I was so caught up in the system; I'd forgotten what was important. I was a preoccupied stranger in my family home during the week. My son only got to see me at weekends when I was shattered and yet so propelled with guilt that I should have more 'Quality Time'.
But, as well as all the helpful medical and lifestyle advice handed out to readers via the titular Emma, as far as her husband Nick is concerned, the main take-home message for new mums seems to be that their partner is bound to act like a total and utter berg for the duration of the pregnancy
I've never enjoyed two weeks of my life more than the fortnight of my paternity leave. The immediate love I had for my little boy Sonny, the closeness we felt as a family and the sheer joy of watching that tiny baby turn into a little boy full of personality was the greatest feeling I could ever imagine. And then I went back to work...
Now I have reached that point in my life when I try to remember what it was like to watch one daughter see off all-comers at netball, and the other complete her gymnastics routine in a packed hall. The memories are there, because there were rare occasions when I did tear myself away from work. But they are not as sharp as I would like, perhaps because my mind was often on other things, my mobile phone clutched tightly in my hand.
Make sure you book, not only the morning but the next night, the day after and the previous three weeks off. This is the amount of time you will need to be nice to your dog as you will be sharing its house for at least the next 48 hours.
We're officially halfway through the year and do you know what that means? Christmas is coming. I know it seems crazy to be talking about the festiv...
My Dad was there for me at a time when some people pushed me away because of my mental health. I have seen people blank me, avoid talking to me, cross the road to make it clear they will not acknowledge me, when all I wanted to do was say hello, not take up their time.
The rows of cards all about Dads made him smile and reminded him of Roger, but when I said to him why they were all there he fell silent and look tearful. 'What are we going to do if we haven't got a dad?' he asked me. 'I don't know love' is all I could say, wondering what on earth we would do when the day came around.
I remember the sound of the tea in your throat as you swallowed it, and you said you remember that of Grandpa too. I remember wanting to be able to make tea for you, and wanting to learn to like tea so I could drink it with my daddy.
The urgent need for a gift for my husband has found me in a pottery cafe, yet again, ruining perfectly good mugs with our children's painted footprints. The irony is not lost on the toddler, who notes that I am less enthused about her handprints when they adorn the TV screen, the folding doors and my white shorts.
Financially we're okay from one month to the next. Except there's a list of things that need doing to the house as long as your arm. One by one we'll sort them out. When we do however, two more things appear on the list. Then there are the unexpected big expenses - for example three weeks before Christmas when the fridge freezer broke.
Our gender pay gap - which leaves British women earning an average of 17.4% less than men in similar full-time jobs - places us 15th out of the 22 countries measured. In first-placed New Zealand, the gap is 5.6%.
Men who subsequently go on to find a new partner, and perhaps have children with them, find it very hard to shake off feelings of guilt for not being able to be with all of their children, all of the time. Often they try and reduce these feelings by always 'being there' for their children.
I don't know your dad, but I am certain he has enough socks, aftershave and innovative artisan pickles in his life already. The fact is that dads don't really want any of these gifts on Father's Day because they are functioning adults with functioning credit cards, although with dwindling funds due to you being such a drain on their finances.
As Monday's session draws to a close, I speak to some of the young people about what it has meant to them to be part of the Being a Man club, and what they have learned. 'Be a real man, just smile... and no violence,' Benjamin tells me, in English, with a grin. And Gent says: "Being a man is not about having a moustache or big muscles but about having a smart brain and being able to love and support your family.'
Unlike more typical kids, they can't run away from you when you want to hug them; they can't embarrass you by repeating your swear words (we probably take too much advantage of this one). Plus we get to park wherever we want at the supermarket...