By Kozumel

The other day I found myself near the front of a longish queue in my local Somerfield, when I realised I’d forgotten to buy teabags. Yes, my life is that exciting.  But rather than go back to get them – the logical solution – I found myself thinking, ‘Never mind,  I’ll come back tomorrow instead. It will give me something to do.’

Now, I’m not exactly saying life has reached such limitless depths that shuffling up and down the supermarket aisles is something to look forward to.  (Nor have I quite turned into a ‘Schlumpadinka’, Oprah Winfrey’s term for those given-up-on-life women who wear baggy tracksuit bottoms outside the house.) But it’s a sad fact that, when you have a toddler with boundless amounts of energy and curiosity, staying in the house for more than a couple of hours at a time is not an option. And that’s even when Loose Women is on. One must find endless ways to break up the monotony of the day. Post a letter. Queue in the Post Office. Go to the swings and slides, perhaps even a playgroup. Buy an iced bun from Gregg’s The Baker so you have something to eat while you watch Deal or No Deal. You have to be creative.

I have walked up my local high street so many times that I can probably identify the individual gobbets of chewing gum stuck to the pavement. I am the person who actually reads those scintillating legal yellow notices pinned to streetlamps about imminent planning proposals and phone masts.

Yes, I know there’s not much stopping me getting on a Tube (well, apart from extortionate fares, and lots of unbuggy-friendly flights of stairs). I could drive to another suburban high street with a different permutation of the same sorts of shops and gobbets of chewing gum. But seeing as going too far from home involves too many unknown factors – will my toddler throw a full-on, lying in the road tantrum? Will I run out of emergency boxes of raisins? – I often stay pretty local. After years of trekking here there and everywhere in London, from E1 to W11, it’s kind of nice to know you can be back on your sofa, with a cup of tea in hand, within 15 minutes, at least a couple of days a week.

As I work in an office part-time, luckily I do regularly escape this suburban Groundhog Day. And I have devised other ways of getting through the day, the obviously one being regularly meeting up with other like-minded local mums with the same predicaments. I don’t just hang out in Somerfield you know. Now that would be pretty sad.