Benjamin Muller, father of three with Celine Kalman: rare secrets about their family life (excluded)

Benjamin Muller (36) is a proud father of three children aged 10, 8 and 4 (a daughter and two sons, born to his union with journalist Celine Kalman). Parenting is a subject that he masters perfectly. On May 25, the book was also released Be a doll dadIn cooperation with experts. The project he entrusted himself with the pure. He also agreed to answer some personal questions. rare secrets.

How was this project born?

About two years ago I wanted to write about parents. And I realized there are a lot of books out there that talk about fatherhood, but it’s often from a humor perspective. As if the women’s books were accurate, complete, serious, and sometimes even dangerous when necessary. So I thought to myself that I would write this book by deciding to speak to men as they are. This means serious people who want real information. So it’s not a comic book about parenthood.

How do you present it?

The book is aimed at expecting parents, new parents, and parents with children up to about two years old. Also I think it’s for moms, because there are a lot of topics for both parents. The idea is that this book feels the zeitgeist, i.e. the sharing of household chores, the sharing of the mental burden, the perfect balance between men and women or freedom of speech. The position of fathers is becoming more and more important in families, it was important for me to highlight it.

How do you interfere as a father on a daily basis?

It’s funny because you would never ask a mother about it. I share like a mother. We are two to have children, to raise them.

Just tired of the do-nothing father cliché?

In fact, it’s no longer a cliché everywhere. Sometimes the women are still the ones who do all the dirty work. It’s true that we’re seeing more men dropping their kids off at school or at their activities, and that’s a good thing. But in the most boring tasks, women still generally bear this responsibility. So the cliché is true to some extent. However, it is changing. I find that the new generation of parents is more and more involved and aware of the issue of task sharing.

What education did you receive?

She was giving, free from any form of violence and vigilance. My father is a doctor and my mother is a nurse in the nursery. They are with the kids all day so they are aware of that. They helped me a lot in gaining self-confidence. We can also talk about our emotions to say what was going well or not. I know that if I’m wearing my sneakers more or less today, it comes from there.

What else must be changed in society in order for parents to take their rightful place?

The way tasks or mental load are divided. In my opinion, what will achieve it all will be equal pay for men and women and equality in companies. The day men and women get paid the same, for an equivalent job, and the day they get the same leave after the baby arrives, we’ll take a big step. We, as an employer, would no longer have the temptation to hire the guy instead, to tell ourselves she’s probably going on maternity leave, for example. And when a parent has to postpone children’s sick days, it will not necessarily be the woman who will have to do so if her income is lower. I think everything will pass through business, more than politics.

You are a columnist at Kindergarten. What is your relationship to the presenter Agatha Likaron?

It’s sun. It’s very fun. For six years, every time I see her, I know I’ll have fun. I laughed with her like I did in sixth grade. Besides, he is a generous person. You taught me a lot about the job. As a kindergarten presenter, she’s great because she often starts shows saying “It’s great we’re parents, we’re going to talk about that today, but what a burnout.” She tells what happened to her. I’m sure it’s very important to viewers. It is the same on air and off air. Having rubbed her shoulders with so many people in the industry, people are rarely like her.

How do you reconcile your professional life and your family life?

Now it’s easier, but I’ve been through very hard times. In some companies, we’ve been dealing completely face-to-face. We had to show up at 8:30 in the morning and leave at 9 in the evening. If we left at 7 p.m., we had the right to think “Well, did you take the afternoon off?” , the unbearable thing. So there was a short period during which I did not see my children. I was exactly what I didn’t want to become. I told myself that I would limit the time I wanted to spend with my family, my priority, and that the remaining time would be for work. So I told myself I would organize myself to leave at 5 pm and enjoy my kids. This means working a lot between 9am and 5pm, eating in front of the computer and working again at 9pm when the kids are in bed. I’d rather do that and be present with my kids. I would like to note that I have a job that allows me to organize myself in this way. There are a lot of professions where you can’t have this flexibility. But when you have the opportunity, I encourage you to do so.

Who takes a sick child a day and one of them is sick?

We succeeded, especially with Covid where it was complicated with classes closing once a child coughed. It was an organizational hell, like everyone else. Since my wife works as a morning journalist at RMC, she leaves for work at 1am and I, live every morning with Les Maternelles. So it’s complicated. I’m lucky to have nice neighbors who can take care of the kids. Otherwise, I went several times to my workplace with my children when the classes were closed. They were in control or behind the scenes.

You mentioned the importance of communication. Can your children come to you if the need arises?

I think I miss things about teaching my kids like a lot of people do but if there’s one thing I’ve succeeded in, it’s it. They know they can talk to me about anything at any time. They are encouraged to talk. It’s not too late to do that.

Has the arrival of your children changed things in your life as a married couple?

I would say that the birth of a child is an earthquake for a couple. Then there are two ways to see it. The couple is clearly not what they used to be but that doesn’t mean they are inferior. It’s just different. The couple will develop with the child. He’ll have big problems at first and experience a “kid’s clash” almost like everyone else. Normal. But through dialogue, the couple is strengthened by the arrival of the baby. We are, made stronger. I think we are higher in our bond since we became parents.

You talk about childbirth, which can sometimes be marked by unexpected events. Was this the case for your wife?

We were fortunate that the deliveries went so well. All three are turned on. The kids were fine, they didn’t want to go outside (laughs). The good side is that we can have a wonderful moment as a couple. We settle in a waiting room. Every time we play music. It’s a suspended time, we don’t know the time now. We find ourselves alike knowing that something incredibly upsetting is going to happen without knowing when. The children are not there, we are alone. I find this moment incredible. I advise you to put your laptop away and enjoy this moment. Especially since when the baby is there, there are no two-and-a-half moments for months (laughs).

How did you experience the postpartum period?

It was a hiccup. For the first child, we find out everything. We have a lack of self-confidence as parents. The second, we have a little more confidence but it inevitably upsets the balance we found with the first. We still know how to manage a little better. The third fact is that we are outnumbered. They are three, we are two. We must stop saying that a third rises on its own, it is void. But in terms of self-confidence, we’re fine.

How were the first names chosen?

I think it’s one of the most wonderful moments of pregnancy because I think like everyone else, we’ve made lists. And in the end we took the first names that were not there. I advise against giving first names to relatives before birth because we deprive ourselves of surprise and run the risk of negative reactions. It kills the magic of the first name.

I mentioned the topic of couvade in the book. Has that happened to you?

I invented the concept of couvade (laughs). I was having a snack with my wife. Psychoanalysts say it is a good thing, that the man is in the process of incorporating parenthood, the new he is on his way to becoming. Concretely, I find it brings you sagging that’s hard to lose a bit afterwards. But if shrinks say it’s cool, that’s a lot better.

What are your other projects?

With my wife, we created a children’s podcast called Encore une histoire. These are stories for children. And since it works so well, we’re releasing these stories into books. We have already launched 4 of them, and the last one is Le Palais de Paul. And this year we publish the fifth. I find it very unusual for someone to send me a picture of a child with one of our Instagram books. So I hope we can still do a lot.

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