We’re having a prelaunch cocktail party tomorrow, for the baby. Because I’m sure he’ll want to know how cool his parents were before he was born and they turned all gouty and stay at home. In honor of the celebration, Will has not only made a cocktail party playlist (20 hours long and counting) but he has also taken to housework.
In a spurt of nesting not seen since just before Caroline was born, Will has been sighted vacuuming the tops of wardrobes, scrubbing obscure bathroom tile and considering mopping the floor. If you were to check the attic shelves today, you would even find them dust free. (Sunday would be another story, plaster walls shed dust at a remarkable rate, demonstrating the second law of thermodynamics with abandon).
This preparty cleanup has impressed our babysitters to no end. Yesterday Marie sat me down and, over our daily coffees, told me what a gem Will was, so clever and hard working yet still willing to dive into house help. From there we jumped into a discussion of nationality differences, and how men’s attitude towards housework seemed to vary from one country to another. After further thought we decided that the political system men grew up under might have more to do with how much they helped around the house rather than their nationality.
Marie said that before World War II, Czech families had a balanced approach to work. Women worked inside the home and took care of the children, men worked hard at work and took care of house maintenance. A balance existed between what they did and no one worked much harder than the other. Then came the war, and the advent of communism, and women were expected to work at home, take care of the children, but also work full time at work. Men were only expected to work at work. This created an imbalance of power between the genders, and led to what Marie calls the "degeneration" of several decades of men.
Before we reached the bottom of our coffee mugs, Marie had concluded that maybe, with the current twenty-something generation, family life would rebalance itself. I agreed and privately told the baby in the belly to get ready to dust with his dada, but not to worry, we had a great sound track ready for him to clean along to.
Dining out for Life
17 hours ago