With all of my recent sharing (oversharing?) about how challenging adjusting to two kids and our small space has been, I can now nostalgically look back on our first years with just one baby in an apartment and see it as a wonderful time. I wanted to dedicate this post to encouraging anyone who is expecting or has a new baby and wants to stay in their small space but is scared or nervous. This is me in your corner saying....DO IT.
I was looking through old photos and was reminded of how nervous I was when deciding to stay in our small space with Theo. Back then I wanted someone to tell me it was going to be ok, and that we wouldn't regret our choice to live small. I didn't find anyone who thought it was an awesome idea until I started sharing on this blog (which I am always so grateful for). Below are some of the best things that came out of living small with one baby.
Top Reasons Why Living Small with a Baby is GREAT!
Closeness - New babies need a lot of attention and you as a new, possibly nervous parent need to be near your baby. In a small apartment you are never far away from your babe. Those sleepless nights where you are getting up every hour or two? Well you are only a few stumbling steps away. Sitting on the couch feeding, most things are within arms reach or a few (awkward, hunched over, boob attached) steps. There's also no need for a baby monitor.
Babies are Small - Babies are small. It's all the stuff they need that takes up extra space. If you can limit your baby items to the necessities and only have gear you need in the moment in your space, a baby should not take up much of your living space. Once the baby is moving around, a small space makes it easier to keep an eye on them. There is less to baby proof, and no stairs to baby gate. You can be where you need to be, for example, the kitchen, and still keep your eye out for trouble.
Save $$$ - Babies actually aren't that expensive but a lot of the gear that goes along with the baby can add up. Why add the stress of a bigger mortgage or rent along with the new baby costs? Stay in your small space while your baby is still small and easily portable. Take on the larger mortgage/rent when you really need the space. The year or years spent paying off your smaller mortgage or paying lower rent will contribute to your savings for a larger place later. Or maybe you will love living small with kids and stay small (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
One Baby is a Good Travel Companion - One baby can sit on your lap on the plane. One baby needs one carseat, one stroller, one carrier. One baby is a great travel companion. I'm not saying travelling with a baby is easy. It is significantly more difficult than travelling alone. But it also wonderful to see new places through the eyes of a baby or toddler (See some of our travel with kids posts here). If you stay in your smaller, more economical place then you can hopefully afford to travel.
Accidental Minimalism - Living in a small space with another human (in this case a baby) sets your priorities straight pretty quickly. I have found that it made me realize how much wasteful spending I did, out of boredom or emotionally. While I still get bored and emotional, a small space, and tiny humans to look after has made me find other ways to deal with these feelings rather than retail therapy. Initially this trend was due to space limitations only (I could not fit another sweater in my closet, or another pillow on my couch) but now I understand that "stuff" doesn't make me happy. I personally found the combination of not having time to shop (thanks new baby), not having space to fit anymore things (thanks small space), and a desire to live a less cluttered life ended up saving money (an unexpected perk).
Less to Clean - I add this one with a warning that while you will have less space to clean if you stay small, you will have to clean it more often. Your one bathroom will get messier than if you had more bathrooms. And your living room/playroom/reading nook/everything will need regular tidying. But the clean up should be much faster than if you had to clean an entire large home. Leaving you more time together as a family.
I hope this post helps. If there are other things you are worried about please leave a comment and I will do my best to address it.