This is something I need to write about because it resonates so massively with anyone I mention it to in private. And that is, the thing when your husband is working at home and wants to have lunch. With you. Probably something that you have made.
I don’t know why this should be such an incredibly enervating subject but I would say most women I mention this to take a deep breath and cover their mouths and their eyes flip out wide and they just cannot even begin to describe in only words – perhaps with paint, dance, fire – how irritating this is.
Why is it so annoying? As a veteran of working at home in the room next door to my husband, I can say that my husband is really good, now, about the lunch thing. He doesn’t expect it, is grateful when he gets it, doesn’t ask questions or pass comment, is prepared to fend for himself and helps tidy up. But there were years when it was, not expected exactly, but he would say “Whatever you’re having for lunch can you make some extra for me?”
But quite often I skip lunch. I hate lunch, lunch is annoying and usually comes at the time of day when I’m only just getting going doing something. Or if I did have lunch it would be miso soup and crackers. And quite often lunch comes pretty hard on the heels of making the kids’ breakfast, which I do most days. And then planning dinner for everyone – kids at 5.30pm, us at 7.30pm, every day. (Do not, please, tell me to make the same thing for us as for them. One day, maybe, but for now we don’t want to eat the same things and neither of us are prepared to compromise.) Lunch on top of all that suddenly feels like my actual, real job is running this really shit cafe with the world’s rudest customers.
But then I would feel incredibly guilty because my husband works really hard all day every day. Would it kill me to make him some lunch?
Yet as everyone who is in charge of a family kitchen knows – a meal is not just a meal. You have to spend some time thinking about the meal and then making sure you have the ingredients for the meal. Then there is some time before the meal prepping and cooking. Then there is the tidying up afterwards. Even an egg on toast requires a reasonably sophisticated back-office. It’s not just lunch.
Anyway I’m not really saying anything. I’m just getting it out there. It really bothers me, the whole lunch thing. I once spent an entire session with my shrink talking about it.