Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Making do

I've been feeling very cramped in our two-bedroom condo, lately. It seemed that there just wasn't ever enough space to give to the children that needed it (much less myself!) The boys were fighting a lot because they just seemed to bump into each other too much...and often literally! I was tired of breaking up fights, and tired of quiet time not really being quiet - with three boys in one bedroom, quiet time really had become one more hour of "Mom, he hit me!" "Mom, he's making noise so I can't hear the story!" "Mom, make him stop!"

For awhile we seriously considered buying a larger house. We had a realtor helping us, and we actually found a perfectly beautiful house that I loved. We almost offered on it, but ended up deciding that the financial risks involved (especially the need to rent our current condo) were more than we were comfortable with.

So since we're still here, in our feeling-tiny condo...we're getting creative and making do. Last week we moved half the bedroom furniture around. Now Josiah and Thomas are sharing the "kid" bedroom, with Thomas on the top bunk and Josiah on the bottom. The changing table with both boys' clothes is also in there now, along with most of the toy bins.

Jonathan is sharing our bedroom. We've shifted some of our furniture so that there is room in what used to be the "crib corner" for a toddler mattress for him. The bureau with his clothes has been moved in, as well as his little table/desk and chair. And I rearranged our linen closet so that he has his very own shelf to keep his special lego and other toys.

I think that it is going to work out beautifully. Josiah and Thomas don't bother each other as much as Jonathan and Thomas do, so sharing a room works better for them. They're also the kids that are more likely to need a nap during the day, and who go to bed earlier in the evening.

Giving Jonathan his very own space in our room makes him feel special and meets his strong need for personal space. He can go into our room and close the door without shutting the other boys out of their room/play space. While there are obvious downsides (lack of personal space for Gabe and I, primarily!) I think that overall this is going to be much better for the family.

And it won't be for forever. We're planning to do this for two years: pay down our mortgage as fast as possible (Dave Ramsey style) and then move out of state to somewhere prettier, roomier, and cheaper (probably Oregon). I like having a plan, especially one that Gabe and I are both in agreement on.

Until then, we're making do!


ooshela said...

I applaud you both for thinking outside the box, in this case your 2 bedroom condo being the box. :) The lack of personal space is something I completely understand, given sharing out room with 3 kids at one point, but you will learn how to be creative. ;) As far as your plan to pay off the condo first, sounds like you are much more settled and at peace with it...sounds like a great plan!

Sara in Seattle said...

I think you did great at making do. My brother and sister-in-law with their five kids have never lived in anything with more than three bedrooms, so I've seen a lot of ways to "make do." Their most inventive way was turning over their larger master room to three of the kids while they took one of the "kids" rooms. The things we'll do for our kids!

And consider the Seattle area :)

Mom said...

Do you remember how we used to switch kids around in bedrooms? It was primarily for the same reasons - so the kids sharing a room were the ones who were getting along best at that time, and the ones who needed their own space could be in their own space!

Good thinking!

Jen said...

I am so impressed with your resourcefulness, your creativity, and your contentedness. I can learn a lot from you.

Jen said...

Oh and I love the house you like! You have great taste!

Ma Torg said...

I SO know the feeling of 'making do'. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment with pretty small bedrooms and bathroom and it can be quite frustrating (especially since we have no extra storage space!). We're doing the family bedroom now to 'make do' while Jesse writes he dissertation and we're about to add another little person to it...who will have to sleep in a drawer because there is no room for a crib. Ha!

However, having done this for awhile now, I must say that it has been good for us. It certainly forces us to live more simply and, in doing so, realize how much of our lives actually our luxury. Granted, space is often the luxury I most desire after a crazy day with the kids, but then, a smaller space to clean can be a luxury after a long day as well.

Anyhow, I am thankful for a roof over our heads and for having young children during this time and NOT teenagers!!!!

Aunt Sharan said...

I’m impressed with how you and Gabe are keeping an eye on the “big picture” -- knowing what to do today to make your dreams come true in the future. With that said, I agree with Jen’s comment that you guys have great taste. We actually got a home improvement idea from looking at those house photos… we now know how we’re going to build the mantle for our fireplace!

Amber said...

The thought of having to rent out a condo would keep me up at night! It is definitely a good thing to have a plan, and even better to have one that both of you are in agreement on. Like everyone else, I applaud your creative thinking - it definitely sounds like that will buy you some more time! I think moving out of state sounds like a great idea - I rather wish we had done it ourselves at times. :-)