The Nurturing Instincts of the modern Young Lady

What is it with 20 year old young ladies nowadays?  I say this as I have witnessed a phenomenon this week, that of pre-nesting.  On Tuesday my step-step son (my ex-husband’s step son) moved in.  By Wednesday the bedding that I had given him had been cast-off and replaced with a pretty pink and turquoise striped duvet set.  The girlfriend had arrived!  She didn’t glide to earth under an umbrella to his rescue Mary Poppins style, not quite, but drove up in an orange Clio. With my bedding discarded she then set to beautifying his windowsill with ornaments (his beer bottles that are ‘special to him’) and folded up his clothes. Once done she put him in the Orange Clio and drove him to the supermarket to stock up on food. 

You may think this is the end of the story but no, for no sooner had they departed in the Orange Clio Rescue Vehicle when my twenty year old daughter drove over to my house having put her boyfriend in her car for rescuing. ‘Do you have a shirt, tie and suit?  I only have two days to get him ready for an interview,’ she said, pointing at the bemused Automotive Engineer.  For a time we stood in the hall pondering whether the jacket was too big or the trousers too long whilst the Automotive Engineer stood in a statuesque manner taking the rescuing being done to him, clearly quite used to it. 

After Mr Him had ironed a jacket and found appropriate clothing they departed, to be followed by the arrival of the Orange Clio Rescue Vehicle and step-step son and girlfriend.  The latter unpacked his shopping and put it away.  I was left feeling exhausted from watching and with lots of questions.

Ladies of my generation, for what did we strive?  For what was all that bra throwing that our mothers did?   Millicent Fawcett and Emmeline Pankhurst would be turning in their voting booths!   Are our daughters really reverting to the 1960’s and taking on the domesticity we rebelled against, are they throwing away the inroads we made to the inequality that we abhorred in our grandparents generation? Or is there more going on here, something that we cannot rebel against, nature? Is there an innate instinct within us in the early twenties, one of proving ourselves worthy to our prospective mate, demonstrating that we can nurture.  Or is it a pre-nesting instinct, getting us ready for mothering for real?

Looking back I was not a pre-nester when I was twenty, and the result, I have a man who irons (well, he does come from an Irish matriarchy).  The instinct, if that’s what it is, bypassed me, and I’m not sorry. 

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