The Ronan family have asked that husband and father, Tim Ronan, return to working from the office as soon as possible. They have cited his constant presence in the home as having a detrimental effect on the family he professes to love.
‘He’s never not under my feet,’ Margot, his wife says. ‘I thought I would just have to hold out for the pandemic to end. But he’s in discussions about making working from home permanent. I told him I was worried if he was here all the time that the mystery would go out of our marriage. You know what he did? He started wearing a balaclava around the house. I do love him, but he’s an idiot. I need him out.’
It’s not just Tim’s wife who is at her wits’ end. ‘He’s massively overestimated the esteem he’s held in in this family,’ his daughter, Terri, aged 14, says. ‘He hijacked the one spare room, which we all used to use, for his “study” to work. But I know he spends most of his time just writing stories for some so-called satirical website. It’s desperate.’
The experience of the Ronan family is one that family psychologist, Jane Edwards, says is on the rise. ‘Fathers and husbands, working from home during the pandemic, revelling in the chance to spend more time with their families; unfortunately, they do so without asking themselves if they’re the type of person whose family actually wants to spend more time with. And they don’t ask that question for good reason. The answer is often painful.’