I wrote the article when I was pregnant with my second child. It’s about raising our son in a small apartment and what it taught us about living, loving, and parenting.
Our apartment is small (600 square feet). We own it, which is nice (it’s a great tax break!), but due to the real estate crash, it has gone way down in value. Soon after the real estate crashed, my husband lost his job, and went back to school to start a new career. For all these reasons, it has made the most sense for us to stay here.
My article discusses some of the benefits of living small with young children. Probably the best benefit in my experience is that spending less, cleaning less, and maintaining less means more time together. It also has taught us to value people over things, and quality over quantity when it comes to toys and other possessions. These are good lessons for all of us.
Still, when I wrote the article I sort of assumed we’d need to move when our second child was born. I mean, two kids in a one-bedroom apartment? Seemed like too much. So far, though, it hasn’t been an issue. We have made sure that our older son has corners of the apartment to call his own: his own bed and bookcase, and his writing desk in the living room. If he wants to be alone, he goes into the bedroom for an hour and does his own thing. He still prefers to sleep in our room, but if he were to express an interest to sleep alone, we could either consider moving sooner, or reconfigure the apartment to make that possible.
We’re hoping that by staying put for a few more years, the value of our apartment will increase, and we can also start saving some money. My husband has started his teaching career and we see ourselves in an overall better economic place in a few years. We are hoping to move up to a larger apartment or a small house. Even when we expand, we don’t see ourselves in a large home.
It is an interesting time now, to be raising kids in the middle of an economic crash in America. It is certainly different than when I was a kid, when my parents seemed to do much better economically with much less effort. I am grateful that the crash didn’t hit us harder and that we got help from family and government-sponsored programs when things were really bad.
And yet. It has taught me so much about what I truly value in life. People, art, love, being together. And being grateful for what richness surrounds me. In a way, it has been the perfect introduction to parenthood, these humbling years in our small home.