From Goethe, a Faustian bargain occurs when the protagonist is offered his heart's desire in return for his eternal soul. The modern equivalent must be the double income family which can afford to pay for great childcare, and finding that this is necessary.
Fabien is part of our "weekend family" again, so I feel justified in complaining about this to the world at large.
He's presently lost in the hinterland of China for the month of January, and comes back once or twice a week for just enough time to have a couple of meals, play with Sophie, kiss his wife, and disappear on a train or plane. Sophie isn't bothered, she's a toddler and lives in the "now" so the concept of time is inherently flexible. I am reduced to moping, blogging, and reading delightfully misogynist Schopenhauer which makes me wonder how little the preceding generation of bra-burning sisters have done for the cause. We are now in 2008 and still Sophie sees her father going off to "work" being waved off into the horizon by mummy standing on the threshold with baby on the hip. Desperate Housewives are us indeed.
I have a career not a job, and I like it. If I did not get paid to do what I do, I would still do it because it gives me a sense of purpose and a status which i did not feel when I was just the "accompanying spouse". What kind of sick society do we live in that we do not value full time mothers who are unpaid, full time, potty-trainers, snot-wipers, boo-boo kissers, early childhood educators cum playtime companions?
One of the most important aspects of my job - that I can work equally from inside an A380 or in my living room. As long as I can bill a client for the time reading papers, considering their problems and finding a workable solution, I am value-adding, and I can justify not sitting at my desk. To a certain extent, technology both traps and redeems us.
That of course doesn't make it easier to wrench myself away from my little munchkin every morning, although these days, the separation anxiety is entirely mine. She's growing like a weed, and I am constantly pre-occupied with finding the most appropriate school for her right now.