Joe Hilde­brand

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents -

is spend­ing more time at home – and his wife isn’t thrilled.

At some point along the time­line of hu­man evo­lu­tion be­tween hunt­ing woolly mam­moths and hunt­ing for the per­fect quinoa salad, some­one in­vented the con­cept of “work-life fe bal­ance”. The idea was that we were all spend­ing too much time at the of­fice ce and not enough time with our fam­i­lies. ilies. Clearly who­ever came up with it didn’t have a fam­ily.

Here is all you need to know about work-life ork-life bal­ance: there is no bal­ance. nce. In­deed, not only is work-life life bal­ance a lie, it’s the worst kind of lie. It’s not just un­true, it’s the ex­act ct op­po­site of the truth. The he “life” bit is in fact ex­tremely remely hard work and the “work” bit is the only chance ance you get to live.

Hav­ing ng just cut back on my of­fice ffice hours to spend more time with my y fam­ily I can as­sure you that the of­fice is not where the real work k lies. At least at the of­fice ffice you can go to the toi­let oi­let with­out a lit­tle so­ciopath th fol­low­ing you ev­ery­where here con­stantly scream­ing ng for more – with the ob­vi­ous ous ex­cep­tion of Kevin Rudd’s udd’s for­mer staffers.

This is why men un­der 40 have big g nights and those over 40 have long lunches. The work­ing day is their only es­cape from work. But of course they then still have to do all the work they were sup­posed to do that day only now have to do it half-pissed. And so they end up stuck at the of­fice un­til 9pm try­ing t to stop the lines on the spread­sheets from shim­mer­ing. That’s how they in­vented the term “work “worka­holic”. But what do you be­com be­come when you are a worka­holic with­out the ac­tual work? Ob­vi­ously we all know the an­swer to that: ann an­noy­ing. This has been made very clear to me by my wife. When I first started work­ing from home I thought I might get a role in House Hus­bands. As it stan stands, I’m now a bet­ter chance for The Bach­e­lor. Part of the prob prob­lem is that men and women a ap­pear to work at home in d dif­fer­ent ways. For ex­ampl ex­am­ple, over the course of a typ­ica typ­i­cal evening my wife will have fed the kids, bathed the k kids and put the kids to bed. I, I on the other hand, wil will have per­fected the most ef­fi­cient way to stack the dish­washer. Like­wise she will spend hours each day sort­ing out child­care, preschool, sleep school, swim­ming lessons, Gym­ba­roo, Baranga­roo and pet­ting zoos while I have man­aged to do four loads of laun­dry in 84 min­utes. I know be­cause I timed it.

Nor does the jux­ta­po­si­tion end there. My wife once took an en­tire af­ter­noon to clean out all our cup­boards but still didn’t find Iron Man’s hel­met. And she won­ders why she’s not the favourite.

Yet, de­spite this ob­vi­ous dis­par­ity, I never seem to get the credit I de­serve. It looks like gen­der equal­ity still has a long way to go. Hav­ing said that, I am far from bit­ter.the truth is that the best de­ci­sion I have ever made is to take time away from work to watch my wife raise our chil­dren. Sure, I’m a trail­blazer, but the true credit be­longs to all those men still drunk at the of­fice upon whose shoul­ders I now stand.

And the most re­ward­ing part is now I have the op­por­tu­nity to sug­gest ways she could be do­ing it bet­ter, al­though this pos­i­tive feed­back only seems to anger her for some rea­son. I guess there’s no un­der­stand­ing women. Joe co-hosts Stu­dio 10, 8.30am week­days, on Net­work Ten.

“Sure, I’m a trail­blazer, but the credit be­longs to the men still drunk at the of­fice up­oupon whose shoul­ders I stand”

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