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Is it wine o'clock yet? The trials and tribulations of getting through the day as a working mum.

Ihave one overriding emotion this New Year's Eve. And it's not seasonal cheer, sheer relief at waving off the world horror show that was 2017, or warm fuzzy feelings of prosecco-fuelled love and hope for the coming year. They're all massively usurped by my primary feeling - Babysitting Anxiety. It's a thing. It might just be my thing, but it's definitely a thing.

We've only recently taken to hiring proper, paid babysitters instead of the old doing reciprocal favours with friends/only going out when Grandma comes to stay. Mostly because it's not like in 'our day' when you looked after your neighbour's nippers for a fiver and a packet of Hula Hoops. Now, babysitters get premium rates, well above minimum wage - which isn't a bad return for watching Netflix and eating Twiglets - meaning that your night out doubles in cost and you can't afford to go out again until June at the earliest.

I also clock-watch and spend the whole evening not enjoying myself at all because I'm debating what is the latest acceptable time to stay out (general conclusion: 1am if it's a Saturday, 11pm on a school night, special dispensation for NYE means 2am is acceptable, but you need to give them time-and-a-half after midnight, like a cabbie). And does babysitter etiquette dictate that you also need to pay for the taxi home, even though you paid them PS50 to drink coke and eat all your leftover After Eights?

And then there is the looking at your phone four times a minute in case your youngest has woken up and is screaming in horror at the sight of a teenage boy with acne and a bum-fluff moustache screaming his own silent horror because he has underdeveloped skills in how to calm a distressed, bleary-eyed three year old. Oh, and the trying not to get too smashed while you're out, because you're 42 and they are 17 and it's a bit mortifying to come home swaying, smash into the sofa, not be able to find your purse and attempt to pay them in Tesco Club Card vouchers.

Going out is really more trouble than it's worth Name: Lara Kilner Lives: A northerner in Brighton About me: Mum to a shouty seven year old and a fast-moving three year old. Along with going to work and getting annoyed with my husband for leaving his pants on the floor, there isn't much time for anything else.

Given that hiring a babysitter sends me into meltdown, tonight I shall mostly be doing this lo - adh Taking my kids to a friend's party 10 mins walk from home and staying there for slightly longer than is acceptable - leaving only after my daughter has held onto my leg sobbing exhaustedly for 20 minutes.

ol ef m Going home by 10pm with my son being most definitely Not Tired (then sleeping until the previously unknown hour of 9am on New Year's Day), while my husband goes dancing to Grime with the youngsters until 4am.

Putting kids to bed, watching 20 minutes of Jools Holland's Hootenanny, then sending myself to bed so I can be asleep before midnight and don't have to pull a party popper for one at midnight. And being absolutely, totally fine with it.

NB: Feel Lara's pain? Let her know on Twitter: @larajkilner

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 31, 2017
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