I'm quite happy to work entirely for free with overtime and a quick response 24 hour helpline thrown in as part of the package.
I don't want any kind of pay rise, Christmas bonus or golden handshake agreement following my dedicated service over the past 12 months. But I won't say no to a hug from my daughter.
I hate to say it – but being a mother can be the most thankless of occupations. More often than not you put a whole lot of work in with not much thanks at the other end.
However, I say this, but the rewards when they come are worth more than a couple of lieu days at the end of the working year.
The thank-yous creep up slowly. They come in the form of that first smile at around eight weeks old, the first time their little fist unfolds like a flower and grasps onto your clothing. The first time they raise their arms to you when you go to pick them up out of their cot. The first time they laugh when you pull a funny face.
And now – the first time they give you a cuddle back. Up until recently a hug between me and my daughter has been a one way street. I do the hugging and she acts with indifference.
There was a period of trial and error at first. She would grab at my hair to pull my head in close and when I tried to resist she'd use her other hand to pull at my nose.
But she is now starting to master the hugging technique. Both of her little arms will grab me around my neck and she will squash her cheek close into mine. She even lets out a little cry of 'aaaah' – whether this is out of affection or brute force as she pushes her face into my neck I'm not entirely sure, but I don't mind. It's a wonderful reward and beats a carriage clock and a certificate.
It's one of the first signs of her saying, 'you know what mummy, I quite like you'.
Well you know what my daughter, I quite like you back.
Now give me a hug.