I'm having a very intriguing experience. Living with roommates is always fun, but lately my roomie's girlfriend has been over pretty much every day, and it's exposed me to a very different dynamic.
My roomie is a guy who works as a DJ under the table, and does a home based health product business. He makes enough to pay the rent, and we get along pretty well, so this isn't a gripe fest. He's a pretty good roomie.
But over the past couple months his girlfriend has been over every day. She sticks around even when he isn't here. For example, it's pretty routine for him to go to the gym every day. If he is at the gym working out, she's scrubbing his bathroom from top to bottom, vaccuming his room, doing his laundry, etc. All of it without being asked. She'll relax and watch TV for a while. I see her go through the routine of getting all dolled up for him when he comes home, and having food on the table, hot and ready, when he walks in the door. The first few occasions, I thought it was sweet. But over time, it seemed odd to me. I believe that is through no fault of hers - just a huge difference in our upbringing.
See - he works less than 30hrs/week. He does DJ 2-3 nights/week and that's pretty much it. He spends his time going to the gym and working out, or surfing the net for more music.
She aspires to be a Domestic Goddess, keeping the house clean, raising the kids - ya know, the American Dream type (and God knows we DO NEED women with these qualities in the world as much as the go-get-'em professional types).
And then there is me - I've helped boyfriends keep their places up from time to time in my life, but never on a regular, daily basis. I have the mentality of, "This is your space. You're an adult. I'll help when you're overwhelmed or when I feel the urge, but it's not something to expect of me." Then again, I've been working full time since my teens- often more than 1 job at a time. Housekeeping for me is a weekly thing. I do the vaccuming, dusting and laundry about once a week. I cook on the regular and clean the kitchen here nightly, if not daily. I've expected the men I've been with to keep their own space as they like it, the majority of the time. We all get overwhelmed sometimes and need some help, but on a daily basis? Forget it.
I might assume that I'm less helpful than her, less selfless, more self-absorded, etc. But I look at my parents relationship as my model. Since they've been married almost 40 years, and are happier now than I've seen them in a long time, I have to assume they are doing SOMETHING right.
Mom was a Domestic Goddess for 13 years, but had skills as an RN and went back to work when our family hit a financial hicup.
Her mom moved in with us when I was 5, and spent her time working as a daycare provider, or voulenteering in some capacity. When she couldn't do that, then she kept the house up as her way of contributing to the family's success.
Dad traveled for business, but when he was home, his attention was on the family.
When my brother and I wanted something, we always had to earn it. We wrote essays on the Pros and Cons of the thing we wanted. We did chores. We saved up.
So working hard at something with monetary rewards became something vital to both of us. I can't remember a time I haven't been able to support myself. There as about 6 months of my marriage where I supported my little family of 2. Even though I'm working on changing fields, I'm grateful for the skill that I have (CPC -Certified Medical Coder) and I know I can always fall back on it if my more creative persuits don't work. I can't imagine NOT being able to support myself and trusting someone else completely with meeting my monentary needs. It's frightening and seriously doesn't even dawn on me to ask that of someone. Some blame my independent streak on being adopted. Others have just chalked it up to "that's how she is." Whatever the reason, I suppose we all see "partnership" as something different.
Some see it as: "He brings home the bacon and she fries it up!"
Others see it as: "His, Hers, and Ours".
Some see it as both people working hard at jobs, and at home when it needs to be kept up.
I guess I see it as something ever evolving - but sorry guys. NO WAY am I cleaning YOUR bedroom and bathroom DAILY. Personally, I feel that's enabling someone to continue to be a slob, but if I don't live in it, I don't care. It just ain't gonna happen. Even when it's OUR bathroom/bedroom, it's probably NEVER going to be a daily thing...
But you know what 'they' say... "Never say never." Who are 'they' anyway?
I suppose that's the topic for another blog.