My son turns one on Wednesday. It is customary at this point to remark how quickly time has gone, how fast they grow up.
Forget that. This has been the longest year of my life – not least because I feel I've been awake for most of it.
The first birthday of the first child is a major milestone for any parent, and a time of intense reflection.
I've been thinking a lot lately about motherhood and the role it plays in women's continued struggle for equality.
I've concluded there are two prevalent attitudes towards parenthood that must change before we can achieve true gender equality.
First, we must reject the "essentialisation" of both motherhood and fatherhood.
This is the idea that men and women have innate biological attributes that make women better suited to caring for infants, while men play a more important role in the lives of older children.
In my experience, it's simply not true. I don't mind admitting that becoming a mother has not come naturally to me. I don't think it does to anyone.
Parenting is not an expression of our innate abilities, but a process of trial and error, repeated on high rotation under conditions of extreme sleep deprivation.
It is testament to the hard work of many mothers that they make it look instinctive.
In rejecting this idea of a maternal instinct, I'm not rejecting the idea that mothers have a deep desire to nurture their children.
I'm rejecting the idea that fathers don't also possess this desire.
I can't deny that women have breasts, which can be quite handy for feeding babies; or quite useless, depending on how that experience goes.
As for the rest of it - changing, bathing, soothing - parenting is an exhausting process in which neither gender is innately gifted.
However, when one parent spends more time at home, it is likely that parent will start to develop these skills and morph into the primary care giver.
And yes, that's usually mum.
It then become all too easy for that person to dismiss the efforts of their less experienced partner, who decides he's better suited to paid work.
In fact, our entire paid parental scheme is predicated on the idea that there should exist a "primary" and therefore a "secondary" care giver. Mums and dads are forced to decide in the first few weeks which will be which. The idea that duties should be shared equally from the start doesn't even compute in the current system.
If we want true equality, a better system would be the assignment of two periods of paid parental leave to each couple on a "use it or lose it basis". Perhaps mum gets three months and then dad gets three months to help her transition back to work.
Such is the seriousness of the issue, I'd pay this leave at a replacement wage and force business to stump up the cost (which would be shared across all workers through smaller pay rises).
Worried about millionaire dads getting the benefit? I'd happily pay handsomely to see the CEOs of our top companies spend three months wearing vomit-covered yoga pants and cleaning up poo-splosions.
You have to ask yourself: do you truly believe men and women are equal?
If you do – and I do – we need to ditch the idea that women are somehow endowed with special powers that make them superior care givers for infants, and not just thrust into that role by a social structure which doesn't support their desire to also work.
The second idea we must reject if we are to achieve true equality is the "intensification" of parenthood.
We put too much pressure on new parents. At the very time we need to be finding shortcuts to help combine work and family, we've somehow intensified the process.
Forget the great philosophical debates of our time, new parents march blindly into a minefield of "good" (and usually labour intensive) versus "bad" options: a "natural" drug-free birth versus pain relief or a C-section; breastfeeding versus formula; a dummy versus self soothing; homemade purees versus packet food; parental play time versus screen time; stay at home parenting versus day care.
For the record, we're a dummy-loving, bottle-feeding, packet-sucking, iPhone-watching, daycare-attending family. And I nearly kissed that sweet man who gave me an epidural.
If you love your children, look after their physical and emotional needs and make them feel safe, secure and valuable, after that: it's whatever gets you through the day in my book.
So instead of an elaborate first birthday party, last weekend I bought a $6 chocolate cake from Woollies and we ate it in the playground with some close friends.
On Wednesday, I'll be at work while my son is cared at daycare.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not necessarily against stay-at-home mums. I'm all about individuals doing whatever makes them happy in the long run
But I suspect there are many stay-at-home mums out there who are surprised at where they've ended up, who would work if they felt it was an option.
Women's liberation means giving women the ability to pursue all their interests, work, family and social.
A society where men and women specialise in work and care respectively leaves women financially disempowered and vulnerable to a relationship breakdown. A man, after all, is not a plan.
We need to ease up on the demands of parenthood and stop assuming it is mum who should stay at home.
I returned to work six months ago; initially three days a week, now four.
Being a stay at home mum was exhausting. Being a working mother is exhausting too, but in different ways. At least at work I get to go to the toilet alone and WHENEVER I WANT.
Turns out motherhood hasn't changed me.
I'm still the same person I was, interested in interest rates and inflation.
I'm just me, plus a beautiful and mischievous son who, having spent most of his first year improvising a wriggly worm, has just started to rest his head on my shoulder when I carry him.
And the heart that beats within my exhausted body is full of love.