I'm going into 2017 tired.
This wasn't the plan. The plan was for Steve to have two weeks off over Christmas and New Year; we crammed the first week full of social activities and intended to leave the second week blissfully empty. The second week was cancelled when redundancy loomed its insensitive head once more.
So I haven't had the refreshing break I had planned.
And I'm tired.
This parenting lark, it's the best thing I've ever done. It's the funniest and the most fun and it's more rewarding than a 2p per hour pay rise or an empty workplace inbox. I wouldn't change it for a fancy job title or all the platters of meeting room pastries in the world.
But it's tiring.
It's twenty-four hours a day.
It's being woken in the middle of the night, albeit for ten measly minutes, because your child needs you to know that they're still wearing socks. It's getting up at whatever unreasonable hour they decide they're done with nighttime. It's having less wine than you would like in the evening because you can't deal with parenting hungover; missing films because they start twenty minutes before your child falls asleep; racing through your *ahem* couple activities for fear of being interrupted at an inopportune moment.
That's the night shift.
And now the naps have gone. Gone. Replaced by a wobbly, slightly emotional hour or two before bedtime. So there is no lunch break; there is no toilet break; there is no sneaking off for fifteen minutes when the boss isn't looking. It's all day, every day.
And that's fine. I prefer life without naps; I prefer being able to plan activities for the early afternoon and rarely finding myself pushing a buggy round and round the block in the rain because I can't get my toddler to drift off in any other way.
But I'm tired. So tired.
Matilda is a good kid, an easy kid, a calm kid, a happy kid; she's able to play by herself some of the time; she rarely throws strops; she's entertaining to interact with; and I love her more than I could ever have imagined.
But, cheesy pasta, I'm tired.
I'm tired of repeating the phrase, "Just wait a moment until Mummy's finished her cup of tea." I'm tired of reading Peck Peck Peck thirty million times a day instead of any of the hugely enticing books I received for my birthday. I'm tired of not being able to look at my phone without somebody demanding I switch it to Kids Mode. I'm tired of debating whether or not the monkey bars are safe in icy weather (they're not). I'm tired of drawing spiders in every conceivable shade of crayon. I'm tired of Justin Sodding Fletcher.
And, come the evening, I'm tired of the cats wanting their turn of my energy and attention and comfy lap because, if they'd go near the toddler, they could have all the cuddles they wanted and I could have thirty minutes to myself.
And I kind of knew all of this, when I ditched the contraception. And I don't regret it. And I feel so lucky to be in this full-time parenting position.
But I'm tired.
I'm so tired that my mum - thinking nurseries in Aberdeen would be as cheap and flexible as nurseries at her end of the country - offered to pay for Matilda to go to nursery a couple of mornings a week. Only to have to retract her offer when I laughed and showed her some local websites - a minimum of four mornings per week starting at £390 per month? a minimum of two full days per week starting at £500 per month? ho ho no!
So... playgroups? Playgroups being those groups at which children can be deposited and the grown ups can turn tail and leave (as opposed to toddler groups, at which the grown ups must stay and make exhausting amounts of conversation). Matilda is eligible for playgroup from this summer. But the nearest one would involve us spending an hour on the bus getting there, me spending two hours loitering in a strange part of town, trying not to spend any money, and then both of us spending an hour on the bus getting home again. It's not an option which offers me a break, and the city centre creche comes with the same set of problems.
So I'm tired.
Sometimes I feel energised.
Sometimes all I need is for Steve to take Matilda to the park without me. Sometimes all I need is one of Matilda's monthly visits to our neighbour (which I feel very lucky to have). Sometimes all I need is my book group or coffee with a friend.
But today, right now, the long, dark days of January are looming and we have nothing in the calendar; I can't find a pilates class at a time or location which works for my family; I can't figure out how I'm going to get to the cinema to see that Emma Stone film; I've run out of creative craft ideas for toddlers; and I can't remember when my daughter last slept through the night.
So today I am tired.
And I'm not sure which new year's resolution I could use to resolve it.
Hi! I'm a 30-something stay-at-home feminist mother-of-one. I live in Aberdeen, Scotland with my toddler, boyfriend and two black cats. I talk a lot about this stuff: