You wake up elated because it is Sunday and you’ve given yourself an extra 90 minutes sleep. Result. The house is still so you get up to enjoy some peace and the freedom to catch a bit of BBC news before the TV is no longer under your control.
You’re sitting comfortably on the sofa with a cup of tea and a slice of toast. You’re flicking channels because it’s not BBC news that’s on but Match of the Day. The sunshine is peeking through the curtains and you’re full of optimism. The living room door opens and the peace is disturbed but you’re happy to see his cute little smiling face and then those immortal words are uttered:
“Mummy can I play Minecraft?”
You said yes. Big mistake. Except you don’t yet see it as a mistake because it’s Sunday morning and it wouldn’t hurt to keep him occupied while you do a few chores or browse on social media, all at a leisurely pace of course. Last night big plans were made to go to the skate park before breakfast, so on the face of it this seems like a better deal.
“We’ll go to the skate park after we’re dressed,” you suggest, rather casually.
You’ve suggested numerous times that it’s time to go to the skate park and every time he responds with a “let me just finish this”. You’ve showered, stuck a load of laundry in and paced the hall several times but he’s still in his underpants glued to an X-box controller.
You’ve had lunch with the understanding that you would be venturing outside afterwards. It’s sunny. Really sunny. The first sunny day after the enduring grey skies of the Scottish winter. It’s teasing you, taunting you. Days like this are what family life is designed for. You picture sunny Instagram pictures of other families on swings, doing nature trails, pond-dipping or flying kites. Then you stare at your son who is mesmerised by a screen.
“Let’s go,” you yell, mustering up every inch of enthusiasm you can find. “Nah,” he says.
You plead, you beg, you come up with a million different fun ideas for outdoors activities. Your ideas becoming increasingly creative and adventurous. No interest. You lecture, you snap, you get mad but nope, he’s not for budging. You give up.
The day is gradually slipping away and you work out that all the time you’ve spent waiting or arguing could have been put to much better use like writing a whole novel, tidying and organising every single cupboard that is bursting at the seams, or batch cooking the week’s meals (although for that you’d need ingredients, which would mean leaving the house). You fritter away the rest of the time researching holiday ideas – particularly places with poor Wi-Fi connection and no games consoles.
You made a break for it and you’re out! It’s only to clean the inside of the car but you have escaped those four walls you’ve been confined to against your will for the past many hours. He comes out too and even has a go on his scooter and you feel an overwhelming sense of relief that he has not spent an entire day playing X-box, even if you do notice his deathly pallor in the unforgiving glare that is daylight.
You start panicking. Tomorrow is Monday and that whole conveyor belt of work and school starts again and there’s shit to do, including homework. Lots of it. Plus, there’s an evening meal to be made, a child to be bathed and all of it needs to be completed before The Voice starts at 7.45pm.
And then he says it: “Can we go to the skate park?”
Now he wants to go to the sodding skate park.