Toddler Takeover: My House is Not My Own

My wife and I moved into our home 5 years ago and had a full 2 years in the home before deciding to punish our home by having children. We overbought a bit (a regrettable story for another time) and landed in a moderately sized home, albeit an older home with plenty of ‘character’. The basement has a fake bedroom (super tiny with no window) and a partially finished real bedroom. The upstairs also has two additional bedrooms, one very small and one average sized. When we first moved in, it was glorious. The large bedroom downstairs became my special activity bedroom! YAY! All my sports, games, hobbies, and now-muzzled décor could all roam together in my magical escape room. Not only that, but I planted my proverbial flag in the small upstairs bedroom and BAM I now had an office. So, if you’re counting, I had the Master bedroom, the office bedroom, and my man cave bedroom. Three rooms all to myself—well, I guess my wife was also in the master bedroom, but that’s beside the point.

Three years and two kids later and I’m both confused and horrified as I take inventory on what has happened to my precious domicile. My first daughter claimed the empty upstairs bedroom; great, that was to be expected, my three rooms remain mine. Well then my wife got really bad at turning down out-of-town family visits so all of the sudden we were expected to provide lodging to a host of riff-raff that luckily shared our last name so now had permission to invade. I adapted. I reluctantly moved my hobby room into the tiny, windowless room in the corner of the basement. It hurt, but I survived; still got my three rooms. The next interruption came in the form of junk. All sorts of junk. Hand-me-down this, hand-me-down that, furniture my wife can’t yet part with, old clothes tubs, and all the miscellaneous junk that accumulates once you live in a room.

It’s ridiculous, really. Humans have basically adopted the hermit crab model for living quarters. Move into a new home, ‘grow’ into it by filling it full of crap and then go buy a bigger house. And then a bigger house. It literally took us less than 2 years to go from all of our stuff fitting into a 1 bedroom apartment to outgrowing two floors and four bedrooms worth of house. And my wife and I are cheap (the kinder word for broke); there were no spending sprees in this time that filled out the house. Things just started trickling in like vultures around a carcass; I don’t even recognize half of the junk in our basement but you can bet my wife won’t let any of it be thrown away.

Anyway, I digress. Basically, the junk has piled up and now my SECRET SPECIAL HOBBY ROOM THAT IS ONLY FOR DADDY has been merged with storage. The hobby room, and a piece of daddy’s heart, has died. So now the hobby room is piled ceiling high with green tubs, red tubs, gray tubs, half of an old treadmill, and random bags of hand-me-down shoes. I’m down to 2 rooms. Well now it’s time for my wife’s maternity leave for daughter 2 and we’re wondering how best to entertain the toddler while taking care of the newborn. But my wife has a great idea! Let’s get rid of the office and turn it into a playroom! But what about the desk? The filing cabinets? The workspace? My special me time in the office? My wife volunteered the master bedroom. Which is also where the newborn sleeps.

So, just to recap: I started with three bedrooms. I now basically have zero. My 2 year old now has a bedroom and a playroom. My office desk is 18 inches from the foot of my bed. The newborn chest of drawers, co-sleeper, and additional clothing tubs are now in the master. I basically have an 18-inch path through my own bedroom and have to move furniture in order to open most drawers. Three years ago I had three bedrooms. Today I have zero. And even after writing it all out, I still don’t understand what exactly happened.

Apologies for the maze-ish rant through my floor plan, but I suppose it is just another example of how quickly kids permeate all parts of our lives. Three years ago, we were giddy new homeowners thinking we’d never fill out this house even with kids; yet here we stand and the walls are already closing in just after the birth of daughter number two. I whine and complain about losing my hobby room yet have barely registered the underlying fact that my hobbies took an even bigger hit than the room when the kiddos arrived! And that’s honestly okay with me because my house is just like my time, and I’ll give as much to my daughters as I possibly can. Besides, I’ve still got the garage…for now.

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