OPINION: I'm not going to lie to you. This whole work-from-home malarkey hasn't quite been the breeze I expected it to be.
I thought with good time management and clever work systems, I'd be able to easily do all my work when Piper was asleep, and still have time to sort out dinners before relaxing in the evenings.
Only, it's not really like that.
You can't always guarantee to get everything done in the allotted sleep time, which often means working late into the evening.
Then throw in children with teeth coming through, a few broken nights of sleep, and suddenly you're a shell of a man, who's getting wearier and wearier.
You can't catch up on any sleep because you've got work or a child to attend to and the cycle continues. I got my hours down to an average of 28 a week, but add in the child- minding hours and it's far more than a 40-hour week. It's quite tiring doing one or the other, but combine the two and it's certainly a challenge.
I've still managed to get sorted some of the things around the house that I'd planned on doing, just not quite everything on my list. I've been able to get all my work done, eventually, but it's certainly taken its toll. But I have spent some vital quality time with my daughter, and also Zach on occasion and it's clear making the effort, no matter how tiring, has been worth it.
The relationship and understanding Piper and I now have is far better than before it was just the two of us. Under my care, (I like to think - her mother might disagree), she's mellowed into a wonderfully placid little girl who looks at the big wide world, through the most beautiful eyes, with utter joy and amazement.
It's easy to tell when she's tired, even if she isn't the most reliable sleeper, she doesn't seem to mind what she eats, and she's keen on playing with any of Zach's toys she can get her hands on, much to his displeasure.
Unfortunately, a change in my situation at work means I have to return to the office a month earlier than planned. That's required some careful childcare management - aren't grandparents the most wonderful people? - but we've got a plan so I don't feel too bad.
Now comes the next stage in the every-changing situation that is our life. We need to find a way to ensure the children don't miss out on spending time with us, that we can still progress our careers, and Suz and I still have time to appreciate each other - waving at each other in a car park won't cut it.
It'll be a challenge but we've got this far, so I can't imagine it'll be too difficult to find some sort of happy medium. After all, isn't that what parents do?
Mark Hotton was a fulltime work-from-home journalist/fulltime dad and now he's a fulltime journalist/fulltime dad trying to balance work pressures with demands from two children.
- © Fairfax NZ News