Hopeless mothering moments

The son is heading off on a 20km trek. Three weeks ago, we got a letter with the essential kit, which didn’t come to the top of my volcano of priorities until the end of last week, leaving a mere five days to find the compromise between the ‘nooooooo’ trainers which will enable the son to walk 20km without his feet rubbing up a storm and the must-have plimsolls with all the foot support factor of a Ryvita. This resulted in an Addams Family ding-dong in the shop in front of a bored assistant who would rather have been texting ‘KK’ to her friends or pulling blowfish faces on FaceTime than trying to help the mother with nine and half minutes left on the parking ticket corral the ‘whatever’ son into a suitable pair of shoes. Six more precious minutes tick by while the son carries on arguing that he won’t get anything, he’ll wear his ‘pastries’, which, in turn, inflames me further as I have no idea what ‘pastries’ are and can only imagine that something with lard as an ingredient is not going to be the pinnacle of sporting support.

With approximately thirty seconds to go until the traffic warden appears, the son – with the most hard done by face in the world – agrees to the most expensive trainers in the world in such a sulky manner that it is tempting to enjoy my own tiny moment of tantrum by refusing to buy anything at all and make him spend the day doing Latin translation, rather than walking with his friends. Manage to be marginally more grown up than the thirteen-year-old. Until we get to the till. Which isn’t working.

The manager slumps out from the stock room, prods a couple of buttons and disappears off to count insoles without bothering to wait to see if the till has actually come back to life. Which it hasn’t. Car park ticket overdue. Calculate the cost of car parking fine, plus the cost of trainers that the son doesn’t even want, versus the hideousness of walking out and having to go through the whole thing again. Leave, resolving that if this sports shop is the last sports shop on the planet, we will trek on bits of old tyres tied on with string rather than darken its door again. Hiss at son. (Still feel a bit hissy by the time we have to repeat the performance a couple of days later but owing to the shop assistant being young, trendy and interested, all is accomplished with minimal teeth marks.)

In the meantime, we need to make Saturn. With guilt in my heart, I decide that sports day (all day affair), plus end of term concert (last time my ability to turf children out with polished shoes will come under scrutiny – hurrah!), plus French Day (let me just grow some garlic, paint some stripes on a T-shirt and find a beret) equals no time for papier mache and just enough seconds to order a polystyrene ball from Amazon that we can paint. Except the polystyrene ball didn’t arrive until the day after it was required so we had to do papier mache in a big rush the night before, but without any of the things we needed…

So if any mother out there is reading this and feeling smug…please don’t leave a comment. On the other hand, if you need to knock up Mars or Jupiter…I’ve got a pristine polystyrene ball looking for a new home…

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