My daughter was in night nappies when she started going to school and I WON'T ... trends now
There was one watershed day when my eldest child, Flo, was around six months old that the whole charade of being able to juggle a freelance writing career with childcare came crashing down around me.
I was interviewing a self-important celebrity on the phone from home and, having been told it would only be a quick chat, I'd popped Flo into the door bouncer so she could jig up and down, happily grinning at me while I worked.
Twenty minutes later, I was still on the phone and she started grumbling. I moved into the next room, desperately trying to extricate myself from the conversation. Flo started bawling and I moved even further from her, hating myself for putting work first but feeling completely stuck.
Thirty minutes later, she was screaming blue murder and I was, by now, outside in the garden with the patio doors firmly closed. I kept trying to end the call but there was no escape.
My palms felt sweaty, my heart was racing and all I wanted to do was get back to my baby. By the time I did so, she had fallen asleep, upright but dangling from the door frame, her little face wet with tears.
Shona Sibary (picturedwith her four children) asks how many other working mothers have found themselves in a similarly wretched scenario, racked with remorse for being forced to put work before childcare?
Of all the weeks to lay this particular guilt trip at our door - just after a relentlessly rainy half-term, with the spectre of Christmas looming, said Shona (pictured)
How many other working mothers have found themselves in a similarly wretched scenario, racked with remorse for being forced to put work before childcare?
I can only imagine their fury, matched with mine this week, that MP Miriam Cates now blames us - an army of exhausted mums trying their best - for the rise in children starting school in nappies.
Of all the weeks to lay this particular guilt trip at our door - just after a relentlessly rainy half-term, with the spectre of Christmas looming. And to pour even more fuel on the fire she seemed to focus her ire on working mothers, as if dads play no part in the parenting equation.
Cates was talking at the Alliance For Responsible Citizenship conference when she made the comments, saying: 'Consider the rising number of young children who start schooling in the UK still wearing nappies... potty training can take weeks of dedication to the task. This is increasingly impossible when our GDP-obsessed economic system demands that even mothers of small children leave their infants in daycare to return to the workplace.'
My blood boiled. But I must admit to agreeing with part of her remarks. Toilet training is difficult. And incredibly tedious. By the time I'd had my fourth child, Dolly, I was so over this particular parenting challenge that I (look away now, Miriam) almost raced back to work to avoid it.
Happily, much of the task then fell to our useless au pair, whose modus operandi seemed to be to allow Dolly to run around the garden all day wearing nothing from the waist down, letting her pee all over the rhododendrons.
As my youngest daughter is a late August baby, she started