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'organise and plan, ask for help, you can't do everything'

Maria McNulty from Laois is married to Paul and has two children, Matthew (16) and Charlotte (12). She runs her own business supplying personalised chocolate bars from 
www.mariaslittlewrappers.com and Paul works in lighting for the film and TV industry, which means he is away from home for weeks on end.

"Paul has always done this sort of work, so we're used to it, but because each job is different our routine is always changing. It's easier now that the kids are older but even so, if I have a problem or something goes wrong with the house, it can be a worry.

"I think quite a lot of families are probably in the same boat as us. One of you needs to go where the work is - and if that means commuting or staying away from home, then so be it.

"I'm lucky that I can work from home and fit my hours around the family, which quite often means I'm working at midnight.

"I would advise anyone who is in this situation to try and organise and plan a bit more, don't be afraid to ask people for help, sometimes you just can't do everything yourself.

"When Paul does come home he will usually be found outside as we have a large garden which takes some maintaining - but he loves being out there. If I'm particularly busy, he will do the shopping for me.

"Sometimes I'm so busy I end up working most of the weekend as well - basically it can be very hard and there are never enough hours in the day, but that's just the way it is."