ONCE again, I am in the minority. To be honest, I spend so much time there, I'm thinking of buying a time-share apartment.

I rarely seem to be part of the massed ranks any more. While the majority jostle for a bit more elbow room under their comfy security blanket of togetherness, I find myself left out in the cold with all the other disagreeable old crones.

Even other mums - my spiritual sisters of the nappyhood - are starting to turn against me, banishing me to the dreaded minority without a gang of like-minded girls to share my thoughts along with my endless supplies of chardonnay and HobNobs.

Just last week I discovered that two-thirds of women would rather be full-time mums than return to work. According to the National Working Mothers Survey, working mums with babies or young children feel racked with guilt and endure painful bouts of separation anxiety.

As a part-timer myself, desperately trying to juggle work and motherhood and generally making a bit of a balls up of both, you would think I would be a fully paid-up member of the guilt-ridden sisterhood.

But I'm not. To be honest, I can't wait to get out of the door on my work days. In fact, if you look closely you can probably see the skid marks on my fake wood floor.

It's not that I don't love spending time with my kids, it's just that I don't want to spend all my time with them. There's only so much fuzzy felt and burping a woman can take.

Do I feel guilty or anxious? Not on your nelly. I feel liberated, I feel like a card-carrying member of the adult world, and I feel like a person in my own right instead of so-and-so's mum.

The majority of the women questioned in the survey say the strain of juggling work and home leads them to "shout at their partner" (surely not), "shout at their children" (heaven forbid) and "consider divorce" (forget divorce, what about murder?). I say, that's life.

But I'm not a completely contrary curmudgeon. I do agree with some of the findings. Yes, juggling work and motherhood is harder than you ever imagined it would be; yes, you still end up doing most of the household chores; and yes, children do tend to chuck an enormous, jam-encrusted spanner in the works of your career.

But would I swap toiling at the type-face for full-time mumdom? No chance. Not even if the Government did the decent thing and paid women who stay at home and look after their kids.

At the moment we are in a lose-lose situation. Go out to work and you are pilloried as a bad mother who puts her career before her children. Stay at home and you are punished financially by politicians who refuse to recognise childcare as a job worthy of remuneration.

The survey provides no answers to these problems. But it does have plenty more questions of a lighter variety, such as "who is your role model when it comes to juggling kids and a career?"

So who, in our humble and often quite bizarre opinion, are the patron saints of working mums? Queen's counsel, human rights advocate and mum-of-four Cherie Blair maybe, or even anti-war campaigner, drop dead gorgeous older woman, Oscar winner and mother of too many kids to count Susan Sarandon perhaps?

Nah. The top three were Victoria Beckham, Melinda Messenger and Davina McCall.

Once again I feel the chasm between me and the majority opening to life-threatening proportions.

But wait. There is hope on the horizon. I might not be in the majority, but I can certainly see it from here.

A whopping 98 per cent of working mums in our neck of the woods claim to be far too tired for sex.

Hooray, I'm back with you girls. Crack open the chardonnay and pass me the HobNobs.

Updated: 08:58 Tuesday, October 21, 2003