I’m enjoying a few days off from the office this week, and as well as catching up on a million things, I’m trying to squeeze a couple of friends in – and I do mean squeeze, quite literally.
A dear buddy I caught up with this morning has recently started a new job, which, as we all know, is a time-consuming beast. With both of us attempting to juggle work and kids, a meet-up was proving elusive – until, all of a sudden, a window of opportunity arose.
“I can do Tuesday morning, after drop-off,” she texted.
“But only until 9.”
“That’s great,” I replied. “We’ll talk fast.”
And talk fast we did, over eggs benedict and tea, in a frilly restaurant that resembles the inside of a doll’s house, near school.
This lovely friend has children who are a few years older than my own and is a font of information about the myriad issues that arise. I was picking her brains about homework – when will they do it without me breathing down their necks? How much per night? When, oh when, does it get easier?
And why does the homework buck seem to stop squarely on the woman’s shoulders?
“It’s like a government,” she suggested. “I’m the Ministry of Education and the Department of Health. He’s the Ministry of Transport.”
It made perfect sense, put like that.
“He’s also the Chancellor of the Exchequer,” she continued.
And, when you think about it, there’s more: Food Standards Agency (me); Revenues and Customs (him); Archives Department (me); Department for Environment (me); Treasury (him); Ministry of Justice (shared, though DH is better at breaking up the boys’ fights than me); General Secretariat (me); Ministry of Social Affairs (me); Foreign Office (him); Ministry of Labour (depends what kind of labour you’re talking about). I could go on.
But as for the homework, we concurred – it’s, unfortunately, one of those pink jobs – which, given that my worker bees aren’t exactly cooperative, merits a big sigh.