Cutting costs means reducing Widget's attendance at nursery from 5 days to 3 as of this week. Now don't get me wrong, I love my children, I am just not very tolerant patient good spending entire week days with them when I am trying to a) network, b) phone headhunters, or c) work at my computer.
But I am making an effort. So this morning Widget and I dropped off the other two at breakfast club and then commenced the day properly, together.
Now bearing in mind that at nursery he is entertained and kept busy with all his peers for the best part of ten hours a day, I am loathe to start traipsing off to some play group/children's centre/mother-and-child venue on his days 'off'. Heaven knows I have even less tolerance for those places on the best of days (couple of nurofen before a kiddie party? that'll be me then).
Anyway, off to the train station we go (great excitement), one stop to reach our destination, and Widget needs a wee. Into Starbucks via newsagent to buy the FT (still unread on the kitchen table) and a pack of Gogos (horrible plastic alien things made in Japan, incredibly alluring to all SPUs, fortunately only 99p a pack - I can stretch that far).
Drag child to toilet who is now screaming that he does not need a wee but a pain chocolat. Five minutes later it is one-all: LCM has managed to get him to wee, but Widget has wangled a very expensive pastry. Out of sympathy he even offered me a bite. If you also have a four year-old, you will know how out of character this is.
Shortly after we are whizzing through the village green en route to the river. Widget has his scooter and is having great fun scattering the pidgeons. Horrified glances from old lady throwing breadcrumbs. Feel like asking her to swap places, hers seems far more sedate. Having said that not sure she could run alongside a speeding child intent on ignoring my every command.
By this stage I have already lost count of the number of times I have said "stop", "don't", or even plain "no". And it is only ten in the morning! How much longer? How many days a week? Will he be dialing Childline by Friday to denounce me? Stress, stress, stress.
Home again via friend's house - to post photos through letterbox, not for play date - and leftover pizza for lunch.
"Can you go upstairs for some quiet time please?" I ask nicely. Up he goes.
Five minutes later he is back. "Done it!" he says triumphantly. I disagree. Manage to entertain him for almost an hour with drawing and lego. All this whilst friend drops by for an impromptu lunch and our conversation is frequently interrupted by "Can you fix this?" requests.
Manage to read more emails (just) and answer two phone calls (interrupted, "I want to talk!"). At least he refrains from throwing a tantrum when I take my mobile back off him.
Off to swimming pool for an hour. Deserted before the pick-up posse descends. Bliss, I even manage to sit in the jacuzzi uninterrupted for five minutes whilst watching Widget splash around.
And now? Well, he is comfortably ensconced in the armchair watching some rubbish pseudo-cartoon on the TV. Totally against my principles and Other Half will be most displeased. Never mind. He looks the picture of relaxation, down to the crossed legs and the hands behind his head. Gorgeous.
Me? Writing blog at kitchen table, answering more emails and queries from headhunters, watching clock before we have to go and collect other two from after-school club (three at home post school on a weekday is more than I even care to contemplate - some things will not change I am afraid, shoot me now), and pondering what I have left in the fridge for dinner...
Dare I say it? I am exhausted. Hats off to the stay-at-home mums (and dads). This takes far more effort than running a business.