Working Mum: When will I be Mary Poppins?
By Tabitha Ronson
Master A and I were stuck in a three-hour traffic jam on the school run. Not the perfect start to the day but one I could do absolutely nothing about.
According to unconfirmed reports the tailback was due to somebody finding themselves in the path of an oncoming juggernaut.
Whether this tragedy was planned - as was heavily rumoured - or a plain old accident, it was a sobering thought about the proximity of crisis. A sobering thought that drew my attention to my own readiness.
Normally, if I were planning a three-hour road trip with Master A, I would be prepared. DVD player, with several film changes; iPad pre-loaded with new games, armfuls of colouring books and pencils and a basket full of mouth-watering comestibles.
As we set out on our normal daily routine, a 20-minute drive to the school gate, we were not expecting to encounter a three-hour engine-off lock-down. We were most definitely not prepared.
Panic set in. If forced too, how long could we actually survive in the car? Over the past few days, with the arrival of Arctic conditions, there have been enough warnings via the news, the internet, motorway signs, about being prepared when travelling.
Where was our blanket, thermos, water, dried food bars, multi-purpose knife, torch and air-activated hand warmers...?
A half-eaten pack of Airwaves Menthol and Eucalyptus gum and an out-of-date Boots double bonus points voucher were all I unearthed after a hasty root around the glove compartment.
I'm not a novice; I've been a mum now for five years. I don't understand why I don't still think like one.
When will I have that Mary Poppins moment, when I open my bag and can lay my hands on exactly the right object, to suit the circumstance?
It doesn't come with age (I came to motherhood late) and it's not looking like it comes with experience. Is motherhood something you are born being good at or is it something you can nurture?
Working Mum, deciding to take a different route to work tomorrow - I could really to without the additional angst.