I Need Some Space

A second bedroom would help.

Photo: perthhdproductions/Flickr

My husband and I made a resolution this year for us as a couple: For 2017, we decided that we no longer wish to over-schedule ourselves on the weekends. Because of my husband’s long workdays, the weekends are our only opportunities to spend time together as a family. So our focus moved to staying at home more, getting things done around our house, and inviting more friends to visit. Being at home this much has taught us two things: we have too much stuff and we lack the space to do those activities that we love.

They say that no man is an island, but my family lives in such close quarters that our once separate islands can now be considered a peninsula. We are five people who reside in a three bedroom, one bathroom house, built in the 1940’s and designed before large combined living spaces graced multiple episodes of HGTV shows. And our house is lovely, a plaster and wood reminder that our country encouraged the production of homes for returning G.I.’s after the war. Apparently, G.I.’s were okay with living in close quarters with those people they would be willing to die for.

But for me, I want a few extra feet of space. So I find myself staring at one of our bedroom walls — the one that borders the backyard — and I dream of taking a sledgehammer to it. This would make my bedroom larger to create a space where I would be able to explore those pursuits that make me happy, that make me grow, that make me sane. Currently, the bedroom I share with my husband is the “master bedroom” in name only, as it is not any bigger than the other two bedrooms.

I spend most of my time during the week in the house. I am a stay-at-home mother. I am also a writer. I am a mom who stays home and writes and has no space to retreat to in the house that I clean and manage. My morning meditations are met with either a snoring dog or waking children. Yoga is done in a space in my bedroom that is no larger than the yoga mat. Writing takes place on the dining room table, which is often covered in school papers from the previous evening. Being interrupted while sitting there is the norm.

My daydream blueprint also includes adding a second bathroom. The once adorable single restroom has turned into gridlocked traffic in our household. When our kids were little, the one restroom was completely acceptable. But as our children have grown, our turnstile bathroom practices have lost their charm, with little people coming in to use the toilet while I shower. Building that second bathroom would allow me to pee in peace and shower without an audience.

I am not one for wanting things. I am not a consummate shopper, choosing instead to only buy clothes when decency laws demand that I not go out with a large hole in the crotch of my jeans. I have absolutely no decorating sense so shopping for knickknacks for our house doesn’t happen either. While I would love a larger car, I love not having a car payment more. My favorite gifts (to myself or from others) are more intangible and invaluable: time and space. I consider time to spend with my family and space to work on my novel as luxuries. And extending my bedroom would give me the place to recharge and to refocus.

Our home is full — full of kids, pets, stuff (and it is just stuff), with thin walls and thick love. There is very little space and privacy for retreat, especially for those most intimate of activities, such as sitting somewhere comfortable to do one’s best thinking. An extra bathroom, the square footage added to our bedroom, those things are on the top of my most wanted list. I hope one day to make this happen, maybe turning our cozy peninsula into something more like an archipelago.

This story is part of The Billfold’s I Want It Now series.

Comments