No-win situation for those without children

The lady wife (as you may have previously gathered) seems to be taking more than a passing interest in my career. Nothing wrong with a power behind the throne, I say, but it does seem she’s a bit more on edge these days, complaining I’m not quite the man she wants me to be – and telling me I’m not getting “all I’m due”.

Of late, this has taken quite a worrying turn. “Hartley!” she boomed only the other morning, “quite how much longer are you going to tolerate running the department single-handed? That’s the second holiday we’ve postponed. You’re becoming a victim of discrimination”. Ahem, victim? Me?

But perhaps I can see her point: For some 15 years now we’ve lived a happy life – continental holidays, weekends away, an extended break with the family Down Under. Well, we’ve been able to, particularly since that doctor in Harley Street told us the stork wouldn’t be passing our way.

However, in the department we’ve lately had quite a rash of maternity and paternity leave which, even with the best of interim cover, has left all sorts of cracks. So one way or another Hartley and Nigel (bless the dear boy), have been bridging all sorts of gaps.

Which I suppose is what the lady wife objects to. She’d rather I was home tending to our own lives instead of picking up the pieces so that every-one else can tend to theirs. And perhaps she is right, perhaps all this family-friendliness is getting out of hand, particularly for those of us without families.


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