We are choosing to find contentment in our small house. The small house we live in now is not our “forever home”, if such a thing even exists. It is our “for now home”, so we are choosing to be happy right here. Flaws and all.
In my experience, the mom sets the tone of the house. You know the saying… “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. That is a saying, right?
Whether it is or not it rings true in my house. As the mom, I set the tone for my entire home and family. On days I’m cranky and just not into life, my family reacts similarly. My husband seems to be in a grouchy mood and my son seems fussier than ever.
So if I’m up in arms about how small our house is, my entire family is sure to follow. When I complain about the layout or less than ideal bedroom situation, Ryan complains about the messy garage. If I’m annoyed at the creaky stair case, Ryans ticked we don’t have a finished basement he can run away to.
When we bought our house almost five years ago, we had a plan to upgrade to our “forever home” when we graduated from that stage of life.
What happened? Things change. Careers shift, babies arrive, global pandemics change the dynamics of the entire US real estate market. You know? Stuff like that.
So we’re staying, for now, maybe for a long time and maybe for a short time. For so long I felt like all my problems would be solved with a bigger home. The baby would sleep later in the morning if our bedrooms weren’t so close together. I’d create a better workout routine if I just had a dedicated exercise space. If our laundry room was renovated I’d finally keep it clean!!!
Ok, the laundry room did get renovated (thanks honey!) and it’s still a mess 75% of the time.
My point is, a bigger house isn’t going to solve my problems. Only I can solve my problems. Well, except the baby sleeping past 6:00 am, I’ve given up on that one. Not looking for advise here, just venting 🙂
Small Homes = Happy People
According to newhomesource.com, “The average size of new homes built in the United States grew 62 percent from 1,660 square feet in 1973 to 2,687 square feet in 2015, an increase of 1,027 square feet, according to the U.S.Census Bureau.”
In under 40 years we’ve added over 1,000 square feet to the average US home. Houses are getting bigger and bigger while Americans are getting unhappier. Don’t believe me? The Washington Post reports from the General Social Survey that Americans are far less happy than they were in the mid 70’s. Obviously so many factors play into this issue, but I believe the constant upgrading and hustle mentality in our society has a lot to do with it.
Our house is just under 1,500 square feet and was built in 1958. The walls are an uneven plaster, the ceilings are textured, and the oak floors have seen better days. The kitchen cabinets are a lovely (sense the sarcasm please) shade of Orange wood. The exterior is a bright barn red color, I hate red.
But you know what? If all of these things changed tomorrow my kid would still be up at the crack of dawn! I’d still have to clean up after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Clients would still be texting me at 10:30 pm.
I’m choosing to be grateful for what we have. We have a roof over our heads which is so much more than many can say. We have a warm, safe place to sleep. We have running water and indoor plumbing. 2 million Americans don’t have access to running water or basic indoor plumbing (Market Watch)!
We are so lucky. Lucky to have had the means to purchase a home 5 years ago when the market was far more buyer friendly. Lucky to have a tiny mortgage in comparison to so many others. Lucky to not struggle at all to make ends meet at the end of the month.
How to be content in your small house?
- Go clean your laundry room. Seriously. Maybe it’s not your laundry room, but that space in your house that you’ve given up on because it just drives you crazy- go clean it. A clean and uncluttered space is much more enjoyable to be in.
- Create a list of the positive aspects of your house. Maybe it’s the location or the way the sun light creeps into the living room each morning as you sip your coffee, there has to be something positive.
- Start a gratitude journal. Cliche, I know, but trust me it helps! Every morning (before I check Instagram or scroll through tik tok) I open the Notes app on my phone and write down 3 things I’m grateful for.
I hope this post has been helpful to you in finding contentment in your imperfect home. Whether it’s a small city apartment, a huge house, or just somewhere you’d rather not live. Finding contentment and joy in your current situation is freeing. We can always strive for improvement, but don’t let that overtake your happiness in the current moment.
If you’d rather listen to me blabber on about stuff like this thank read about it- check out my podcast How To Be A Good Mom!