Easter - the resurrection.  Jesus Christ is risen again, and so are the kids: Just when you think you've finally got rid of them, it's the school holidays and they're back, full of life, fighting over the plastic toy in the cereal box at 7am and rolling back the carpet to line dance with Steps. 

 

Okay, there's no school run, no packed lunches to make and no lost sports kit to be found, miraculously, before the bus arrives.  No-one remembers, as they walk out the door, that it's dress as your favourite book character day at school and ask if they can have a costume, please.  (Yes, sweetie, look I'll just break your glasses and you can go as Lord of the Flies.)  No-one needs a clean shirt or a new travel card.  The winter term may be over, but the kids are born again with sufficient Chocolate fuelled zeal to bring even the most saintly of mothers to their knees.

 

A child, as it says on the poster - is not just for Christmas, but for bank holidays, half terms, the endless summer vacation and almost four weeks at Easter.  Whoever God put in charge of the school year was not a working parent, certainly not a woman, and not a freelancer who works from home - try holding a business conversation while the theme tune from Neighbours blasts from the room next door. Actually, try holding any kind of telephone conversation at all while your teenage daughter hogs the line talking to her boyfriend.

 

You're thinking - what's she moaning about.  Get over it.  Get a family railcard.  Strap the kids in the car and start visiting the stations of the cross you have to bear.  You can waste a weeks' wages shivering in a theme park; at least two afternoons in the local Odeon watching desultory kiddie films  You can do the zoo, or queue for hours at Madame Tussauds.  You can visit hapless friends in the country, go swimming, rent a cottage and the contents of Blockbuster's or - get someone else to carry your cross for you - dump them at your mothers.

 

Oh, yes, there is a green-hill far away and we should be spreading out the blanket and picnicing on it, but I'm sorry:  When God handed out self-sacrifice I was top of the queue marked selfish.  School holidays make me want to turn myself in at the nearest police station and confess to the crime of non-maternalism.

 

You see, I didn't have children.  I had babies.  Four of them.  Cute little cuddly, biddable things who took naps in the middle of the day and whose idea of bliss was two hours in a playground while watched fondly on from the safety of a novel.  But the thing about kids is that you start off with babies and you end up with a houseful of semi adults.

 

It's bedsit land all over again.  They run up enormous phone bills which they refuse to pay.  They eat your food, and then deny it.  The borrow your clothes, your make up and never get out of the bathroom.  They hoard dirty laundry and used cereal bowls.  They sulk, slouch, sometimes smell, and turn the whole house into Hormone hell. 

 

How can a Friday possibly be good when it means enforced viewing of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, followed by Angel?

 

I thought I had left all this behind with my first mortgage.    followedinto shave their top lips with your Ladyshave, and their legs with husband's last sharp blade arantee of survival though if you had had more foresight than foreplay you would have realised that the natural progression of things means that those cute little crawling bundles would eventually grow up