after themselves but I still feel anxious – it helps if you also broker a deal whereby the money doesn’t get paid if they behave badly (mostly works).
So. I texted my 13 year old on Saturday evening to ask how everything was going. Here is our text correspondence….guess I can’t really complain – they were all still alive and fed and watered on my return – the house was still standing, the cats weren’t dead, unlike the houseplants and the contents of the fridge, but oh well, at least they were happy so all good! (I guess):-