Christmas is not exactly the most wonderful time of year for working parents

I haven't seen my baby in 24 hours. Christmas, for many of us, means working late and starting early. The business of the festive season means a lot of us are struggling to organise extra childcare at a time when we want to be with our kids the most. Usually it means we are hearing second or third hand about what part our child has in the Nativity and rushing the morning of to sort a costume.

The halls are half decked and activities such as Christmas baking and arts and crafts are few and far between.

The place is a mess and the Christmas tree has no star because, by the time you finished with the lights and baubles, you literally passed out on the couch. That is if, you have even gotten around to getting your tree.

Last Christmas, my five-year-old arrived at the age where she notalised (her own word, a mix of noticed and realised) that I never pick her up from school. That we haven't seen Santa yet. That we haven't been to the Panto or invited her pals over for playdates in a while.

We DID see Frozen 2 though so that relieves the guilt slightly. Slightly isn't enough though. Not for me.

Like many families, we are looking for a more suitable place to call home. More routine and a better work-life balance. We love our jobs and having the freedom to work is amazing, but this time of year makes it even more clear that we might be missing out on many key milestones and magic family moments.

The ones that appear on billboards around the city and on the covers of Christmas magazine specials. 

There's nothing to be done, of course. The reality is that most of us have to work like mad during the festive season.

That someone else will be dressing our little ones in their Christmas PJs and writing their Santa letters with them.

There is a comfort, however, in knowing that those sitting next to you on the bus or beside you in the late evening traffic, are in the same boat. We are all LIVING for a few days off. We are all feeling the guilt and longing that parents feel at the most (or least?) wonderful time of year. 

With her daughter Evie as her muse, Anna writes about mumhood and all its intersections from mental health to movies, social issues to pop culture. Anna lives in Dublin with her daughter, partner, three younger sisters and parents. She is a dreadful cook, a fair guitar player and thinks caffeine should be given as a yearly vaccine to parents - courtesy of the HSE.

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