I think I may be a teensy bit in love with Jamie Oliver.
Not in the 'rip his clothes off shag him into next week, Taylor Kitsch kind of love' but in the 'thank god there are folk out there, celebs even, that say "marriage is hard" and are honest way. (And his is not of the school of Gwynnie "my life is perfect, have you seen my freshly baked organic cookies and my abs are still rock hard.")
In The Sunday Times mag, he talked about how he was expected to do more at home, the more time off he took - which in fairness sounds like most marriages. Women who have been left holding the babies, want a break as soon as their tag team walks through the door. They also bicker. Hallelujah! Someone admitting that day to day is a world of negotiations, quiet simmerings, frustrated looks and endless compromise. The interviewer admitted his wife struggles with being a full time Mum - she gets bored, she misses work. (We could be friends for sure). Jamie then pitches in with 'They do say, and I see it as an employer of thousands of women, that the most unhappy women are the full time workers and the full times mums, and the ones who are the most happy are the two to three dayers. I see both models of Mum and definitely the ones that remain engaged, vivacious, humorous, have got the mechanism of work in their lives.'
The only time I had a little fleck of disgust with his wife was when Jamie said 'She doesn't necessarily get every project I do. She's like 'But why do you care? If you're not going over there and doing it for the money, then why do you care?'
Nice Jools - sitting in your two-put-together mahoosive Primrose Hill mansions, with your designer shoes and endless bank account funds, why would you care about more philanthropic deeds? There again, she may just be a Mum on the edge who needs a break. Here's a thought - hire some help Mrs Oliver, and go do something fun. Then you might be more supportive of Mr O trying to encourage American kids to eat some greens?
Apparently it is all flexi time and work life balance if you work for Jamie - but I wonder if this extends to the folk who produce his TV shows? I doubt that on a budget in the US, that half way through the day the director will feck off to pick up his/her kids or shooting in a studio in Wembley, the producer will nip home to do tea. If it is the case - Jamie, where so I sign up? An employer like you, a man, who understands the plight of Mothers, is quite frankly the holy grail of employers.
Jamie clearly has a heart of gold and an admirable ambition to be a provocateur - funding schools' kitchens and supplying dinner ladies on his endless quest to make us all eat a bit better. But he is also a father of 4 who is needed at home. No matter the help you have with kids, it is always better when you are together as a family. Everyone mucking in, the team supporting one another.
The thing I found most heartening about the whole interview was his complete honesty. If only more people were as brave as old Jamie, the world would be a better place. Instead we are forced to buy into the bullshit idea that everyone has a Tom and Katie style romance, that happy every after exists, that marriage and kids is one easy road.
No one has all the answers, not even Jamie.