I first wake at 0100hrs for the baby’s night feed. The toddler has not yet joined us. Separation anxiety plagues my eldest due to paternal absence, and co-sleeping has either been a symptom or a cure. I have not sought to prevent it. I physically cannot in any event, as it tends to happen when I am feeding. At 0300hrs the sound of little footsteps precedes my bedroom door opening and a tiny shock of dark messy curls appears on my husband’s side of the bed. A tiny hand reaches out to check I am there, and it remains holding onto me for the rest of the night.

Up again at 0400hrs as baby begins to stir. I buy another hour with the dummy.

Up at 0500hrs for the next feed. I shush the toddler who is disturbed by the light. I watch part of an episode of ‘The Bridge’ on my phone on mute as baby feeds, relying on subtitles. I muse that some barristers will be going through the night feeding process and then attending court for a full day. I was fewer than eight weeks away from returning at this point with my firstborn. After the feed and post-feed winding, we both drift off.

My alarm goes off at 0645hrs. It takes me roughly one hour and fifteen minutes to get all three of us dressed and into the car. During this process I cross examine the toddler using the vulnerable witness toolkit about an incident that happened the day previously where the newborn moved after I left the room. I realise at one point I have contravened best practice and asked a leading question. Nevertheless, my witness holds firm and I am left unable to find guilt, even applying the civil standard.

Thanks to nurseries staying open during the present lockdown, I attain some respite by taking the toddler in today. Because my county council funds 15 childcare hours for military children I can afford this despite being off work. Without that, I don’t know what I would do. I inform my child’s keyworker that daddy’s birthday is soon and they promise to procure some reasonable quality artwork from the toddler so that we can post it to him via the British Forces Post Office.

I go home to a quiet house. Rocked to a deep sleep by the car journey, the baby sleeps until lunchtime, allowing me to catch up on outstanding work. Such has been the depletion of the crown court estate following necessary closures for social distancing, my local court has a minimum one-year waiting list for bail trials from Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing to trial, and therefore my clerks continue to accept new instructions for me and I engage with my solicitors and provide advices, unpaid work that will remain unpaid if someone covers the hearings in the meantime and the cases resolve before trial. If I do not have any work to do, I will either do housework or strap the baby to my front and go on a long walk in the countryside somewhere I would be unable to go if smaller legs were accompanying me.

Once home, I brew an eight cup cafetiere of strong Italian blend and smash back the lot. Today I am reviewing a case and drafting an advice, which takes me until just before 1200hrs. I catch up with friends via WhatsApp, a lifeline when living a life absent of adult company.

At 1200hrs baby has a feed and while doing this, I begin to draft out an article I am writing about sexual misconduct at the Bar. The Bar Tribunals Adjudication Service and the Bar Standards Board are consulting on their sanctions guidance and I have been putting together an article featuring some recent decisions involving sexual misconduct that I feel demonstrate that the sanctions guidance is unacceptably lenient. This involves carefully checking the tribunal reports and deciding how to present the article. Once complete, I send it to a couple of trusted friends and colleagues for some feedback.

Lunch, and a phone call from a solicitor friend in the (virtual) police station who would like a second opinion about how to advise a client. We discuss strategy and how it might impact the future trial.

After lunch I sit babbling at the newborn, convincing myself that this is doing something for neurological development. Eventually baby tires of my inane drivel and passes out face down on my chest. I luxuriate in the closeness and the lovely baby smell and stay on the sofa for a little while.

Then baby has to be put down as I must begin the laundry. So much laundry. Having a baby with reflux increased the laundry by 400% and the washing machine runs all day every day. I pray silently that it doesn’t break.

1500hrs. Realise that baby hasn’t done a poo for three days. Should I be carrying a towel around with me?

It is soon toddler collection time. How is it that they manage to get food in their face and hair at nursery? There is also a particular nursery ‘smell’ that reminds me of police custody suites. Once home I wash the crusted food from a chirpy, tired little face and fingers and I make some tea.

My husband video calls at 1800hrs and is greeted by the sound of the baby crying and the sight of the toddler proudly holding aloft a potty full of wee as I frantically try to ensure it remains inside its receptacle and is not spilled over me, the floor, or worse the baby. He makes appropriately impressed remarks. ‘You look busy.’ I bite my tongue and resist the urge to swear in response. Having shown him the potty, our toddler seizes my mobile and takes daddy off for a walk to inspect toys and I am left bouncing up and down on the spot trying to soothe the baby who is strapped to my front using a sling, as I am simultaneously trying to get the toddler’s bath ready. This time of day is always frenetic; it is cluster feeding time as well as toddler bath and bedtime. It involves military-standard ongoing adaptation of strategy and the deployment of hostage crisis negotiation skills. It is the most difficult time of the day for me, and it is also the time that friends are most likely to ring. Calls routinely go ignored.

I ruminate about a return to practice as local crown court practice directions require notes on the digital case system by 1900hrs the day before a hearing, with clerks arranging cover for the case only a couple of hours before. For working parents, an impossible aim. Between 1830 and 1900hrs I am reading story books and giving the characters Welsh, Liverpudlian and Glaswegian accents. Then tidying and cleaning up begins in earnest.

By 2030hrs both children are in bed asleep and the house is tidy. I try to call my husband so that we can have a sensible conversation without interruption, but it is well past midnight where he is and he is asleep. I collapse on the sofa. Do I risk watching a programme, or do I go upstairs and try to get some sleep before the first night feed? Familiar cries obviate the decision for me, and I rush to get a towel…