'My husband is a better ‘housewife’ than I’ll ever be'

Fiona Cowood
family lockdown  - Courtesy of Fiona Cowood 
Stella magazine promotion

What do you call a halfmade glitter pig, a yet-to-be assembled lasagne, fractions homework and a screaming toddler? Clearly the answer is an aneurysm – unless you’re my husband, who is able to deal with all of the above in the kind of jaunty spirits that would make Mary Poppins seem glum.

When the lockdown started, I switched to working from home while my husband James’s job as a television director came to a sudden halt. So for the past two months, the homeschooling, cooking and endless unicorn make-believe with our daughters, aged seven, five and nearly two, have fallen to him.

As someone who moans regularly about ‘maternal load’, I welcomed the shift. James has often had spells working abroad and part of me was secretly happy he might finally acknowledge that looking after three kids on your own can be tough, even without the added challenges of lockdown.

family lockdown  - Courtesy of Fiona Cowood 

Except apparently (and infuriatingly), it’s fine. Den in the living room? Sure. Knock up some whoopie pies? Of course. A worksheet on fronted adverbials? Pass the pencil!

On my watch, all of these things quickly descend into a frazzled, fraught mess. It’s taken lockdown to discover that James is quite simply the superior parent. He plans interesting meals and tidies as he goes. He genuinely enjoys playing hide and seek, while I see it as an opportunity to crouch next to the toilet and catch up on Instagram. Lockdown has shown many – though, ahem, not all – of us that we have hidden aptitudes.

The children will be bereft when he’s back at his job, so I’m hoping that memories of lockdown will prompt him to make it home from work earlier. As for me, I’m going to stop hiding the glitter. Maybe.

Stella Daily Newsletter Particle