You may or may not know, but I have a wife and two young kids (2 and 3 years old). You also may or may not know that I live in a shed. It’s a pretty big shed (and we’re getting an extension soon– hopefully before the 3rd kid arrives in 3 months), 3 car bays, but it’s still a shed.
There’s one room, about 3 metres square (about 10ft for those of you who like that kind of thing), and that’s where our 2 kids currently sleep. Then there’s a kitchen, made up of various cast off pieces of furniture– a desk, an old kitchen cupboard and a very nice side board thing we bought of ebay for $93. There’s no sink or running water. Then we’ve got a dining room, lounge room, play area for the kids which also has a desk my wife uses for making cards. And the main bedroom is just a bit more of the shed with some wardrobe strategically placed for some privacy. And that’s it. All of that, in a 9m by 6m shed. (My parents own the shed and we use the shower they have in their laundry and their kitchen sink when we need to.)
That’s not a lot of room to accommodate 4 people on a regular basis. Not much at all. But you know what. It’s enough. Obviously it enough because we’ve been here for nearly 3 years.
And now, when, if, we ever get out into a real house, I know I won’t be going for the lavish mansion that my soon be be literary fame (go and buy my ebook from Amazon– http://www.amazon.com/Space-Between-Tribes-Hakahei-ebook/dp/B00744AMGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333535394&sr=8-1 — or in fact, buy all 3 of them) will make possible.
I think the never ending search for bigger houses might have something to do with the all the problems with today’s youth. (Oh, that makes me sound intelligent.)
The kids have got their own TV and computer in their rooms. They have phones and whatever else. Parents can be in the same house as their kids but not actually be supervising them. They can go whole days without any meaningful interaction.
Try that living in a 9m x 6m shed. Not going to happen.
Sure, it might be nice to be able to read somewhere quiet occasionally or, more importantly, write somewhere quiet occasionally. But in the shed I get to watch the kids play, and help them with the lego every five minutes. And read them books all the time. Or play cars– you try resisting a 2yr boy who says, “Can someone please play with me.” It’s nice to be able to talk to my wife while she’s cooking dinner (I mean while I’m cooking dinner, obviously). In the shed we are a part of each others lives. Yeah, we all get a bit grumpy sometimes. But that is more than made up for by the fact that at any moment my 3yr old daughter might try to tickle me. Or my 2yr old son might poke me (I should never have taught them that). It’s made up for by the fact that they love to show my wife and I what they are doing– drawing, writing, making cars, building houses, reading, playing dress ups, playing the ukulele. We are a part of all of it and that’s a wonderful thing.
Do I intend to buy a one bedroom house (when our other house eventually sells so we can get some money)? Not on your life. But it won’t be a mansion either. It will be something that lets us be a family. And that can never be a bad thing.
Oh, and it will also be something that has running water.