Family Planning

Follow Claire Smith's Mothering Heights on Twitter @MinistryOfMum

Follow Claire Smith's Mothering Heights on Twitter @MinistryOfMum - Credit: Archant

EVER since a certain incident last Thursday when my husband “forgot” that I was going out, I have decided to install a Family Planner.

About last Thursday – I was supposed to be on a girls’ night at the local curry house, but my husband rang at 7.30pm to say he was leaving the office right now and would be home by 8pm latest. He is the only person in the world who can make it from Birmingham to Bedfordshire in 30 minutes, apparently. Anyway, he arrived home at gone 9pm and had clearly forgotten that I was supposed to be going out.

To be honest, I hadn’t really been in the mood for curry, having eaten a jumbo bag of Doritos and a Double Decker for ‘snack’ an hour before, but I certainly wasn’t going to tell him that.

I was torn between just laughing it off or going into one about how he has more freedom than Mel Gibson in Braveheart and why am I just a slave in a cage made of children. It was only when my friends called to say “Where are you, there’s a poppadum with your name on it” that my husband cottoned on. So I decided to go for the ‘I don’t really mind missing out’ attitude, but we all know that I’ve got it stored up for that argument we’ll have in May 2014.

So, my new idea is to revolve our lives around this Family Planner. Which is never ever going to happen because we seem to live in state of constant chaos. In fact this chaos is usually the cause of the formation of a Sharknado, or something. But, for the moment, I want to pretend that we are a functional, well organised unit.


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The calendar is detailed as follows:

MUM/DAD/BOY/GIRL/TODDLER

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So far this week I have listed the below activities:

MUM: Buy dog food. Sort shower out.

DAD: Working late Wednesday and Thursday.

BOY: Homework. Cricket.

GIRL: Karate. Cubs. Football.

TODDLER: Whatever Mum is doing plus cutting/smashing/spilling and asking 2,000 questions which all begin with “Mummy”.

On one hand, the Family Planner makes me feel like I am totally in control, the captain of the family ship, the matriarch overseeing her brood and their whereabouts. I’m hoping that when one of my London mates call and ask what I’ve been up to, I can check the Family Planner and reel off all the exciting activities. It seems to give me a purpose every day, albeit checking to see if we have any milk, but instead of flapping I’m now calmly in control (it’s been a week).

On the other hand, it really depresses me. There it is in black and white and highlighter pen just how dull my life is. The truth is, there are no exciting activities planned so I’m going to have to add a few made-up events so when people come over they get a glimpse of a fun-packed, adventure-filled ideal family life with numerous social gatherings for Mum.

The Family Planner also has the downside that it may give my husband an advantage over me. For example, last night he said “You know I’m with a client on Thursday night” to which I started to protest about how he never tells me anything even though he insists he has – soon to be cut off with his retort “Well, I did put it on the Planner, as you asked.” BUSTED.

But I’ve thought of the perfect revenge. Next time he suggests any form of conversation or friskiness, especially during Scandal or The Returned, I will quick-as-a-flash retaliate “Sorry darling, we can’t. It’s not on the Family Planner.”

And that’s the only family planning this family needs.

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