Motherhood

It’s not the size of the house that matters- it’s the love that’s inside.

I recently read a post by Sarah Scott explaining why she and her husband weren’t going to have another baby (even though they really wanted one) because that would mean downsizing their home. She says she can’t imagine pulling their children out of that home they love and started making memories in.

Of course, her post is coming from a privileged point of view… There are people who don’t have an option of how big their houses are and when you think that people are homeless, her thoughts seem so far removed from other people’s realities. I often wonder if she thought about this as she wrote her post. If we think about all the people that have nowhere to live or that live in dirt shacks or in sub-par housing with no running water or electricity, it seems ridiculous to be talking about how hard it is to downsize one’s home.

fun in our railroad apt

We weren’t dirt poor or homeless but we had a modest upbringing. I grew up in a railroad apartment and shared a room with my little brother. We were a family of four, but often we had other relatives staying with us, aunts, cousins, godparents. If you’re Hispanic (or of another immigrant background) you probably know what I’m talking about. I don’t know how there was room, but we always made room. Now that we think about it, we laugh because we don’t even know how we managed to fit so many people on that tiny apt- and share one bathroom.

birthday-with-uncles

We had birthday parties in that apartment, celebrated happy Christmases and other holidays.  I remember my parents having parties until the wee hours of the morning with a lot of guests, dancing and delicious food. Despite the size, we were happy… I remember a lot of smiles and laughter.

Is more always better? In our tiny railroad apartment we were often together, sharing our lives. In a gigantic house, how much time would we have spent together as a family? Would everyone have just done their own thing, separately? Is it better to have thousands of square feet where people are rarely interacting?

Ms. Scott says she can’t fathom taking her children way from the house they know and love. “I overhear our boys having a blast playing in our big, beautiful, safe backyard, or listen to their laughter billowing out of the colorful playroom space we have created and designed just for them, and I know this was always meant to be our forever home. “

I wonder how it’s meant to be her forever home if she also says she is beginning to resent it for not affording her the possibility to have another child.

diana and andres smurfsI think Ms. Scott isn’t giving her children enough credit. Kids are incredibly adaptable and resilient. Kids can get used to a smaller house. Would it be bad if the children don’t have a customized playroom? Not really. Kids play with the craziest things, sometimes even forgoing real toys for cardboard boxes and spatulas.

Ms. Scott got a lot of criticism for her very honest post. I don’t want to add to the negativity. If I could say anything to Ms. Scott I’d say that more (sq ft.)  isn’t always better. I grew up in a tiny house, but it was filled with love.We were happy, even if we didn’t have a lot. We had what we needed. (No, kids don’t need a customized playroom, or even a big yard, those are not needs—they’re luxuries).

What good is a big house if the people in it or unhappy or resentful? What good is it if a child has a big playroom yet unhappy parents? It’s not about the square feet, the bells and whistles or the customized playrooms. It’s about the human interactions, the laughter, the moments spent as a family, the memories and of course, the dancing.

Happiness in a small home

Diana Limongi
welcome! I'm a Latina working mom from Astoria, NY, mom to a trilingual four-year old. I blog about motherhood, Latino issues, women's issues, work/life balance, food, parenting and raising my multilingual and multicultural son!

1 Comment

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I saw this article and it just makes me feel so sad for her. Not bc she doesn’t have enough money to have an extra child in that house, but bc she’d choose a building over life and love. Definitely not in alignment with my values, though I do understand how you can sometimes get so caught up in the culture that you lose perspective of your own values. I think it also triggered me, though, bc it unquestioningly accepts our cultural belief that kids are expensive. That one’s a pet peeve of mine. Kids require very, very little. Honestly, a bit of food and water and some hand me down clothes and you’re good. She’s already at home with them so day care isn’t an issue. I just don’t get it.

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