"It's impossible," she said. "I'm going to have to quit."
I was sitting across the table from one of the most impressive and talented women I have ever worked with.
She prides herself on a work ethic that matches her talent, an unflappable nature, a list-ticking level of organisation that intimidates those of us who are a bit more... free form, and a passion for what she does that has seen her build a career to a respected, enviable height.
Watch: Be a "good" mum. Post continues below.
"No-one can do it," she went on. "It's a lie. Mothers can't work."
"Of course they can," I said, as gently as I could manage. "I do."
She looked at me the way a dog looks at the boot that kicked it.
"Why didn't you tell me it was this f***ing difficult?"
Oh. I thought I did.
My brilliant colleague had just come back to work after having her first child. Part time. Her almost-toddler was in daycare on the days she was working.
The first years of that transition are brutal.
Every phase of parenting has its own peculiar hells.
The all-consuming terror of those first days at home with a newborn, where the weight of what you've just done - made yourself literally responsible for the survival of what you love most in the world - settles on you like a lead jacket.
The waves of anxiety that buffer you as you deal with milestone culture and endless imposter syndrome. Every other mother seeming to know what to do. Every other kid is sleeping/eating/rolling/crawling on the schedule spelled out in that bloody parenting app, while yours seems stubbornly unaware of the timeline.