Diary of a mum returning to work – The sleepover

From time to time, all working mums need a sleepover. You know, that arrangement when you have someone else’s child over to stay at your house on the unspoken promise that at some point you’ll unload yours back on them in return, and can look forward to a blissful, child-free night. But as Lucy Mason discovers, things don’t always go according to plan.

The sleepover

How NOT to do a sleepover for your seven year-old daughter and her best friend:

1) Don’t arrange to meet at the pub after school with the friend’s mum to do a ‘proper handover’ of her child.

2) If you do meet at the pub try and restrict yourself to just one glass of wine, preferably not a large one.

3) When stopping off at the schoolfriend’s house on the way home from the pub to pick up her overnight bag, do not accept another glass of wine while her mum searches for it.

And so it goes on – you get the picture. My eldest daughter has been looking forward to this sleepover with her best friend for weeks. They had begged to go to the library after school so they could choose some of their favourite Rainbow Magic books to read at home together. I thought it was so sweet and felt actually quite proud that my child wanted to go to the library as part of a playdate. I’m sure there will be some kind of irony to this whole pub/library scenario in ten years or so, but I’m trying not to think of it now.

Anyway, by the time we left the pub the library had shut, and I tried to explain this to my daughter and her friend without slurring my words after two large glasses of wine. There was a play area in the pub, so the kids were happy enough, but I still felt bad.

By the time we had left the friend’s house, her mum and I were… well let’s just say my memory of the walk home is a bit hazy. We ended up eating at the friend’s house (I really copped out of this playdate!) and didn’t get back to ours until 8.30pm. I put the youngest two to bed and blew up the air mattress for my daughter and her friend. They fell asleep at 10.30pm, woke up at 6.30am, and I’m sure the kids’ lack of sleep and my hangover will mean we’re all in for a great day. A visit to the lovely warm, quiet library seems like a great idea to me.