At first, you think that you are the problem. That you're new to this world and they know best. After all, they're the ones who have been working in this office for many years.
They all talk all the time (no idea where they got that from). I love the chats and the sweet singing, but there are some sounds that send me over the edge, that make my heart sink, my head hang or my shouting commence. These things more than others are triggers for me, especially when I'm tired.
I have two amazing, bright, funny, gorgeous boys,. One is eight and the other is six. Over the years they've said some weird and hilarious things - as I'm sure all kids do. Not being on social media yet, they won't have noticed that I've been documenting all of these conversations...
I actually think I'm a good parent when I've had a couple of drinks. I laugh more. Loosen up a tad. Let my daughter eat lots of cocktail sausages. I construct creative meals out of buffet foods- piling up her plate with crisps and cake (so she has a good balance of savoury and sweet). And I have fond memories of my own Mum being pissed...
I can't tell you what happens to everyone but I can tell you what happened to me. And I can offer some reassurances too. It does bring you together. Probably in the same way as two people being held hostage are brought together. But that wasn't how it worked from the start.
It's been over a year now and, as I hoped and feared, it's been the most fun/interesting/terrifying year I've had for a few decades. On the whole, it would have been cheaper to buy a sportscar and less time-consuming to have an affair with a 25 year old, but, as I can't drive and am happy with my fella, this 45 year old's mid-life crisis is a "follow your dream" business startup.
I'm due to give birth tomorrow. I've never done it before and like many women my age (early 30s - just), I've agonised over whether now is the right time. Will it wreck my career? Do we have enough money to feed and clothe another human being? Will we become one of those couples who fill social media feeds with massively un-fascinating photos of their dribbling offspring?
Feminism and the fight for women's equality rights has never backfired as much as during the last decade. Where men demand from women to be what they want, i.e. equal. And rightly so.
There has been a lot of speculation about how men won't take up the opportunity of shared parental leave because the money is not enough for them or because childcare is not seen as a man's job. These are valid concerns but I think it goes even deeper than that.
I received an email last week from a parent who was concerned about her daughter: "...she's lonely and I don't know what to do. I heard her whisper to herself I wish I was someone else. I am distraught. How can I help her?"
Where did I sign up for the indentured servitude that is picking up everyone else's undies, wee-sodden pull ups and a shipwrecked flotilla of toenail clippings from the bathroom floor?
Times goes at a different rate in the country. It seems only yesterday that we drove out beyond the M25, and the cat pooped on my lap, and we began our new life in a house of flies and dirt and no door-handles. It was actually ten months ago.
Are you a working parent like me? Then you will know that I don't have time to write this piece. And you really don't have time to read this piece. Seriously, go away and do something on your endless mental or written list of things-to-do. Still here? Ok, let's peer in to what your daily life might look like...
What has changed most for you in the last 20 years? Chances are, it's to do with family: maybe you have started one, or you are caring for one. Maybe you have gained new family members or you have suffered a loss? It's possible you are in a blended family situation, a single parent one, or your family has a dual income.
At 38, I was a freelance film director. After a short relationship ended, I found myself single, pregnant and broke. I decided to have the baby and raise him alone. Years after my son was born, scrolling though an old Nokia, I found that I had unwittingly archived a three-year dialogue of text messages between my son's father and I.
When you live with three teenagers, you are always the first in bed. You are programmed to sit up trance-like at 2am, jump out of bed and do a check of bodies in beds - and, if bodies are missing, conduct the same check hourly thereafter. This was a shock - a return to broken nights from the exhausting days of Baby-has-a-cold.