Youngest wrestles with her work/life balance

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Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

Youngest is on exam leave but has a new part-time job and it’s playing havoc with her routine. I’m at work when she phones. Sounds like she’s vertical, unlike yesterday when she was revising and sounded horizontal. (Yes, kids, we can tell. Not a great superpower, but useful.) And panicky.

“Mum, have you got the car?”


“Is Eldest about?”

“Probably. Why?”

“He can drive me.”

“Not passed his test yet.”

“Oh. I’ve just realised I’m working today and I’ve got five minutes to get the bus and I won’t make it. I’m going to be late.”

“Sorry, nothing I can do.”

“It’s HARD getting up so early. And going out to work.”

“Isn’t it?” It’s actually mid-day, but as Eldest likes to say, why poke an angry bear? And I’ve sworn off sarcasm and irony around offspring since it can be misconstrued (eg. “Why don’t you just lie there and I’ll go and make your tea, no need to help, make yourself comfortable…” merely elicits an “Aw, thanks mum. You’re the best.”) so I stick to useful suggestions.

“Run to the bus stop now, text them you’re running late. Lard on your make-up on the bus. Then say sorry when you get there and hope for the best.”

“Lard on? What’s that?”


“Right. Anyway, got to go, you’re making me late, talking. Bye.”

Yep. I’m not even there and it’s my fault.

I give her 20 minutes then ring back to check she’s en route and calm. She is and has fallen to musing on her work/life balance.

“You see, I think I’m always up EARLY, but I’ve just realised that I wake up around 12 and get up around one. Then I have to get ready.” (A long process, that can take anything up to all afternoon.) “But now I have to be at work at one, so it’s not easy.”

“No. It’s hard. But you’re doing very well,” I say, positive, encouraging. “And tomorrow’s Saturday and I don’t have to leap out of bed for work and I’ll be at home (I’ll have a lie-in), so I can wake you up in time. I can even run you along.”

“Really? Aw, thanks mum. You’re the best. That’s brilliant...”

“No problem.”

“Cos tomorrow I start at nine.”