There’s the argument that a blog dealing mostly with the impossibility of living as a single mother and working as a management consultant in London might not be amongst the most frequently updated ones. I actually now think that management consultant single mothers can only be written about posthumously. The only exception being when I’m not either management consulting or single mothering.
I firmly believe in time off from work and from kids. Purely in practical terms, without the benefit of having any grandparents within a commutable radious, the grandchild-grandparent time needs to be condensed into a couple of weeks’ blocks, which is just enough for me to fly to Peru and do sandboarding and paragliding, and all those things that I usually can’t fit between the laundry basket and annual performance reviews.
Sometimes people seem at best surprised at my 5-year-old being comfortable on her own on a three-hour flight that takes her directly to Helsinki, where grandpa is waiting at the airport. A couple of weeks later I collect her from Gatwick exactly the same way I would pick her up from a holiday club in Finsbury park (including the ten minutes that I’m always late), except that it’s cheaper to pay for the flights than for childcare in London.
Through Skype and Facebook I know that over the past week she has been swimming, foraging in the Finnish forests, watching football and eating pizza. All while I’ve been drinking pisco and dancing bachata. I know she misses me and I miss her but we don’t end our calls in tears. (In fact they usually end with her saying “Mummy, I was watching a film on the computer” “Do you want to finish the film? Do you want to stop skyping?” “Yes. But call me tomorrow, promise?”) For the next fifty weeks we’ll be together again quarrelling about wearing winter coats or eating vegetabels, so for this short time, we both enjoy the freedom of wearing what we like and eating what we like and living our independence in our own ways. I give her some money for her to spend as she likes for added financial independence. Guarding her Hello Kitty purse, she had told grandmother that “mummy doesn’t usually give me any money, as all her pay gets spent on food and Netflix”. Something like that.
Free consultant advice of the day: pack your kid on the plane, take a couple of weeks off and your blog may not need to be posthumous.
In the desert in Peru. Apparently the Wind of Paracas can make you insane. Watch this space.