When I was married, Sundays were my favourite day of the week. Lazy morning followed by a long walk with the dog and a roast dinner at about mid afternoon. Then we'd all fall asleep in front of a rubbish film, and I would feel so content.
Now, Sundays are about grim survival. The boys have swimming lessons at 10am, which means I sit in a room full of other Mums, and a few Dads. This room is tiny. None of these adults ever thinks of getting out a chair for anyone else, or that sitting smack bang in the middle of the room so that we have to ask them to move to get to available chairs, might possibly be a bit inconsiderate.
Getting both kids out of the pool, away from the overcrowded showers full of precious Sebastians who cannot possibly get changed without shampooing and conditioning the whole two inches of hair they have, is a mission. My four year old is obsessed with having a shower at swimming. At home, if I put the shower on he screams the house down. At swimming, he screams when I tell him he can't have a shower. Give me strength.
So I manhandle screaming four year old back to the overcrowded changing rooms. Attempt to dry and talc both boys as quickly as humanly possible and wrestle them into their clothes. On a weekday, it takes my six year old 45 minutes to get dressed for school, so leaving him to it is not option if I want to be home in time for the Eastenders omnibus. My teeth are already on edge from having sat through an hour of listening to all the other parents moan about the school not enforcing veganism, or something.
We get to the car (usually running, through pouring rain) and the whole day stretches out in front of me like a Maths A-Level. If the weather's nice, we can go for a walk, or the park or just anywhere. If it's raining, like today, we are on enforced home detention, because I can't afford the small mortgage downpayment that constitutes an hour's soft play.
We usually end up going to see my parents, but recent history tells me this is an exercise in having all my enthusiasm quashed for anything, ever. It also means I feel that the kids are annoying everyone, and go home feeling even more sorry for myself.
Today, because I am holding it together by a thread we've come home and they're watching Dr Who on DVD in the lounge, while I chicken out in the kitchen and try not to cry. I want to cry because I feel like a crap parent, that I can't even bear the thought of one whole day at home with the children. I thought I was supposed to enjoy this bit? It all feels like an uphill slog, right now.
So, I am going to make myself a cup of tea and possibly a bacon sandwich. I'm going to have those, then go upstairs and do some ironing for two hours, while the kids are down here. Then this afternoon I'm going to teach the eldest to play draughts, and maybe do some Lego.
This is how I survive Sundays - by having a plan to fill the void.
P.S So far online dating is making me think I will be single forever, unless I want to settle down with a 53 year old tractor enthusiast called Nigel from Leicestershire.
On a lighter note, the book is quite good.