I woke up grumpy. I cheered a little at my joyful child jumping on me but the relentless before-school routine of shower, coffee, breakfast, lunch packs, nagging, get dressed, come and eat, brush your teeth, hair, put on shoes gnawed that away away. Child safely at school I look at the calendar. It’s all red and blue: blue for work, red for parenting. There’s no orange for Jill, none at all, not between last Friday night and this Friday night.

The problem with loving your work is that it’s easy to work all the time. Just check this, fix that, write a bit of this, finish up that, write another email, read this book, it’s useful for work, you know. The problem with parenting alone, even if it’s only every other week, even if you have supportive grandparents for your child, is that you’ve always got to be sensible, adult. Enforce bedtime, get your child to school in time, help organise friendships, monitor homework, ensure warm enough clothes, administer cough syrup in the middle of the night. Oh, there’s silly bits too, heaps of fun bits, good bits, love, she dashes back to kiss me before running through the school gate, but oh I need orange time. Time for Jill.

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