There are some upsides to marrying someone in the same line of work as yourself.
First and foremost, I guess, is that you can actually meet your intended at work. This happened to me when I did a two year stint as a television business reporter in Wellington and met my now-husband, a then six o'clock news reporter.
Some couples claim they don't "talk shop" but we certainly do. Well, I don't much any more. It's more the price of nappies, the upcoming Wiggles concert, martini's daydreamed about and the desire to get in the car and keep driving ... and driving ... that I mainly have to offer to my beloved as conversation.
But we can still talk about the finer points of journalism - the jobs we have, the jobs we'd love, the managers that have been awful - a large number in our collective history in print and television journalism - and those that have been great. And so there is still the faint flicker of communal interest we share in something other than our children.
We now also share one more thing now. We are both bloggers. But while husband's blog is concerned with politics, culture, and the wider arena of human experience, mine is quite the opposite. No detail is too mundane or repellent to inform my readers about - it's a collective wallowing in the rather narrow and intense experience of raising young children.
Before anyone gets antsy about that description, rest assured I know the job is important - vital even. It's just that the concerns I have now - whether I will be able to fit my stroller through doors and up ramps; if my child's peanut allergy will lead to a household ban on peanut butter, or if my daughter's birthday cake will in fact resemble a teddy bear or a huge muddy mess (I'm picking the mess) - are completely off the radar of the typical up-and-coming news reporter.
Which is all to say despite the fact I never feature in my dear husband's blogs (Nippy the Gibbon, yes. Brian Tamaki, yes. Wife, no) my poor husband must frequently feature in mine - he being the person I spend the third most time with of anyone in the world, after the kids, and only other person who knows and shares my particular ups and downs.
According to him, my depiction of him has been somewhat less than glowing during the six months I've been Keeping Mum. It may not have been helped that I then went and wrote a "humorous" article for a monthly mag about the imbalance between men and women with regards to household chores.
Naturally I used my own experience to illustrate the point (ie. he's got an honours degree but can't stack the dishwasher etc). It was done with the light touch, and, dare I say it, it was "funny" - but not to him. So I resolve that here, in what's left of this posting, I will innumerate his various fine points just to redress the balance somewhat.
Well, there's really one fine point that stands out amongst others and it is something I notice about fathers time and again. That is, when it comes to rough and tumble, horseplay, and general tomfoolery, my husband is the king of the castle. He has the patience and stamina for the repetitive physical stuff and the kids love it.
He really, in fact, should be at home with the kids all the time because he has a much better temperament for child rearing than myself. (The kids would probably be dressed in bin liners and fed all manner of expired food stuffs, but they'd have lots more fun and probably love every minute!).
What else can I say - he is intelligent, caring and does the hard yards, which is really what you want in your partner in child-rearing. If he comes home he expects to have the kids handed to him immediately; he tries to be home as much as possible to help out and doesn't (openly) yearn (too much) to be elsewhere when the custard hits the fan, as it frequently does.
The kids are clingy to me at the moment, but I'm sure the day is just around the corner when they finally click that kind and playful dad is a better option than often-grumpy mum. It is fabulous to have a husband that is so gifted with children and is happy to step in a take over when necessary.
Now if I could just get him to learn how to stack the dishwasher properly...
Dita De Boni
Pictured above: A father and son ride their bikes through the park. Photo / Chris Callinan, Bay of Plenty Times