Having small kids changes EVERYTHING
Ten years ago, when we were first married, I fell in love with the idea of tiny house living. I loved that there wasn't a ton of space for clutter - (who needs a bunch of stuff anyways?!), I loved that there wasn't much to clean, I loved that we were saving PILES of cash compared to our friends who had jumped into mortgages right after they got home their honeymoon.
So we did what any sane couple would do (I thought) and moved into my parents basement while we built our own tiny house.
It was awesome! I loved waking up every morning in the loft and looking out into the forest, I loved that I could have a full conversation with anyone sitting in the living room while I was cooking - tiny house living really was amazing...
Until the babies came.
Babies change everything. All those things I loved about my house before? Not so great anymore.
You know who needs space for a bunch of stuff? Babies.
And you know who will keep you wide awake all. night. long. in your beautiful open plan loft - since there is no other room for them to sleep in? Babies. (And don't kid yourself. Baby sleep regression is not a one time thing. Babies fit in a sleep regressions every few months for the first two years, just for good measure.)
It is not possible to keep a house clean with a toddler or a baby when there is literally no place left to set down a laundry basket.
So, off we went to look for houses.
These are the things we were looking for in a home - that were the MOST important to me - as a mom of small kids.
1) Bedrooms all on one floor and near each other
I can not tell you how many homes we looked at that had only one bedroom on the main floor, and the rest in the basement. What's WITH that?!
It might be GREAT when your kids are teenages - but trucking up and down the stairs 3 times per night when they have a bad week at 2 years old?
No thank you.
2) A seperate indoor play space
I am a firm believer in children being allowed to play in the main family living area. I WANT my chilren WITH me.
But I am also a firm believer in givng children a little bit of independance and sometimes it's just nice to be able to send them downstairs to play for half hour.
There was NO play space in our tiny house.
3) Toddler-safe / friendly features
My sister's kiddo fell down their scary 1940's stairs when she was not quite one year old - and honestly, they were so steep and hard to get down ANYONE could have fallen down them! There's a reason the code has changed.
We also looked at homes with impractical clear glass sinks (can you IMAGINE keeping those clean?!)
Sharp tile corners and poorly spaced railings are other things to keep an eye out for.
4) A large fenced yard
This seems like a given - no?
5) An attached garage
Until you have had a miserable day because your baby had a 5 minute nap on the way home from the store, you won't understand this... but there are times when I would have given ANYTHING to be able to leave the baby sleeping in the car for half hour while I ran in to pee and unload the dishwasher.
But the fact of the matter is, if your car is parked outside, it's just not a safe thing to do no matter how you slice it.
If you can pull the car right into the garage and turn it off, and place the monitor in the car - well, then it becomes a much safer option.
6) An a quiet neighborhood without a ton of through traffic
I grew up out of town, and while that's not really a realistic way for us to live now, I still hate the busy downtown areas and find it hard to relax with someone driving by my front window all the time.
I'm sure I sound like your 87 year old grandmother, but I just like the idea that the kids can play outside without having to worry (as much) about a ton of strangers just wandering by.
We were able to find a home that ticked all these boxes - it turned out the secret was just being patient and holding out for what we wanted, and then JUMPING ON IT when we found the right place.
What are your top considerations for purchasing a home when your kids are small?