I have five children. Georgina ("G") is the youngest. She is 14. And she is the one causing grey hairs to sprout abundantly from my scalp, if old wives' tale about correlation between lack of follicular colour and stress is to be believed.
I remember a work colleague of mine from some years ago, who regularly told me that work was easier than looking after his kids. "The office is a break for me," he used to say, "I'm heading home now to the real job". I didn't have children at the time and I assumed he was exaggerating. In fact, as the work we were doing at the time was very challenging, I thought it was a form of self-praise - a humble-brag of sorts.
We all know that schoolchildren go through a "summer dip", where learning falls back over the long summer holiday. From 2015, state schools will even be allowed to set their own term times, which may see summer holidays shortened.
It's fitting, really, that in the month I've assigned, "Weaning with Respect Month", another self-appointed baby sleep trainer has taken the opportunity to show how little he/they knows/know about newborn babies, their nutritional needs, their slumber needs, and basically anything about anything related to any of their needs.
I wish you knew the pain you've put me through the last 26 years. The suicide attempts I once made on my life. The memories that haunt me. How I spent many years believing I was worthless. How I still hear your voice in my head sometimes telling me that I'm stupid.
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.
Choose a restaurant or cafe based on the food preferences of little people. For the child that only eats rice: Japanese is good. For the child that only eats bread on Tuesdays: Italian may work. If you have one of each of these children, take a packed lunch for the other.
With each year came new challenges as my children grew and their needs began to change. The overlap between running a business and running a home became more and more apparent as we all shaped our lives. My realisation through this time was that there are always four things which largely cross-over with running a business and your family home...
Let's be frank, some people thrive in the role of full time parent and I'm totally impressed and sometimes envious. In my case it was never an option and whilst it's been tough at times, I'm so incredibly grateful that I'm busy and loving my job - now that my babies are huge teenagers and need me rather less than I need them!
Assuming there isn't a secret world where stay-at-home mothers get to loll about all day in spas sipping Pinot Grigio, there must be some reason why more women than men stay at home with children?
Urgh - so it was exam results day yesterday and no doubt some proud parents were sighing with relief as their offspring brandished the piece of paper showing a clutch of A*, but not me.
Immediately I began to draw a fair amount of attention, I could see people sniggering, actually sniggering at me. I tried to act normal whilst flexing biceps and breathing in. People looked up from books and stared, a group of young girls looked at me then hid their mouths behind conspiring palms... "What the hell is wrong with these people? ... What's so damn funny?"
If you're one of those people who spouts off about not needing friends because your partner is your best friend or because you're too busy, widen your horizons. Become an individual. Don't get into that unhealthy trap.
It may seem a little drastic to compare the need for rest with risk of death. But, in terms of mental and emotional health, I believe it is. Tiredness murders patience and obliterates joy. Chronic tiredness can also crucify confidence, self-esteem and kindness.
It scares me to think that back when I was editor of a parenting magazine in the UK - long before I had even thought about becoming a parent myself - I used to write articles about subject matters as personal as breastfeeding.
'Clearing', the process that helps university applicants without places find institutions with courses that still have places available, can be one of the most stressful periods in the life of a student... Here are some tips to get you and your student successfully through the process.