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Being a parent who works five days a week as well as doing far too much voluntary work in my free time is a tough job. Being a parent is a tough job anyway. I’ve been lucky in that I can work around it, and start really early every day, making it out of work in time for school pickup.

It’s exhausting.

Every Friday I leave work 30 minutes early to get home in time to pick H up from the childminder (which is a drive away), and then get onto a conference call which never lasts an hour (more like an hour and twenty minutes). With my working day starting at 8.30 and the call finishing at 6.20, half an hour for lunch and another hour getting home from work and set up again, I finally sit with H and give her a big cuddle. It’s a long, tiring day.

She doesn’t like it. I don’t like it either but it’s the compromise I’m having to make. It is now being suggested having the call on another day (or possibly in addition to). Which would involve more time working at home. I’m putting in a lot of extra hours. I’m often getting home and telling H I “just need to do some work stuff” and getting it done as quickly as possible.

It’s pretty tiring. Add to that PTA responsibilities. Oh, and Brownie ones too – I’m training to be a leader and our Brown Owl is leaving so I’ve taken on banking duties and helping out.

I’m not complaining. Neither is H, but that time we had which was ‘our’ time is being taken away from us, slowly, bit by bit.

I feel pretty guilty. This blog is updated once in a blue moon which is fine. The other blog is updated once or twice a week (I have three posts scheduled I need to take photos for this weekend) and things plod along nicely. When your seven year old tells you “I don’t like it when you have those phone calls as I don’t get any attention” and you know she has a point but you know the calls are important too… well, it’s hard. Where’s the balance?

I know, let’s throw another spanner in the works! Southern Rail. Or rather, Southern Fail. Strikes (which to be fair, seem to make my trains run on time), late trains and more. We’ve been driver-only on our trains for an age now, and tonight a fire alarm went off in one of the toilets. So the driver had to get out and walk along the platform to resolve the issue. We were at Mitcham Eastfields which I think is an unmanned station too.

So. We have a busy job, a busy home life, and a rail service that sometimes gets you from one to the other which is the worst performing one in the country. Were you to combine the poor service from the other companies together then I think Southern still come out on top. Really poor. The amount of times I’ve had to take the fast train to Sutton only to find all the other trains are cancelled and I need to get a cab to get H from school (which costs £10, none of which seemed to be reclaimable). So that’s more money. Oh, and train fares are going up next year too.

I’m not sure what exactly the multi-million pound train company who run the service poorly intend to do with this increase, maybe award themselves a bigger bonus?

So yes, when I get home and it’s just H and I, I want to sit with her on my knee and enjoy a cuddle and a chat about the day. But slowly all that is being dismantled.

Oh, and the biggie. She’s getting older so she doesn’t always need her mum. But she does need me sometimes.

So yes, there’s the guilt, the wish for more quality time and the fact that it isn’t forthcoming. That’s all. I haven’t worked out which bit to work on first.