There's no denying that being a parent is way more work than I first thought it was going to be.
When the midwife came to see me the day after we took our first son, Anthony home she found me still in my night clothes even though it was nearly lunchtime.
As soon as she asked how I was I burst into tears. Being a parent was overwhelming.
10 years later, with two autistic boys and a little girl and I still get that same feeling every now and again.
And when I get it frequently I know it’s time to try and be me, as well as well as being a parent.
It can be simple things, most of which I try and fit in while the kids are at their respective specialist and mainstream schools.
Often it’s linked to being mindful of my choices – and realizing I still have them.
Choosing what radio station I would like to listen to on the way home… or choosing to enjoy the silence.
Choosing what to have for lunch, taking a few more minutes to actually select clothing for the day instead of just picking up and throwing the clothes from yesterday back on again.
Sometimes it’s about taking the help I’m offered when I can.
It’s rare to find someone who can look after my kids without me worrying, but when I do, I try and fit in something for me.
Last time it was doing a home study course and someone watched the kids when I needed to attend college for feedback.
Being a parent and being me are not mutually exclusive, but it can sometimes take a bit of thought and organization.
It’s also worth remembering that being with my kids is often a choice I make as well.
I miss them when I’m away and it is more than just habit and worry, it’s because being a parent is still very much a big part of who I am.