Learning to Live with People (again)
February 3, 2011 17 Comments
A little over 6 weeks ago my little sister came to live with me.
Things have been going fine aside from the whole “I want to drop out of school and move in with my boyfriend” fiasco.
You see, before she moved in I was living by myself. I lived alone for 3 years. I got used to living alone.
I knew when I saw a mess that it was mine. I could leave the clothes in the drier as long as I wanted because I knew that I would be the next who needed to use it. I could listen to whatever music I wanted, have whomever I wanted over whenever I wanted, I could make food for myself and have it just be for myself. And as lonely as that may sound, I enjoyed living alone. Nay, I loved living alone.
I knew there would be some adjustments having my sister living with me. But there are a lot of things I also didn’t think about.
For instance, I’m WAY more clean than her (btw, anyone who has ever step foot in my apartment will tell you, I’m not an exceptionally tidy person). When I make dinner, I pick up the dishes before I start eating so that when I’m nice and full I don’t have to worry about cleaning. She’ll clean up her dishes… one… two… days later. I like to clean up the kitchen counter every time I cook. I don’t think the kitchen counter has seen a wash rag moved by her hand.
Now, I ask her to pick up a little bit more, and try to do it in a non-passive aggressive way. But I know that if she’s adjusting to my levels of cleanliness, I also need to be understanding of hers and find a middle ground.
Her mom is also a major anal-retentive OCD clean person who would just do things for her if she didn’t do them, so I’m trying to avoid doing that without resorting to living in a pig sty.
I like just doing a quick pick up of my stuff before the end of the day to make sure that everything is nice when I come out the next morning. Since she’s been here Jack (the dog) has eaten her trig homework, her communications book, and started on her chemistry homework before I stopped him. I’m not sure how many of her school things he’s going to have to eat before she learns to keep her stuff in her room.
Oh, and have I mentioned that she takes absolutely no initiative of her own to take out the trash? It just sits there unless I say “Hey, um, would you mind taking that out next time you go work out? Thanks!”
But, I’d have to say that the thing that bothers me the most is that she uses my stuff. She was using my hair brush the other day. She hangs her jacket over my towel when she showers. She eats my food without asking (even though I buy her food, she hasn’t quite gotten the concept that I’m not a parent, I’m a roommate and there is a “mine” and a “yours”). It isn’t your stuff sister, so stop using it!
I’m trying really hard to not get angry about little things. I know that in the grand scheme it really isn’t a big deal if she uses my toothpaste. But it still aggrevates me because she didn’t pay for it. She didn’t pay for any of it. And somehow she expects me to think she’s “grown up” enough to live on her own?
I’m realizing more and more how important it is for teenagers to go to college – if nothing else than to learn to respectfully live with another person. The dorm experience or a shared apartment off campus with other students is such an important part of development. Also, isn’t that why they say you should never room with your best friend when you go to college? They should amend that to include your big sister, too.
I’m trying to keep my cool and be reasonable. And our plan is to sit down monthly and discuss any issues. I also don’t want that to be just a bitch session so I need to find a way to do it that isn’t like I’m a huge stick in the mud. Any suggestions are welcome.