It’s been nine months since F. is a homemaker , an unemployed man. I did not think I had to write that one day. Graduated from a major business school and having obtained an MBA from a prestigious university in New York, we had never considered this case.
We always want the best for those we love. And that worst was not done for him.
Yesterday I heard two men talking in the street. This is what inspired this article. One said to the other that the French no longer divorced because of infidelity. The first cause of divorce today in France is the loss of employment of the family man. He also insisted on the word “man” as for immediately to highlight the improbability of the situation – which obviously put me in a black rage.
I immediately thought of my brother, saying that he would not have liked to hear that – especially not from other males. However, F. does not have an ego problem and his pride is never misplaced; he knows he can always count on me because he counts for me. What is exceptional about this?
Generally, we all love to tell each other how much we love each other – to the moon and beyond, over the stars, forever and ever, but when do we think we are reassured that we can count on each other? I’m not talking about stretching out the shoulder so the other person can cry – I do not mean there: making important financial concessions without blaming the other person, drawing on personal pleasures to offer other pleasures but to an entire family and endure the inevitable taunts about this family building may be too original, modern, atypical for the most stupid of them. Sounds simple? And yet …
My situation, however, is neither original nor singular – my spouse has made the choice to stop being exploited to take advantage of his family and to reconvert himself to a field that would correspond more and that would take into account his skills , his qualities and his level of studies. This decision was the result of mutual agreement and I find it rather daring.
Since the end of his professional activity, my priority is that he remembers every day that we made this decision to two and that his inactivity would not change anything to my love, my respect and my interest for him. If you have been unemployed, you know how easy and fast it is to feel excluded, transparent, useless.
Since he is a homemaker nothing has changed except that he is no longer present – this is the main reason why he stopped working in the field of mass distribution. Yes, I often felt like a single mother and nine months later, all my resentment did not completely dissipate. It was difficult for everyone but I think I was the main victim in this case and our family life (and our couple) were the first collateral damage of this mistake of course of which it is the only one responsible. For a long time I wanted him but let him live the past where he is. After all, he is fine since no one can do anything for him.
Some may, however, imagine that because my spouse is at home all day and does not “work” (as an employee I hear); it does everything and therefore me, I just have to enjoy a tidy apartment, more time for me or for my friends and I enjoy every evening dishes simmered for long hours . It is not so. We often eat “on the go”, we do not always find time to hug and our studio looks like a war zone very quickly. The girlfriends raise me by always leaving the same joke “well you come more to the evenings ?! And I do not remember the last book I read.
Children and time do not spare parents and they are unemployed or doctors.
We relieve ourselves by distributing more or less equal parts of the household chores. Undeniably, he will always do more than me since I am a full-time employee and therefore I work outside the home. Despite my tiredness, the trips, my sometimes stressful days and my mood swings, I try at night to give a few minutes to the storage of the house by doing for example the evening dishes or by passing a blow of brooms – this which allows him to agree 25-30 minutes with Chiara (that we recover at the nanny together every day at 17:30) or to smoke a cigarette alone .
I wished that we spent more time with the family, that Chiara could take full advantage of her dad, that we leave for a romantic weekend or three, have time for my projects but I did not never desired that one is dependent on one another and that one ends up suffocating.
Of course there are moments without, small inequalities can create conflicts, criticisms are easy but excuses have also learned to become so. I reviewed my goals, my dreams, my ambitions downward, each release, each expense is the subject of a long debate, we learn to be content with little, we find pleasure elsewhere and the smallest attentions, those we did not see before, manage to do the same good. Because we only see well with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.
It’s been nine months since F. is a housewife, a dad fully there, a spouse who prepares my coffee every morning and hugs me to say hello. Nothing has changed in the bottom if not our happiness. It is simpler, more banal, less extravagant, less demanding and more rational.
Our pockets weigh less and the beautiful landscapes, I see them elsewhere; failing to feel the heat. I know the flavor of each of Picard’s frozen dishes and I wear the only “real” precious jewel that he could offer me as if it were worth a life.
And my life, my life with you, looks like an unfinished picture in the dark colors that the rain would have swept away in soft, pastel hues. Your presence is like a love song in which we can hear “some people are so poor … all they have is money”.