KELLY BROWN Mum’s the Word...Deprived of my sleep, just when there is still so much to do...

My life is on a countdown at the moment – but my little man seems to have his own kind of clock. And it is leaving me exhausted.

Suddenly I find myself with only six weeks left at work until my maternity leave starts, nine weeks until my due date and a long list of things to do.

Luckily one of our major items to buy has been ticked off the list with the purchase of a double buggy.

The idea of going out and about on my own with a tiny one and a toddler without a double buggy fills me with terror!

We still have some more bits and pieces to get, including a mattress for the cot, but we still have some time.

And luckily we already have most of the things we need in case baby arrives early.

The trouble is they are all in the loft!

Unlike last time when the nursery seemed to be ready for a lifetime before munchkin arrived, this time around I fear it will be a frantic dash at the finish line.

Perhaps we are more laid-back this time.

Or perhaps with a toddler we are far too distracted to think properly and ensure we have a shop’s worth supply of nappies and wipes.

Distraction has certainly been a real issue this past week or so with our little man deciding interrupted sleep is the way forward at the moment.

It is not his fault. He has a lot to cope with such as potty training (therefore waking up in the night because he needs to go).

And the idea he will have a baby brother or sister arriving soon has had the predictable result of making him more clingy and cuddly.

Add them together with a sudden sensitivity to noises and we have a recipe for his waking up in the middle of the night and being upset when you send him back to bed.

We tell him it is night-time but he doesn’t believe us despite the darkness and half-bed-head appearance of mummy and daddy.

Instead he either wants a cuddle in our bed (cue tears when we say it is too early) or to play with his toys which he is far too tired to do,.

I’m sure it is just a phase (or perhaps it is just wishful thinking the two children are not going to tag-team being awake through the night).

But sleep or no sleep I know I am going to have to put my organised head on very soon and spend a couple of weekends sorting out the nursery, washing all the newborn clothes and packing my hospital bag.

If not then it will be a trip to the shops for my husband for new supplies while our full-to-burst attic remains fully stocked and neglected.

** Benefits are deserved by some, but not all

Much has been said this week about government plans to tackle families living the good life off benefits, while the rest of us work and struggle.

And it is about time, because I know of many I went to school with who fall into that category.

But let’s not forget there are some in this position through absolutely no fault of their own. Those with a partner or child with a debilitating illness for instance. It has to be help for those who need it, but not to those too lazy to earn their keep.