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Let me know when you think of anything

 A couple of days ago after our groceries were left on our doorstep, I came to the realization that something was really wrong. Not only because they forgot my fresh pasta among other things. But because my boyfriend reminded me that I forgot fresh veggies for our weekly healthy, well kinda, tortillas. As he realized my mistakes, he added "You'll have to order it tomorrow".

Funny enough, this isn't about the fact that I purposely forgot about the veggies but the fact that he was expecting me to place the order. No worries, my boyfriend of almost 7 years isn't the kind of man that will expect a woman to do everything, well not on purpose. He didn't wait for me to respond before adding "sorry I meant we'll have to order it tomorrow." Although he realized his mistake, the damage was already done and it led me to think 'how did we come to this?' 

Growing up as the last child of a family of five and three children, I was a late bloomer on a lot of different levels, but this story's for another time. What I meant is apart from cleaning the table after dinner and putting my dishes in the sink or dishwasher after breakfast, I didn't learn how to do my laundry before leaving for a two weeks vacation abroad when I was 17 years old. I didn't know how to use the vacuum cleaner, let alone know how to clean my own bathroom until I was close to leaving the house for a year of studying in Dublin and living on my own.

Although for some people I might be right on time and even for some ahead of my time, for me and myself only, and probably to the liking of my family, I was definitely late to the party. Because my parents had a very clear idea of adult life, they expected us to be out of the family house before turning 25. Imagine my parent's concern when my 25 years old sister was still fully leaving at home with no intent to leave anytime soon... Let's say that on her 25th birthday, my dad came home from work with a really ugly and embarrassing hat for her to wear to celebrate her not intent to move. Fortunately, I escaped my not-so-funny father's rit of passage by having the keys to my first real apartment a day after my 25th birthday. To be fair I had already left at 20 years old for Ireland, only to come back 9 months later, not with a baby but with six suitcases after way too much shopping in lovely Dublin. By the time I moved into my new and not-so-shiny apartment with my boyfriend, I was independent, I did my cleaning, my dishes, my laundry, my grocery shopping. My boyfriend on the other hand... Was on a whole different level.

Being the daughter of a very Jewish mother, my mom always wanted me to follow along with traditions and learn how to cook very typical, traditional, Jewish dishes for the Shabbat diner. I did not learn how to cook but I did catch the love for cooking and spending time in the kitchen. By the time I celebrated my 16th years old birthday, my mom was sick and my dad was the one having to cook for the three of us every day. When I turned 18 I decided it was time for me to help out, and from time to time I managed to cook a lovely meal for the two of us. For my boyfriend, on the other hand, it's another story. I grew up with a very privileged and coddled brother, who was the prince of the house, protected by my loving mother. So let me start my writhing that with this experience with growing up with a boy at home, I expected all men to be this way. I might be wrong but my boyfriend's upbringing proved to me I was not, in his case.

I re-encountered my boyfriend while leaving abroad in Dublin. The two of us met on an exchange student trip in London when we were 16 years old. Oddly, we ended up in the same city 4 and a half years later although we had completely lost contact. He messaged me on my 20 years old birthday after he saw on my Facebook page that I was leaving for Dublin a few months later. 'I guess I'll see you in Dublin', he had typed in. 4 months later we met on a corner of a busy street in the city center of Dublin and ended up spending the whole day together. After this first date, we didn't leave each other sight and spend most of our time walking and talking. I quickly realized we didn't live the same lifestyle when he started describing one of the three meals they cooked in the dorm he was sharing with two other students. Let's say, that he didn't cook for me for about 4 years after this. The first day I went to his dorm, the small apartment was not feeling very lovely. The whole place was dark, cluttered, and small. In his room, piles of clothes and empty shopping bags, and rolls of toilet papers were laying on the floor. The bed was not made. While dishes were piling up in the sink, an almost empty orange juice bottle was having a party with pasta's leftover and a pack of beer in the fridge. I did not set a foot in the bathroom.

When we got back to France, we were splitting our time between my parent's house and his family's apartment. While at his place, I realized how things were easy for him. His mother was doing most of the meals, while his dad was taking care of the laundry. His small room was a continuous mess. You would expect a 21 years old boy to have a sense of organization, he did not. Every time I stepped into his room, I thought to myself "boy, living with you is not gonna be easy". I was not wrong.

When we finally moved in together after 5 years, our relationship took a turn I didn't expect. We were now sharing a living space while being two completely different individuals. The first time we argued in the apartment, the unmade bed was to blame. The second time the dishes got in the middle of it. The third time, it was the vacuum. It took a year for us to find a balance and a routine where we each had our share of chores. After two years of living together, I cannot say it's perfect. By adding a new member of our family, still not a baby but a dog, things took another turn because now new chores were adding up. While my boyfriend does most of the walking, I do most of the feeding and we share the cleaning and playing, there are still things that fall on my hand regarding the house chore. Especially when it comes to thinking about it. While my boyfriend knows when our fridge is empty, I'll have to remind him that we need to go shopping. When clothes are piling up in the laundry basket, I'll think to load the machine and ask him to unload him. And it goes on and on. Why is it that women always have to do the thinking?

In old movies, women often ask their screen male partner "What are we going to do?". In reality, my boyfriend asks me this question daily. While I'm not complaining, well actually I am, I wonder why, when it comes to chores, men are ofter the ones falling behing. Should we still pin this on the patriarchy, when does it all end? In the 60s women were expected to stay at home and take care of the house and the children while men were out making the money. 70 years later, most men are still expecting women to be in charge of the household may they be aware of it or not. Is it going to take another 70 years to create a new reality for the household? Just the time for new parents to teach their sons and daughters to be equal when it comes to taking care of the house.

Just some thought on the question...



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