Shared parental leaveThe new shared parental leave policy comes into force next week. Having just returned from maternity leave, I don’t think it’s for us. Not now, not in the past, not ever.

There’s no doubt about it, working from home and being a mum at the same time is hard. Juggling my latest commission with a baby and a pre-schooler while trying to keep on top of the washing, the shopping, the cleaning and the cooking can drive me to distraction and the thought of being able to get up in the morning and leave the house for somewhere else, where I can think, wee and eat in peace while focussing on just one thing at a time and sipping a cup of tea that is actually hot is more than a little appealing.

But, the breast feeding issue aside, would I want Misery Guts to come home and take over? Absolutely not. On the days we do have Granny day care I get Catholic guilt separation anxiety after just a couple of hours. I wouldn’t want to be away from them.

And when it comes to the thought of Misery Guts running the household I don’t think I could stand it. It’s the little things that would bug me, like coming home from work to find spillages all over the kitchen worktops and crumbs on the table. Basically he just doesn’t do wiping.

And it’s taken years to get him to properly shake out the wet washing before hanging it on the clothes horse so it doesn’t dry all creased and crunchy, yet when it comes to pants he still manages to forget. There’s nothing worse than a crunchy crotch. Even BB complains ‘mummy my pants aren’t right’.

After a long day at work I know these little, silly things would irritate me to the point of distraction. They’re the sort of things that could become the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and end in divorce.

One of my friends has just gone back to work and her husband has given up his job to look after their sons, who are three and five months. Two weeks in I asked her to sum up how it’s gone so far and this is what she said:

“When I called the maternity allowance hotline I was told more than once that this is rare for them to have to organise. It’s surprising how well he’s adapted and he’s been out every day so far – it almost makes me feel inadequate! He’s been doing some washing off his own back but has mixed colours so I’m not impressed. I’ve also had to drop hints about getting the washing up done but on the whole so far it’s been a great experience because being self-employed and the higher earner I only work a few days per week, so it’s providing much more flexibility in terms of family time. He says he now realises why I used to hand the baby over when he got in and appreciates how hard it is.”

Sounds to me like he’s been going on day trips while eschewing the chores.

Which actually isn’t a bad idea at all…