Yet tough as it is to squeeze five days work into three, it's probably the part-time family stuff that I find hardest. We pretty much operate a one-in, one-out policy on the parenting front in this house, which speaks for itself. The only reason I didn't stop writing bwb when I came back from DC was because I spend so many evenings alone.
Then again, part-time friendships aren't exactly easy. We're useless socially because one of us is usually working - day or night - and dinner party invites for one just don't happen. I'd love a decent night out, but can't even manage to organise that for my birthday.
It's working part time that's got me into this mess. When you're still on maternity leave, it seems such an elegant solution to the conundrum of whether to go back. But from this side of the fence the reality is pretty different. It's just not possible to feel you do either the job or the baby justice. Although I'd like to think Louis suffers a little bit less than the paper. Mainly because he gets to hang out more with his Daddy, not forgetting the lovely Anna and his 'Bam-ma'(s) when they have time.
The old guilt of the working mum is as old a chestnut as they come, yet each new mother struggling with her conscience comes to the issue afresh. The conundrum got an airing this weekend when the Observer's political editor described why she'd decided to resign and get to know her toddler instead of working round the clock. It's a great piece, but only served to magnify my own work insecurities because anyone who knows me knows I'd never have cut a holiday short to return to work! (As retail correspondent I managed to miss the bid battle of the century when Philip Green tried to buy Marks & Sparks because I was getting married.) I utterly applaud Gaby Hinsliff for quitting but slightly worry that she's called her inevitable blog usedtobesomebody. It hardly makes it sound like full-time motherhood has much going for it.
And the solution? There isn't one. Not working full time, not working at all, and not even working part time. What to do?