I am totally in awe of single parents - quite frankly after 24 hours of trying it last week while my husband was away, I don't know how they manage.
Having picked up Circus Girl from her circus class and the Great Labrador from my parents' office, I was driving home thinking we'd have a girls' night bonding over bedtime stories.
However, I managed to: lose my house keys, demonstrate the sort of creativity with language that sets a poor example to a seven-year-old (which I'm ashamed to say included some of the four-letter kind), lock us out of the house, introduce Circus Girl to house-breaking, forget the most important dinner condiment (dead horse) and really annoy our dog (house-breaking being much more difficult if you are a Great Labrador of great dignity than a human of little shame).
Once the humans were safely inside I had a brief 'I'm-a-
complete-failure-as-a-parent' moment of almost bursting into tears when I saw how late it was and heard the Great Labrador getting huffy when we couldn't open the door and let her in. (She promptly comforted herself by knocking over the compost and getting stuck in to the mouldy bread.)
But Circus Girl performed a pretty accurate re-enactment of my graceful entrance through the window, complete with special bum-wriggling move, and we both collapsed in giggles.
Late, dusty and with an irritated dog (despite me throwing her a bone out the window) we managed bath, dinner, teeth and bedtime story, after which I reflected on two other four-letter words: love and wine.
We were fed, laughing and had a roof over our heads (except, obviously, for the Great Labrador, who had rotting vegetation as compensation).
Also, I felt the need to respond in kind to Gina Rinehart's unsolicited advice to those less rich than her (all of us except Bill Gates) as to what we should do to assuage our jealousy of those altruistic, job-creating billionaires: work harder, drink and smoke less and cut down on our socialising.
Aside from the fact that many of us don't feel jealous of those with enormous bank balances, bloated from sucking as much out of the earth as possible without putting anything back, because we value things like love, family, loyalty, friendship, compassion and fun more than money. Rather than create jobs in my industry (journalism), Ms Rinehart's actions have put many hard-working people in an even more precarious position than we were before.
So Ms Rinehart, here's some advice as a parent: be nice to your children, tell them that you love, value and trust them instead of issuing decrees through lawyers and they might still share the occasional laugh with you even when you stuff up and find your bum wiggling through the window.
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