My loving husband was in Luxembourg (glamourous foreign destination revealed) for work. Ireland continues to be cut off from the rest of the world by the machinations of the unpronounceable Icelandic volcano. So, my loving husband flew to London from Luxembourg this afternoon, is currently standing on a train from London to Wales and later tonight will be getting the night boat which will bring him into Dublin at 6.55 fresh as a daisy. Irish airspace will reopen at 4.00 am.
The reason for the planes, boats and automobiles extravaganza is that the children are off school this week and I minded them today and yesterday and it is Mr. Waffle’s job to mind them on Thursday and Friday while I return to work. I pointed out that he would be in no condition to mind them tomorrow morning and I am putting off my return to the afternoon. I asked him with some asperity whether it would not have been better to stay in Luxembourg rather than martyr himself in this way. He pointed out straight back that he rang me this morning when the decision had to be made and I didn’t answer my phone. This is, alas, my “especial foible” so I retired in disorder.
There is a point to this narrative so bear with me. It illustrates my husband’s highly developed sense of duty. This sense of duty combined with an excellent upbringing and, I am sure, his own innate virtue, means that my husband and I share all domestic tasks: child minding, cooking, cleaning, laundry, bill paying, you name it, we share it. I have absolutely no complaints. But here’s the thing. We’re both stretched and exhausted. Yes, I am sure that it would be worse for me, if my husband were useless, but it’s no bed of roses either. I say this in some distress for I often see things to the effect that when men do their share, it will be all better. Well, based on my experience, it won’t be as much better as people seem to think. I suppose you can dispose of those tedious arguments people seem to have about laundry and hoovering and use the extra time to watch BBC 4. The traditional model works well for the working spouse (almost always the husband). The two parents working model where all the work is shared is exhausting for both parents. I can’t tell you how much it annoys me to have to concede this but there it is.
And today, the children and I went to the newly re-opened Natural History Museum which we all enjoyed very much. I thought you would like to know. If you ever find yourself at a loose end in Dublin with small children, I recommend it.