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Claire Irvin Headshot

Happy New Year, Same Difference

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So it's back to work and after a magical, if never-ending Christmas break, the world welcomes the return of routine and breathes a collective sigh of relief.

Except mums. That is. (I'm not moaning by the way. Just pointing out the irony of throwing out the old when the new is just different year, same old s**t).

Because the first day back isn't just a tussle with inadequate public transport and inevitable wind and rain, for us it holds a plethora of other joys.

The presents may be over, but there is still admin to be done. And I don't mean thank you cards - every mum valuing her sanity has long ditched these in favour of the personalized 'text ta'. I mean the regifting list. The mental who-gave-us-what list that means they won't ever be given it back.

There are traumas to be overcome - namely trying to peel off wailing toddlers and babies as you attempt to drop them at nursery / school for the first time in three weeks (I don't write this flippantly. Today I ended up missing my train anyway after sobbing over my steering wheel for twenty minutes).

And then there is the ever-present spectre of New Year's Resolutions. As I write, for example, I am currently surrounded colleagues who are detoxing, joining gyms and saving money by going *macramé*. I know from experience that all the above - losing weight, getting fit, stopping drinking - are not designed to enhance my life, only make it more difficult, less enjoyable and pile on yet more unwanted pressure. And as for craft, my anally retentive husband, AKA OCD Dad, thinks the only thing I am capable of making is a mess - I am not going to confirm this by attempting to create anything under the same roof. (Over Christmas I arrived home from a girls day out with my soon-to-be-five-year-old to find he had been having some kind of OCD party and decluttered everything freestanding in the house. Days later he then looked back on the holidays with the comment 'I just feel really happy that I've finally sorted the airing cupboard'.) Anyway, why slave over a tiger costume for Amelie's Imagination Day when one is available at the click of a... oops. You see my problem?

So this year, I have adopted one that I feel sure is going to help me sail through 2014 with less of the WTF/OMG cold sweats that peppered its predecessor.

I am going to compartmentalize my life. I am going to establish the different routines of my life and officially draw a line between them. When I'm at work, I'm at work. When I'm home, I'm at home. And ne'er the twain shall meet, thus helping maintain my inner Zen, improve time with the children, and remain focused at work.

Erm - apart from when I've driven to work with Charley's buggy in the back of the car. Or my boss emails me in the middle of a Hello Kitty puzzle. Or I suddenly remember in the middle of a meeting that Amelie needs a tiger costume for imagination day.

Happy new year, same difference!

Claire Irvin is Editor-in-Chief of Mother&Baby. Follow her on Twitter at @IrvAtLarge

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