Three weeks ago, my second daughter arrived into the world. We’ve undergone a bit of a topsy-turvy time since then, and that’s a story for another day; but as we get settled into a bit of a routine, my mother-in-law has stayed with us to help us out with both our new baby and our eldest daughter.
It’s always an interesting experience when you have people staying with you long-term; or when you stay with others long term. It’s different from a holiday which is far more temporary, and different from renting with others where the dynamic is more equitable. When you are in someone else’s space (or they in yours), no matter how amenable the person the experience can often be a challenging one.
There’s three particular times that come to mind where my wife and I have had this experience. The first two occurred a number of years ago with a good friend of mine: he stayed with us as he looked for a house after his rental lease ended, then we stayed with him while we built after our lease ended. Both were supposed to be short term (maybe a total of nine months all up), but we ended up living together for over two years.
While he stayed with us, things were pretty relaxed. My friend is a pretty chill person, and so when it came to sharing responsibilities you could just point him in the right direction and he’d do what needed to be done.
Things changed pretty dramatically, however, when we moved in with him. That chilled personality became more of a curse than a blessing, as he was never motivated to do anything around the house without that aforementioned direction; and the difference when you are living in someone else’s place is you can’t set the expectations.
He lived like his place was a bachelor pad (which in fairness, it kinda was) but my first trimester pregnant wife (points for timing, right?) especially struggled, as dishes were left for days, bathrooms weren’t cleaned for weeks, and the basically nothing got done unless we pushed for it. When it’s your space, you have more of an ability to set the standard; but when you are living with somebody who has been living the bachelor life for a long time, it’s way more of a challenge. You don’t want to feel like you’re ordering somebody around in their own house!
And this brings us to my mother-in-law. First off, on the whole she is incredibly helpful; she is really quick to jump on chores, lend a hand with our daughters, and grab groceries. Unfortunately, once more there is a mismatch in standards.
My wife and I have family as our first priority. That means when a mess is made, we often leave it until later to make sure we are giving our daughters and each other full attention. Because my MIL has such high standards, however, that means she ends up doing nearly everything before we can get to it - and getting annoyed at us in the process. We would have always taken care of whatever chore it was she jumped on - but because she can’t abide by any level of mess, we end up feeling like slobs and under even more pressure in our own space. In this scenario, we’ve become the “friend” in our own house!
Now, this is first world problems to the extreme, just to be clear. But again - it’s just another example of that dynamic changing when somebody’s in your space or you in theirs. It doesn’t matter how helpful, or relaxed, or friendly they may be - it just makes things different.
What about you guys? Have you boarded / lived / stayed with somebody on a long-term basis (or them with you), outside of a standard rental arrangement? How did it go? Was it fun, or did you find it a struggle?
Matty Flatt’s track of the day: Staircase, by Steven Wilson
And now for your links:
David Squires goes in two-footed on Mikel Arteta; VAR, of course, sees no reason to award a red card
BBC: Upsets in the Champions League as Shakhtar Donetsk upset Barcelona. Maybe that’ll make them happy enough that they won’t feel like asking for money for Manor Solomon?
There’s a new sheriff in town: The Guardian on the UK government’s announcement of an independent regulator for football
Polygon: Nintendo is making a live action Zelda movie which oh my God they’re gonna screw it up aren’t they
The Hollywood Reporter talks about how... well, Hollywood wants to scan actors forever and the very good reason why SAG don’t like that