I know this title is bound to get under the skin of some househusbands, or wives of househusbands. But trust me, it has nothing to with people of either gender staying home to cook, clean and care for their family all day. It is about husbands who ordinarily go to work between the hours of nine and five, from Monday to Friday, staying home.
They may be sick, or in need of a day off, or like mine, about to sit for the Fellowship exam of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons for the fourth time, but the one thing they have in common is that they expect you to put your day on hold, just because they are around. If unwell, they’ll whine like they are the first persons in the history of the world to ever have a cough, cold or a mild temperature. Fair enough if they have cancer, but the average husband who chucks a sickie doesn’t have that.
Sometimes they just feel like staying home. I’m all for spending time on the couch and holding hands but when they want to do it from drop off until pick up from school? Sometimes they don’t even want to hold hands. They just want you to drop everything, and I mean everything, to hear them whine about life, their hairline, their waistline, their work, while you wonder who’s going to pick up the bread and milk and put the trash out. I get that they want to connect and communicate like I’m doing now, but can we do this after I’ve had a chance to at least use the toilet?
For my part, inspiration for this entry came about when His Royal Highness asked me to look at him while he was speaking. In other words, give him my undivided attention. Mind you, I had woken at the usual time of seven, walked our daughter to school and walked myself home in the drizzling rain, opened my laptop expecting to do some writing when his insistent voice came from our couch.
“What’s more important than your husband?” is his favourite phrase. He’s a Leo. This morning it was, “What’s three more days?”
Nothing, if you have been spending weekdays and weekends by your self for the last five years! “Just concentrate on your exams,” said I, hoping he’d leave me alone.
“Come over here and let’s talk.”
“Why don’t you just, just, just … ” What was a good phrase for asking your spouse to get lost without hurting his feelings? “Just try and centre yourself. Meditate.”
“Come over here.”
“Look, I don’t want to get into an argument with you before the exam. If you keep insisting, I am going to get cross and we will have one.” Perhaps I was edgy because I had heard from his colleagues that he is as good an operator as those who passed on the first go, and if not for being continually picked on for his less than impressive command of English, would have long passed.
“Fine. Wake me up at eleven. My exam is at twelve.”
And with that good people of the world, peace was restored in the palace. His Royal Highness had his nap and I managed to get some work done.