“I just don’t have Plan B,” I overhear a stressed-out mum saying in the school playground as I dash past. Ah, childcare problems! At least I don’t have any of those.
I may not have a career in TV anymore (or the job satisfaction and esteem that went with it) but I have absolutely no need for Plan B. Plan A works very well for me thank you very much. Plan A is polished to perfection. It’s Plan A all the way because Plan A is…me. And I’m here all the time.
We stay-at-homes don’t need Plan B because we don’t go anywhere, at least not the ones I know; a bit of tennis, a bit of coffee, the odd jaunt to Peter Jones, that’s about it. It’s the one thing we have over those, ‘don’t know how she does it’ types.
But this week the stars aligned or the Gods conspired, or something, and lots of rare treats came at once, like the number 159, or multiple orgasms. Two pamper nights, a gig, the theatre, a dinner party and a night at a spa hotel in Gloucestershire to celebrate a friend's birthday. I don’t care what husband says, I think you can have too much of a good thing. It was exhausting, especially relaxing at the spa hotel and for once Plan B was required. So I dusted it off and set it in motion: Daddy.
What could possibly go wrong? All he had to do was wave Eldest off to secondary school on Monday morning, take Middle One to primary and accompany Youngest to his appointment at the fracture clinic. So, feeling optimistic I packed my bijou over-night bag (three bikinis, four dresses and two types of moisturiser) and escaped.
“And then, after yoga, we all sat together, naked, in a bath of goats milk,” says friend, M, as we sip Kir Royales by the pool on Sunday lunchtime. She’s telling us about another escape, a weekend at a friend’s French Chateau with a group of scary alpha mums two years ago. They were meant to get in touch with their ‘inner Goddess’. I’m not sure if she found hers but it did make her feel (what was her expression? Oh yes,) frisky. Which can only be a good thing at our age. I’m hoping one night away might have the same effect on me.
It didn't, quite the reverse. Perhaps I should have tried bathing in goat’s milk rather than drowning in alcohol? So much was consumed in fact, that when my mobile eventually woke me at what felt like the crack of dawn on Monday morning (but was in fact five past nine) and a strange voice said Eldest was throwing up in a gutter outside school, I thought I was hallucinating. I wasn’t, it was the school secretary and she wanted me to come and get him.
“I can’t,” I stuttered, fizzes of nausea wafting up from my stomach like bubbles in a Jacuzzi, “I’m not even in London!” SO THIS IS WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A WORKING MOTHER. And then I remembered - Plan B. So I rang him.
Daddy was duly employed to ferry vomiting Eldest home from school along with the by now also vomiting Youngest (who obviously could not attend the fracture clinic) and as due penance I agreed to cut short my jaunt, but not before stuffing three tiny jars of complimentary sweets into my suitcase by way of compensation.
One problem: they weren’t complimentary. The other mums told me later. They cost £3.50. Each. If I give the hotel a nice plug do you think there’s any chance they might not charge the extra £10.50 to my already over-loaded credit card?
And by the way, did I say how lovely Cowley Manor was?