Thursday, March 3, 2011
Living the Small Life
We do everything big, it seems. I'm big. My husband is big. Our family is big (six children). Our car is big--it has to be, to fit a family of eight! So naturally, people expect our house to be big. And it usually has been. Until, perhaps, now.
We are looking for a new place to live. (Yes, again. Long story. Short version: awful landlord.) Unfortunately, finding a home to rent for a family of eight isn't easy. We want to keep our expenses down, so that we can achieve a truly debt-free life, and be able to afford healthy foods and products for our family. To do that, we need to minimize expenses. One of our biggest expenses is rent.
To rent a home with four or more bedrooms can be very expensive. Now that our children are old enough to share a room without the younger ones waking everyone up, we can put the three girls in one room and the three boys in another. Unfortunately, the landlords of the world don't see it that way.
When I tell a landlord on the phone we have six children, there are usually two reactions: silence, or an instantaneous "oh-this-house-wouldn't-work-for-you." I've even had jerks tell say "Six? Oh, that's too many."
I've tried explaining how I am strict with my children, that they are better behaved than 95% of the children I see today, that they aren't allowed to run wild with crayons and color the walls, or run the neighborhood unattended, etc. I ask them to please meet my children and see how nice they are. I tell them that people nowadays think every child needs their own bedroom...but bedrooms are for sleeping, so what does it matter if there are three sleeping bodies in one room? So shouldn't it be more important to have a larger living room? But alas, to no avail.
Now I'm not going to say that's a bad thing. If you can afford it and choose to live that way, that's your choice, and I support your freedom to choose it. But why do I have to modify MY choices to fit the narrow-minded viewpoints of others?
How did we go from a society where the American dream was a nice little tract house and a car in every driveway, to a society where each person in the household has their own bedroom AND their own car AND their own tv, so that mealtimes take place in separate rooms in front of separate televisions or computers, and communication between family members is limited to "when will you be home?"
My children don't even play in their rooms, except in early morning. They prefer to play together in the living room most of the time.
And guess what? My children put less wear on a home than the average family with two children, because I watch my children. I've even had a landlord remark once that we had less wear and tear than he'd ever seen in any of his family rentals.
Excuse me? What the heck is the government doing telling families how many bedrooms they have to have? So even if a bedroom is 20'x20', I still can't have three children in it? That's insane! And what about families that have lost their jobs and their homes, and can't afford a four bedroom home no matter how bad the neighborhood? There are plenty of families like that around today. I guess they should live in a cardboard box? Or turn their children over to the state? Please, Uncle Sam, get out of our bedrooms!
If we did find a small home to live in, would our neighbors try to find a way to cause us trouble, simply because they disagreed with the way we choose to live?
Families shouldn't have to face this kind of discrimination. You should be judged on the kind of person you are, not on the lifestyle choices you make, even if those choices are different than the mainstream. Especially at a time when so many good families are in trouble.
I think this topic is one I should cover in a future podcast. Click on the Real Health Revolution banner in the sidebar to check out my podcast and subscribe!
In the meantime, here are a few links to some websites that extol the virtues of small home living:
Small House Living
Small Living Journal
Living Large in Our Little House
Tiny House Blog
Life in a Shoe: Big Family in a Small House
Quintuple Bunk Beds: crazy design for five nested bunk beds and a home with NO bedrooms designed around their use (intended for African shelters).