Eithne Shortall: ‘It’s a privilege to have children and a privilege to spend time away from them’

The great parenting paradox sees us trying to spend as much time as possible with our children while always scavenging for any morsels of alone time

‘I had a real fear that I was losing my identity; that now I was a mother, that was all I was capable of being’

I wrote three novels before I had children. A chunk of each was written at a holiday house in Mayo. I would go there on my own for a couple of weeks and get several times more work done than I ever would in Dublin; a DIY writer’s retreat.

When I was a few months pregnant with my first child, I remember saying to my partner that hightailing it to Mayo was a practice I ...