As a part of the Small Family Homes blog post this month (See the previous first post here) organized by Kate of The Streamlined Life we are revisiting something I haven't spoken about in a while - How we ended up Living Small with kids. It feels like a lifetime ago that we were just two twenty somethings living in our 600 square foot apartment. Funny enough I would argue that our space was more cluttered and less efficient with just two of us in it than now with 4!
When I became pregnant with Theo I had a lot of preconceived notions about how little our life would change with a baby. I thought I could work up until the last moment on a major project without slowing down. I thought I could stay in complete control of my life and body. I thought I had a pretty good handle on the kind of parent I wanted to be, that I would be the "tough one" and Trevor would be the "fun one". I thought I could have an impact on my child's personality (lol). I also thought we could stay in our small space with a baby and continue to travel often. Of all my preconceived notions about parenting and motherhood the only ones that turned out to be true was our commitment to living small and travelling with kids. Turns out I am the big softie on the discipline side and Trevor (while still the fun one) has a dad voice that stops them in their tracks. I feel like my heart broke wide open when Theo was born and has never closed back up. I had to surrender to the utter chaos of motherhood before I could gain a new idea of what I can and cannot control in this new life. Oh and they come out with their own personality that you have no control over! I roll my eyes at my (previous) self and all the things I thought I knew before becoming a mother.
I think this is how I know that living small is the absolute right decision for us (and it may not be for you! One of my favourite quotes from Amy Poehler, "Good for her, not for me"). Of all the lofty parenting goals we've abandoned along the way (no screen time! No refined sugar! Solo swimming by 3! Will speak multiple languages!) the choice to live in a small footprint and limit our material possessions to free up time and money for experiences, has been a decision that we haven't wavered on. Living small is about tiny decisions we make everyday to consume less and let go of non-essential items to keep our home as spacious and comfortable as possible. It's also about a lifestyle of getting outside and using our city as our backyard.
The actual logistics of choosing to live small required some planning and investment to make our one bedroom apartment livable with a baby. When Theo was about 4 months old we decided, after watching this TEDTalk and reading Life Edited , to purchase a Penelope wall bed from Resource Furniture. The bed came about 3 months later and we have never looked back. The initial investment in a quality wall bed and mattress has allowed us to stay in an otherwise difficult living situation quite comfortably. We have also kept our promise to travel with one kid and now two, either camping along the West Coast, travelling to Portugal and Mexico. Now having lived one year (must write a recap post on this soon!) in 600 square feet with 2 kids there were moments when I was questioning our decision but once we survived the rainiest winter in over 50 years, the benefits of staying in our space have far outweighed the challenges.
This post was written for inclusion in the July collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series and follow our community board on Pinterest for the latest small homes and family minimalism pins!
Minimalist Meg-- "Our Story Behind Small and Simple Living" : Sometimes living simply and living small doesn't happen because of a grand event. Sometimes it just happens and it's not until after that you decide to keep it that way.
Little Bungalow-- "Accidental then Intentional" : A visual tour of all the small homes we didn’t buy before we bought our most recent smallish home in beautiful Victoria, BC.
Fourth and West-- "The Home That Chose Us" : Realizing the home we had was actually perfect all along.
Tiny Ass Camper-- "Casita Life" : How and why we chose a 17' Casita Spirit Standard as our home on wheels.
600 Sq Ft and a Baby-- "How We Ended Up Living Small" : Looking back on why living small stuck for us.
Fancy Pigeon-- "Why We Live Small" : A vlog on why and how our family has consistently downsized over the years.
The Streamlined Life-- "Why I Fell in Love with Small House Living" : Sometimes our earliest memories have the strongest impact.