Before I got married, I felt like the oddball because I was the mom without a husband. No matter which way you swing it, it mattered, and I never quite fit in. Now I’m the mom without a house and quite frankly, it feels the same way.
Someone in our playgroup asked me, “Hey, why are you guys still in an apartment anyway?”
Well, let’s see. We’re not in a financial position to buy a house; and quite frankly, I haven’t decided if I want that kind of commitment. If we owned a house and something were to break… Hey! We can’t afford to fix it!
I prefer not to get in over my head, so until we’re in a financial position to buy the house we want and to deal with life’s annoyances (leaky roof anyone?), this is where we will be.
I love my pretty Christmas tree, and my (somewhat) nicely decorated living room (hey, we’re balling on a budget over here), but that nagging feeling at the back of my head keeps saying, “It’s not enough.”
I’d love to host a play date here because we have more than enough space, but I can’t get the thought out of my mind: What will all those other moms with their gorgeous homes will think of my meager little two-bedroom, two-bath apartment? Will they care about all those stupid dirt stains that were there on the carpet before we even moved in? What about our kids having to share a room because we can’t afford a three-bedroom place? (Not that our six-year-old sleeps in there anyway.)
I feel like the second they walk in, we’d be seen as having less. As being less.
There’s no yard to put the kids’ Power Wheels in. The Cozy Coupe takes up far too much space in the living room. No yard to let the animals out in when they’re driving me nuts in the house. No yard to let the kids outside to play in. No yard to put up a nice playset. All those playsets I see acquaintances posting on the for-sale sites? I can’t buy them.
I would love nothing more than to be able to take my kids out into the yard so they can run around. I hate having to go to the park if we want to get out of the house. I hate having to lug everyone down the steps, into the car, and into their carseats.
I’d love pictures of my kids running around a nicely groomed lawn. My husband would have a ball with a lawn. I’d have a little garden section where I could plant some gorgeous wisteria that will bloom in the spring. And a trampoline! We would LOVE a trampoline! We had a small one in the living room, but it is currently taken apart under the couch because we had to make room for the Christmas tree.
I’ve gone to great lengths to make this apartment our home, a place that feels welcoming and cozy. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a pang of jealousy when I go to some of my fellow moms’ neighborhoods and they have these $300,000 or $500,000 houses. Yes, I wish I had that too! I wish we had front steps, and an upstairs, and a garage too!
I walk into my home and I try to imagine what it would be like, having that life. As cozy as it is in here, it isn’t always fun living in a place that feels like a shoebox at times.
But just as people come in different shapes and sizes, so do homes. We are not less just because our space is less. There’s no yard, no nice banister for me to wrap garland around, but this is still our home. As long as we’re here, and our things, and our pets, this is in fact our home. No matter how big it is.