It’s a rare week when the papers don’t run an article regarding Mens slack effort when it comes to them doing their fair share of the household chores.
Stats abound and for the benefit of this article I’ll give you one (from UN women no less and not just the general opinion of my wife). Apparently, even in this more enlightened age, women do 2.5 times more unpaid work than men. Now don’t panic, this is not going to be a piece about how useless and lazy men are. We already know. And as I already stated, not a week goes by yada-yada…
No, this piece is to tell men where they are missing a real trick. According to Facebook executive, Sheryl Sandberg “couples who share chores equally have more sex…choreplay”. I haven’t seen any personal proof of that yet but I could try harder. What my proper tip is this…IRONING, the king of all the domestic chores.
I think I saw the great benefits of ironing subconsciously from my father-in-law. Thanks V. Male readers are probably now envisioning a huge pile of crumpled laundry, waiting to be ironed and thinking that ‘if I wear a jacket, that crumpled shirt doesn’t need ironing anyway’. Well, if you want to look like a scruffy arse, that’s your lookout. The reason ironing is the best chore is TV and the watching thereof. If you are prepared to attack the laundry mound then you can also watch TV and no one can accuse you of slacking. Winner!
My father-in-law obviously realised this early on, because he is now the master of the iron. This is how it works. Set up your ironing board in a suitably convenient spot (tip: it needs to be near a power point, a table for stacking the completed work, a good viewing spot for the telly and preferably not in the main thoroughfare. You don’t want a scalding iron on top of the cat/kid.)
Once the ironing board is in position, international rules clearly state, that you have dibs on the TV and its programming. If you have banked enough wrinkled clothing, this could be at least 2 hours. That’s a Tarantino movie (just) or 4 episodes of Veep or 2 gut ripping chapters of the Walking Dead. Score. It’s also an opportunity to watch the game your wife said you definitely couldn’t watch because she wanted to watch Heston Blumenthal on the other side or to catch up on all the great boy shows (cars, Hitler, criminals, engineering) you banked in your cable-providers hard-drive. Now, if you want to avoid arguments (even though you should be being thanked for doing such a laborious job as the ironing), it helps if you have other TV/Tablet options in your household. This gives you the negotiating edge “but honey/kids, I’m doing this really boring job for you, at least I should be able to choose the show, why don’t you etc.…” (note: if you don’t have these other screen-options, best do the ironing when the residence is empty. This also applies if you want to watch MA+ shows or Porn).
Negotiation successfully concluded, make yourself a suitable beverage (preferably not Alcohol. booze and Ironing never mix as we all know), get that super-glide, steam frothing bad-boy cranked up, set the ironing board to your required height and press play. (Tip: don’t choose a show which is too complex, involves subtitles or has got really strong accents because you are working on that devilish crease, so every split-second you will be distracted by the task in hand and soon lose track of what’s going on).
Two hours later, the job is done, the creases are vanquished, you’ve had some quality TV time and everyone is now in your debt. Now that is my sort of chore.
The family and I have just spent our festive season back in merry old England. The kids had wanted to experience a cold Christmas for the first time so our credit card duly obliged. By and by we had a marvellous time. All the box’s were ticked: Welcoming family and friends – tick, Christmassy vibe – tick, Corny Christmas songs piped out of every shop – tick, Trad Christmas day in quintessential bucolic countryside setting – tick; but but the weather! Shocking, miserable and dare I say it, depressing.
Ok, before you get on your high horse, I agree that you a) don’t go to the UK for the weather and b) we chose to go in winter, so what do you expect. I get that and accept it, but we were unfortunate to be there during the worst gales in 20 years. It was ghastly. It rained EVERYDAY.
When I lived in the UK, I can’t remember the weather much bothering me. It was what it was and you just dealt with it and went about your daily business. I even remember several conversations where I would spout on about how I could never live somewhere hot as, apparently, they had no seasons and that just wouldn’t do at all.
Turns out, though, that I’m a shallow, vacuous, sun chasing gimp. I can’t do wet, windy, cold and miserable anymore. I need regular sun on my pallid skin and a full range of shorts, t-shirts and thongs (flip-flops to you) in my wardrobe. I know this is going to make me look bad but its the only way for me. Don’t think for one minute I’ve turned my back on my heritage and a country that I love, I’ve just turned my back on heavy rain developing in the east with winds gusting to 70 kmh and a temperature high of -1 for the day.
This is not a call to all my friends and family, urging them to move south with the birds. They all seem very happy with their lives and far be it from me to tell them where and how they should live. But but, the weather. For me there is no going back (never say never). I couldn’t do it. I need the guarantee of warmth and sun. I like the fact that in my house I only have air-conditioners to cool and no radiator to warm. I like the fact that I do not own a heavy knit jumper and only a light rain coat. I love you England, but from now on its going to be from a warm and sunny distance.
PS: Its raining here.
Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been, ooh a really long time since my last blog but in my defence I’ve been busy, really busy. Soz.
Apologies out of the way. Just got back from a short trip to the motherland – The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – and it was a great. Continuing with the confession theme, I wasn’t really looking forward to it. Family life was busy and my Uni work was piling up. The timing was off and being a person who likes to be organised, very organised, I was suitably stressed and stroppy. But, as is always the way, the way the other is always right, once I landed and shaked off that feeling of being at the bottom of a swimming pool, I found my straps and had a lovely time.
Now, don’t lets be misunderstood, Australia is home and I love living here. There are so many things which makes life such a pleasure to be in OZ, but if there is one thing the Brits/Poms do better than anyone else its Pubs and in particular, the Country Pub. These lovely old rickety places with that smell of age and warm beer are just a delight to behold and now that they know how to serve a decent plate of food and a drinkable glass of wine, I could almost move in. My Mum and I, for that was who I was mainly visiting, managed to knock off quite a few of these fine establishments and we were never disappointed with our experience. If I could transport one, lock stock and wood barrel, then my life here would be truly complete.
It wasn’t just the Pubs which were a highlight, it was also an opportunity to hang out with my Mum and help her move home. She has spent the last year living with her older brother, which I’m sure has been a challenge for both of them, but the advantage for me was being able to spend time with my Uncle. This is a man, who whilst I was growing up, filled the role of surrogate father . The real one being absent without leave in California. I hadn’t spent this much time with him since I was a kid and I had forgotten what a kind, funny and special chap he is. It has been a great fillip to rekindle a close association and to be able to reconnect in such a strong way. Added to that is the support he and my other Uncle have afforded my Mum during her arduous health difficulties.
In between Pubs, house moving and family, I managed to fit in a few friends as well. Being so far away, I do miss them. These are the friends I have know since I was a kid. These are the friends who have seen me at my best and my very worst and these are the friends who offer unconditional support and relentless piss-taking. We now all have kids, careers and mortgages but the fundamentals of our friendship have stayed the same. They talk about the soul mate and I have found mine, the other, but there should be a category for soul friends. The connection of understanding and support is something very special and something I hold very dear.
I can’t finish this piece without mentioning the rise of British sport, particularly in the context of a Brit living in Australia. Being home and reveling in the consistent wins the country has enjoyed is a complete novelty. A novelty none of my friends, family and I could quite fathom. I’m sure it won’t last but for now its bloody marvelous and I for one am going to bath in it for as long as possible.
I loved being back in blighty with its eccentricities, breathtaking countryside and endless roundabouts but I also love being back home with the family, guaranteed sunshine and endless opportunities for ribbing my Aussie mates about how good we are at sport. Ta-ra.
When you first launch your blog their is this feeling that you need to fill it with inspired and insightful writing. The harsh reality is that most of us don’t have much of interest to say and if we do, its not on a daily basis. Since my last post, I’ve been thinking what I could write about and was drawing blanks – definitely a case of trying to hard. I’m sure as I find my feet and rhythm it will come more naturally.
I often get the feeling, and this must be common to stay at home mums, that people are wondering “what do you do all day, you lazy/lucky bastard?” Well the answer is very mundane. I do whatever the family needs me to do. Sure, some days are busier than others and some days are way more stressful than others. I try and get everything done during the week so that come the weekend, its pretty much all family time. So far this week, I’ve been too pharmacies (for assorted family ailments), the Post Office (to send and receive items), Hardware stores (there’s painting on the horizon) and several Supermarkets. At home, it’s the usual trad jobs – cooking, cleaning, maintenance and laundry (I’m looking at a depressing pile of ironing as I write). On top, is the admin which needs doing with various institutions both here and in the UK and from next week, it’s back to study. A pretty dull list and familiar to most of you, but by doing this stuff (some of which I really enjoy but I’m not going to tell you which) their is plenty of time for the family – last weekend we had footy trials, the Color Run (see below) and the Sydney Mardi Gras Fair and that was just the official activities. For us, as a family, it works and it’s how myself and the better want to raise our kids. It’s not perfect and we have stresses and strains like everyone else, but I have to think all up – we are lucky buggers!.