Two days into the school summer holidays, and my nerves are in tatters already…
I’ve been fretting for weeks about how exactly I am going to carry on at the commercial coalface whilst the Word Up Wean is mumping, moaning, and generally getting under my feet whilst school’s out for summer.
See, I’m not one of those lucky sods who can take a few weeks off to kick back and enjoy the long, lazy days of summer. This particular one-woman enterprise needs to carry on earning a crust and keeping the customer satisfied whether or not the pesky offspring is home or away. And this year is worse than ever.
Look, I know this is very disloyal and un-Glaswegian, and will not exactly bowl you over with Corinthian spirit, but the Commonwealth Games have already turned the summer into a giant pinprick in the patriotic positivity. I mean, come on! Combining school holidays and the running of a small business is complicated enough without half the city grinding to a halt in the name of running, jumping and throwing.
This summer there ain’t no win-win for me – it simply can’t be business as usual. Not when the local kids’ services I usually rely on have been kiboshed by the hoopla of the Games. So, if I am doing more than my fair share of mumping and moaning about this summer’s whole new range of childcare challenges, it’s with good reason.
I actually do want to spend some time with my child, so yes, there is time set aside for a bit of mum and son fun. I don’t even mind if he’s bored rigid from time to time (never did us any harm etc etc). But I also need to keep working, and to keep working I can’t have him hanging around, not all the time anyway. So without the usual range of affordable, local summer services for kids, I’ve had to devise a childcare calendar that is as convoluted as an espionage strategy drawn up in the corridors of power at the Kremlin.
Our very own summer survival strategy is colour coded, mapped, and timed to within an inch of its life. It has the name, rank and emergency number of the many babysitting agents involved in its implementation inscribed upon it in indelible ink. Vast amounts of not-very-disposable income have been lavished upon it. And yet, despite the labyrinthine efforts expended, whether or not we can actually get to any of these childcare compromises when the Games traffic disruption really kicks in remains to be seen.
And even if we do arrive at the right destination, on the right day and at the right time, there’s a certain inevitability just waiting to unfold.
I can see it all now – I’ll be the one huddled under a tree in the park while the drizzle descends. Or sat in the corner of a smelly, freezing gym hall, clutching my laptop and a packet of limp sarnies, trying to bash off a client’s work during a two hour Word Up window with no wifi and an intermittent phone signal.
In the meantime, the Word Up Wean will be making hay while the sun shines…