It is not my intention to get super-personal on this blog, but in order to appreciate what we do at the Little Stone House, I feel I do need to share a few things. Now, when I mention "my boyfriend and I," I'm speaking only of things I know to be true. I don't normally speak for my boyfriend. The fact of the matter is, we think a lot alike. There are plenty of couples who are different enough to balance one another. We support one another, because we have so much in common.
Our family consists of the two of us, the cats, both sets of parents and siblings, and our closest friends. (In our house, close friends are family.) When I refer to "the family" or "a family member," it could refer to any of those individuals. We have no children, and I have no plans to become a mother. I have simply never wanted to go down that road in life. I devote the same energy I would as a mother to my family and to the cats. I try to be good to people and do good things for them.
I work full time, and he works from home. Due to this dynamic, he handles a lot of the household affairs. I pitch in when I am home (weekends, days off, vacations.) I'm grateful that he is willing to do this, because otherwise, my life would be very chaotic! I handle the majority of the cat care, vetting, arranging pet sitting when we travel, etc. It works out well. Neither of us is afraid to ask the other for help when it's needed. The house is in good shape, and I don't believe anyone feels overwhelmed. (Well, OK. Sometimes, I do, but that's my own fault: I have a bad habit of trying to do too much!) The average day when both of us are home tends to be pretty fluid and relaxed. We get a lot done, but I find that neither of us feels stressed. It's a nice way to live.
About twice a month, we visit my parents, who live about 45 minutes away. Even though that could easily be done in a day, we stay overnight in order to avoid exhaustion and stress. Besides, a major reason we go is to help them with their house. This setup allows us the time we need to relax and get things done. His family is up in New England, so quite a ways away. We try to visit them twice a year (we never fly,) and they try and come and visit us once a year or so. Those visits also tend to be pretty relaxed, and I always enjoy visiting with everyone. We see our closest friends once or twice a month, but we are frequently in touch with them online or by phone. We make sure everyone knows they are thought of. I find that, for me, this is pretty good. I'm an introvert, so I tend to need a lot of down time. Of course, we each do things independently of one another as well--that's just healthy.
He's the big cook and gardener, so he does most of that, though I try and cook 2-3 times a week, so that it doesn't all fall on him. I like to cook, but again--with the full time job, I tend to be very tired when I get home in the evenings. If one of us feels sick, the other steps in. No one is forced to do something if they don't feel they can, and no one has a "to-do" list, other than the personal ones we may keep for ourselves. There are no "your chores" or "my chores." We just do.
The majority of the time, we both like to stick close to home and work in our studio. About once a month, we meet up with a group of friends for dinner and socializing. We both like to entertain, so now that the downstairs has been remodeled, we are trying to plan a couple of parties. Even those won't be huge, elaborate affairs, though.
There was a time when I wanted to be into everything and just had to go out all the time, spend money, and buy things. I realize now that that was more of an escape for me than anything else. I was unhappy for a very long time. Now, I'm happy, and my home is a very comforting place to be, so I am happy to spend time there.