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How husband keeps her political career on track

Judith Cochrane (37) is an Alliance MLA for east Belfast where she lives in Belfast with husband Jonathan, a software engineer, and their two daughters, Emma Rose (8) and Jessica (5). She says:

Jonathan takes care of all of the cooking, packed lunches and homeworks as well as the school run and picking up the kids from childminders. He's the one who goes to the supermarket on Saturday morning and all I get to add to his shopping list are any toiletries I might need. When I want to cook I'm not allowed.

The kitchen is mostly his domain and Jonathan also does the washing up afterwards. Sometimes, though, I go and give it an extra clean later as he can miss some things – crumbs in the cutlery drawer or just little bits in the corners.

To be honest, if Jonathan didn't work from home I don't think I would be able to do my job as an MLA. We might not have an exact 50/50 split when it comes to household chores but without him doing everything he does I would be lost.

Because he's home he starts to cook at 5pm because the children need to eat early; he also goes over their homework with them before that. Primary school kids can't do their homework at 8pm when I'd be able to help them – they need to be in bed by that time.

Stormont is in session on a Monday or a Tuesday so I tend to work very late on those nights. I don't bring work home with me – I'll look at emails, but that's it.

All my papers and reading are done in the office. When I'm not at home the girls keep in touch with me by Facetime and texting so at least we're still able to communicate.

Because Jonathan takes care of the cooking side I get left with the cleaning. I do the bathrooms, the Hoovering, the laundry and most of the general housework.

Lots of people think that Jonathan does more around the house than I do but it's not true – I manage our finances. He doesn't have a clue what any of our bills are and I'm the one making sure there's money put aside for a family holiday or any other big occasion.

I would call the division of our household chores about 65/35.

Though I have to do it, I don't like housework at all. I loathe cleaning the loos and I'm not fussed on ironing either though at least I can catch up with TV when I'm doing that.

It's not unusual for me to be ironing at 2am. I haven't had many housework disasters although I've probably Hoovered up a pet rock – a stone one of the girls will have painted.

Our house is full of things like that so there can be the occasional mishap with them disappearing or getting thrown out accidentally when I'm doing a whirlwind tidy up."

I travel a couple of times of year but other than that I work from home. I cook for the kids and take care of the homeworks. I tend to eat with the kids during the week too as Judith doesn't get home until very late. We'll eat together as a family at weekends, though.

Because I do the cooking I'll do the shopping too – I've always had an interest in it since I was a student and I've done a few cooking classes over the years. Judith will cook when she has the time though. It's usually a roast on a Sunday.

I really hate doing the loos and I can't stand ironing – apart from the odd shirt in an emergency I just don't do it. I don't mind taking care of the garden but I'm not passionate about it.

I just cut the grass and do the weeding."

Belfast Telegraph


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