Loving the Space You're In

Loving the Space You're In

When we purchased our house two years ago, we knew it was already on the brink of being too small for our growing family, based on American standards, that is. Two bedrooms for 4 people?! With the addition of Raphael in 2023, we are now sleeping 5 people in two bedrooms! (We have an additional bedroom in the basement but it’s used as a guest room).

To most modern Americans, living in such a small space is ludicrous because ample space is something we all value. Americans tends to prioritize large homes and big cars, children grow up accustomed to having his or her own bedroom (sometimes with en suite bathrooms), many houses have a guest room, a finished basement, a designated home office, etcetera, etcetera.

When we began the search for our house, we had to consider a number of factors, namely location and price range. We had to buy a house within a certain radius of Vinny’s job, which is located in one of, if not the most expensive area in the United States.

At the time, we were a dual income family, which meant we could theoretically have afforded a bigger house than the one we bought. But, we also refused to allow a monthly mortgage payment dictate my ability to eventually leave my government job in order to stay home with our children. Keeping this in mind, our housing options quickly dwindled. And so, when we found our home in a beautiful, quiet area of Alexandria, we were elated. It checked all the boxes: solid bones (an all-brick house built in 1946), lots of charm, big yard (half an acre!), a roomy garage, and plenty of potential to make it our own. The only downside, so to speak, was the fact that it had only two bedrooms on the main floor. Nevertheless, we bought your house. And, we love it!

It’s a bit countercultural to live in what we lovingly call our “hobbit house” where all three children will be sharing a bedroom for the foreseeable future. But, given the circumstances, I think there can also be some valuable lessons learned from making do, and loving, the space we are in.

For one thing, it’s a wonderful lesson in contentment. Because we don’t have the luxury of a lot of space, we can’t buy extra stuff. I have a total of 6 pots and pans in my kitchen and that suits me just fine. Our children don’t have many toys (plenty of books, of course) and they’re not worse off for it-they might even be better off!

For another thing, by having to share a bedroom, my hope is that our children will become best of friends. I know that eventually they will want/need more space if, for nothing else, the fact that they will physically take up more room. But my hope is that sharing a bedroom while they are young will lay the foundation for a close bond as they grow older. And maybe, when the time comes to buy a bigger home, they will actually want to share a bedroom!

Purchasing a house that is nothing short of “cozy” is something our parents and grandparents were accustomed to. In the early to mid 1900s, sleeping many bodies in too few beds was the norm. My great grandmother had 13 children and there were only three bedrooms in the house—one for the boys, one for the girls, and one for the parents. But growing up, I remember being regaled with stories of these years gone by and the tune was always the same no matter who told them—a small house with many mouths to feed, but joy and contentment resonated. So I’d like to think that despite the constraints of money and location, Vinny and I bought our home as a way of unknowingly reclaiming a bit of that nostalgia from a previous era in the hopes of happily making it ours, too.

Above all else, my prayer is that our children grow up and look back on their childhood years fondly, not because of any semblance of luxury they possessed, but because of the parents who gave them everything they could ever need: a loving—albeit quaint—home.
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We have 6 kids and all 4 of our girls share a room! I think our home has the perfect layout for a family of many kids: a master and small nursery on the main level and 2 bedrooms and a bath on the second floor, a girl room and a boy room, and all the kids (besides the baby) share a bath. While 3 bedrooms is probably enough, I’m always thankful for the small nursery ☺️!

Jenica Cory

Such a great post! We are in the same boat and I so needed to hear these words! Thanks for the perspective and beautiful reminder of what truly matters most!

Christa FitzPatrick

Beautiful post and lovely reminder of the importance of priorities.
I’m 76 and my Mom was the oldest of 11 and also grew up in a 3 bedroom so that was the normal perspective of my siblings and all my 24 first cousins. Those similar living experiences definitely drove us to be close our entire adult lives.
Enjoy every moment!🥰

Maureen Morton

Lovely post! I find small charming homes, such as yours, so appealing. I too grew up in a small home, as was the norm in the 50’s. The tacky mega mansions that are being built today have no charm. Your children will have special memories because your small home appears to be filled with love and faith.

Karen Salp

When we grew up, we shared bedrooms, sometimes three in a room….and we have many wonderful memories. We didn’t have a lot of toys and played outside. None of us missed out on anything. My dear parents gave us everything of worth….God, Prayer, Love, and Respect for Everyone.
Memories are what life is made up of. I have many. 🙏🏻

Uncle Joe

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