I (and this blog) get a mention (albeit brief) in an article by Gaby Hinsliff (about whom you may remember I raved a couple of months back) about the age-old, same-old, yadda yadda, yawn, but somehow can't stop thinking about it question of balancing work and kids.
Which is funny because it (or at least my buying of the magazine - available at all good newsagents, and less good: given that I bought it from one of those funny little shops in the tube) came at the end of one of the rare days when I've lurched from exasperation to joy and ended up feeling as though I have actually got the balance right.
This morning was, as is often the case, faintly horrendous; nothing dramatic: S has a cold and is miserable, L didn't want red tights, ice skates more appropriate than going-to-work-must-still-look-like-a-professional-woman shoes (although I was very grateful for my zimmer frame/pushchair), tube full of sweary people cross with the weather and taking it out on each other. Same old, same old.
Work was fine: nice to see everyone after Christmas, glow of generosity at giving them all the (obligatory) maple syrup candies, stuff to do but not too urgent, actually knew the answer to a technical question when asked. Just another day at the office.
But the thing is, I was out, I was free, I could banter with my boss without having to interrupt myself to wipe a nose, or break up a fight, or find a missing sheep (or child). I could have a cup of tea. I could wander (aka shuffle, remember those shoes) out at lunch time and peruse the sandwich shelves of three different emporia before settling on a slightly unsatisfactory wrap, rather than wolfing down the leftovers from three different plastic plates. I could just be me. Not someone's mum. Me.
I had to leave early to get the girls so that the nursery staff could get home, and when I got to the nursery all three of them were in splendid moods (A and S's first day in separate rooms - huge success all round), and we had a lovely time shuffling back along the road home, singing. Literally. The residents of West London know me as the local loony...
And I know that what made me happy today, and what, by extension made me a nice person to be around at work, and a good, happy, relaxed mum rather than the crotchety, short-tempered, no I haven't got time mum that I can also be (and am, more often than not, if the truth be told) is those six hours I spent without them.
Which is why they're important. And that's why I realise that if this two day a week thing doesn't work (you'll notice there wasn't much actual work in my day (don't think my boss reads this fortunately)) and if we do find the perfect house in Middle-of-Nowhere, I do still need that Plan B.
Which is why it's a bit of a b*gger to come home to an email saying that the millinery course might have to be cancelled.
Picture copyright Red Magazine, clearly.