I think I am going to let my older two children have friends over for sleepovers. I have battled against it womanfully but I suspect the time has come to bow down with dignity and let the whole, dreadful business wash over me.
I haven't always been phobic about sleepovers. Remembering what fun they were in my childhood, I fondly thought ( albeit when my elder two were not yet out of nappies) how delightful it would be to have a houseful of little people scampering about the place in their pyjamas. When the children grew out of their cots I even bought them beds with trundles underneath in full expectation of this eventuality.
But then when they were about the right age to start having friends to stay over, I suddenly had two more toddlers, was on my knees from sheer exhaustion and the thought of unnecessary broken nights made my blood run cold.
I did have a few sleepovers and it started well enough. Controlled sugar consumption, relatively early lights out and plenty of threats meant that they weren't too painful. But then events began to overtake me. Sleepovers, from the stories I heard from other mums, became endurance tests which only the very hardy could survive. No sleep. Too many e numbers. Hugh amounts of mess and hideous children for the following two days became the norm and that was not a game that I was prepared to play.
So I withdrew and banned them. Of course my girls were regularly invited out by parents more brave than me but no one ever came back despite almost constant demands from my indignant children and their deprived friends.
Then recently, a friend with older girls whose opinion I value told me that she gave her house over to sleepovers most weekends because at least it meant that she knew where her children were and what they were doing. This I can understand. I am not quite at the point of parties and cider and boys but it won't be far away.
And things have changed over the years since I said no. We built the kids their own sitting room which is three closed doors away from ours. I generally get complete nights of sleep these days and consequently have a greater tolerance level for late nights. And we now have an en suite bathroom so I don't have to meet unexpected children on the landing in a state of undress.
So when my children get home from school tonight I shall give them the good news. I will allow sleepovers on a trial basis and it will then be up to them if they become a regular event. Over to you girls.