Working Mum: One mum gets lucky, another picks up the pieces
By Tabitha Ronson
I'm always happy to step in to help a fellow working mum.
Last week, Master A and his classmates had a half day. On the way to school I received a frantic call from one of the mums (the one embroiled in an acrimonious split).
Childcare plans fallen through; she was desperate for someone to have Arthur for the afternoon.
Now Arthur isn't one of Master A's favourite classmates but, knowing how challenging it is keeping the plates spinning, I didn't have the heart to say no.
Master A groaned when I told him. "Do we have to?" "Yes!"
Despite the original protestations, the afternoon turned out to be rather pleasant: a trip to Pizza Express followed by a screening of the new movie Frozen (Disney back to its magical best).
And, boys being boys, they rubbed along pretty nicely.
En route back to our house, I received another call from the mum. Something had come up and she wouldn't normally ask but she wondered if Arthur could stay with us for a sleepover.
It wasn't really convenient as I had a house load of guests arriving the next day and needed to blitz the house but, again, I couldn't say no. I agreed but asked her to collect Arthur by 10am the next day, explaining about our plans.
As I had feared the boys, like a mini tornado ripping through the house, left a trail of debris in their wake. When they eventually went to sleep (threats of Santa Claus not visiting fell on deaf, over-tired, ears), I worked until 2am to get the house halfway respectable for our guests.
Arthur was fed, dressed and waiting for collection by 9.30am. At 11.50am (almost two hours late) the mum, looking slightly worse for wear, rocked up.
I asked her how the day before had gone, referring to her hectic working schedule.
Forgetting her "poor-me" story, she filled me in with details of her evening's date with a guy she had met through the Telegraph dating site.
Apparently, it was a third date, and, yes, he did get lucky.
"I didn't want to pull myself away from him at breakfast."
Working Mum, feeling ever so slightly chumpish.