“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
I would say I am pretty domesticated. I cook, I clean… I use coasters. I am used to doing those things for myself. I have pretty much taken care of myself since I was 18 years old.
I had my first full-time “well-paying” job when I was in college. I went to Arizona State University, so I was living in Phoenix at the time… which is a lot cheaper than New York City. But I was able to buy a brand-new car and have my own one-bedroom apartment. In hindsight, I probably should have stayed on campus and saved the money, but I was an independent woman. Honestly, I never thought I could live by myself, but I did… and I liked it. My apartment was always clean, I did my own laundry (with my in-unit washer and dryer), had a refrigerator and freezer full of food and drink, and I paid all of my bills.
Flash forward to when I moved back to New York City. I lived with family for a while, but once I got my first job as an attorney, I moved out on my own. “On my own” means… sharing apartments in Manhattan with roommates that I had found on Craigslist. It’s not as scary as it sounds… although the first apartment in Hamilton Heights (West Harlem) was a close call. But by the time I moved to the Upper West Side, in a four-bedroom apartment with three other girls, I was okay. I mean, I was personally paying $1,350/mo for rent to share an apartment with three other people (I had the biggest room in the $4,600/mo apartment), and ordering breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day… but I was okay. I was taking care of myself.
(My old neighborhoods in Manhattan.)
When I met my husband, he was also living with roommates (two instead of three), and we moved in together six months into our relationship. Don’t judge us! When you know, you know… and you know in New York City saving money on rent trumps all! I quickly learned how to live with someone else, and actually care for them. I cooked for him… sometimes, I cleaned for him… sometimes, and I did laundry… sometimes. Actually, I take that back! In our first two apartments (which were in the same house) we didn’t have a washer and dryer, so we got into the expensive habit of dropping off our laundry at the laundromat, and paying someone to do it for us. Dropping off the laundry was his chore.
(Our tiny first apartment together.)
Now that we are married, I feel as if I have a duty to take care of him. We have been married for almost two months now, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have cooked dinner for him at home; I have begged to hire help cleaning this 1100 square foot duplex; I have shrunken two of his cardigans in the laundry (he really wants to be Mr. Rogers); and I don’t quite fold his clothes the way that he does (he folds his shirts as if he works at Abercrombie). I wouldn’t say I am a bad wife, but I am definitely learning. My husband doesn’t fault me for anything, though, and he always tells me that I am doing a great job!
We make up the rules as we go along. For example, whomever is the last to get out of the bed has to make the bed; dishes need to at least get loaded into the dishwasher every night; and his work stuff (and toys) needs to stay in his man cave/music studio/gym/laundry room (the room is multi-functional).
(The man-cave! He gets full autonomy on how to decorate down here, and even has his own bathroom.)
Learning to wife isn’t easy, but I have a lifetime to figure it out!