Does he need to know I’ve crashed the car?
- Credit: Archant
When it may be wise not to share everything, says Jo Malone
Shall we mention it, or not. That's the thing when you're one of two parents. Do you tell?
I had a stint as a single parent 15 years ago; life was relentless, busy, fun too and with a backing track of 'I can do this' overlaid with guilt that you're not enough.
But one bonus was that there was no 'shall I say, or shall I keep schtum?'
When both parents are in the same home, there may be a little 'don't tell Dad the cat's in your bed/the guinea pigs have been on the sofa/we forgot it was school photo day and you were in your dress down Friday slightly-too-small cardigan and you'd done your own hair/that actually you know how four plates got broken at once in the dishwasher' and so on.
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And no doubt there's some 'don't tell mum'. I can imagine a few 'we were late for school/hair was bunched but not brushed/homework wasn't done/stayed up watching TV jumped into bed when they heard my car' type secrets.
But when they're away for more than a week; what to tell?
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The gorgeous man's been working in Scotland for a while, too far to come home on a day off. He's sending us beautiful pictures of mountains and lochs, the view across to the Orkney Isles, the sign at John O'Groats, highland cattle, and the amazing scenery when it's sunny – and a fair amount of wet grey weather too.
I stick to close ups so he'll see the lovely craft project but not the way we filled the floor and every surface with bits of paper, paint, tinfoil, Lego, glue, paintbrushes, glitter and model prototypes.
I try and avoid any pictures of the car, as there's no need to highlight the bigger-than-I-thought dent where I misjudged the gatepost. I definitely don't show our cat Pixie sitting on the table (she's not allowed) and the pile of papers and girls' artwork etc which seems to be growing and mutating around the house. He definitely doesn't need to see Thalia's artful arrangements of stones which seem to be everywhere the craft stuff isn't, nor the pile of linen that doesn't seem to have a home.
He's using any spare time he has to explore Scotland and bag Munros – reaching to the summit of a mountain over 3000ft. The 282 mountains are named, I've learnt, after Sir Hugh T Munro, who surveyed and catalogued them in 1891.
He talks of hills and hiking, work, Scottish weather and missing us.
We're missing him, but is there any need to mention the mouse in the kitchen drawer or how I might have burnt wood that wasn't supposed to be firewood? I'm keeping quiet about not cutting the grass as the mower has a flat tyre – because I drove where he'd said to leave as there was spiky blackthorn. He was right. I'll not mention that when I was trying to move the compressor from the garage to pump up the tyre I knocked quite a lot of stuff over and it doesn't all seem to go back.
I won't mention that the kitchen cupboard LED lights won't stop changing colour and some others keep flickering and I'm wondering if the girls and I will start getting migraines from the flashing. I'll save the news that the kitchen tap seems to be leaking and turning the worktop black, that we're all tired because we're trying to do too much, that I flooded the bathroom, that the lounge carpet has a new permanent mark where a green paint spillage missed the newspaper, that I'm still scared there's a hornet in the loft (last seen in May) so I can't get out the bags of winter clothes and may end up having to buy some.
He talks wistfully of missing family meals. But while he may be looking forward to eating meals together I'm not sure he'd welcome some of our girls' alone dishes. Some dinners have been a bit random – very wet spinach and mushrooms with fried egg and leftover tuna pasta bake wasn't a success.
'We're all fine, everything is fine,' I say, hoping he can't hear the sound of Thalia leaping from one sofa to another - which isn't supposed to be happening.
No, I don't think I need to share everything.