This year, soon to become a mother of two and having recently gained so many wrinkles that our clothes look ironed by comparison (they aren't, but every cloud...), I decided to focus on building my mental resources with project 52 pauses.
My parents took in the words, the concerns, the information. They sat there in a cold room, surrounded by doctors, and they decided to be strong.
I haven't written for ages. I've written almost nothing this year, apart from work-related items and to-do lists. It's not so much that I gave up writing for Lent as that writing gave up on me... there's been so much going on that I have struggled to find the words to quantify it all.
Ever wondered how your account of your day compares to your toddler's? Wonder no more...
I was good at my job but I was failing my family. The birth of my second daughter made me realise that I couldn't continue as a teacher. I was one of the many teachers leaving the profession but this wasn't for the reasons the media would have you believe.
Being a carer does not come naturally to me. My mum's inability to perform theoretically simple tasks often frustrates me. Every time I find myself getting annoyed, or expressing my irritation, I feel enormously guilty. I know that none of this is her fault, but the bitterness rises in me every time I go home.
The family has been a recurrent theme of David Cameron's speeches - both as opposition leader and Prime Minister. He has rightly linked family relationships and to broader themes such as social mobility, life chances and wellbeing. But until recently it has been less clear that this point of view would inform day to day policymaking.
With a pre-natal diagnosis for Down's syndrome we were expecting Maxwell...or actually, we thought we knew what to expect. The reality of the last two years has probably been as far removed from those early expectations as any of us could imagine.
With the Budget been and gone the next political battle on the horizon is the May elections. Here in London, all eyes are on a race that's still too tight to call. While much has been made of the different candidates' positions on Europe, party politics and - of course - the city, less attention has been paid to the difference the Mayor can make for London's families.
I get asked this question a lot. I don't take offence; I know that people are just naturally curious when it comes to these things. Also, I guess once you have three kids you're already considered to be a bit bonkers, and could easily be planning on popping out another.
The first weekend went pretty much without a hitch. The kids all made it to where they needed to be; the older one made her art class, the younger one made his party; the middle one got a bike ride. We managed to get the shopping done, do some arts and crafts, sing a few songs, and have a dance around the coffee table.
The Easter holidays are fast approaching so now is the time to start planning what you'll be getting up to. We all know it's always a struggle to keep the kids entertained when they are off school, and then before you know it the time has gone and they are back to school again. So why not doing something different instead for a change! Below I've picked 5 great places you can visit for a fun day out.
Both my uncles are obsessive shoppers, both of whom are equally obsessive about paying the bill at any given restaurant. Both my grandfathers died from a smoking addiction and my Grandma has a tendency to clean manically when stressed. Three members of my family have a tendency to over-eat and are incapable of stopping and my mum can't sit still until all the drawers and doors in the house are shut.
If you ask a bereaved child a direct question such as, 'how do you feel about Mummy dying? their response is likely to be a shoulder shrug rather than a chatty response. On the other hand, if you tell them a story about an animal losing his Mum, the child is likely to identify with the animal and tell you how they feel.
My role is different. As a writer my working life is flexible. And boy does it need to be because my wife works too. Like an increasing number of British fathers I only bring home part of the bacon, the rest of the time spent cooking, cleaning, picking up or dropping off.
I think about my grief, my guilt, and whether my thoughts are normal and how they can be healed. I think about my speed, how far I've run, and try to push myself to keep going when I feel like giving up.