Love Grows Best

This post was written for inclusion in the January 2019 collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Scroll to the end of this post for more information and links to other community posts.

But you know, love grows best in little houses,
With fewer walls to separate,
Where you eat and sleep so close together.
You can't help but communicate.
Oh, and if we had more room between us, think of all we'd miss.
Love grows best, in houses just like this.
--"Little Houses" (Ewing, Cates, & Stone, 1994)*

For a mom living in a tiny house, personal space can be hard to find. Before our children were born, it was simpler. Chris made the loft into his man cave, and I pretty much ruled in the living room. We shared the bedroom.

With kids, though, everything is different. Yes, Chris still has his own space in the loft. And the girls each have their own bunks. But a space that's just for me? It really doesn't exist.

In a lot of ways, this is a "first-world problem." What a luxury to even be able to dream of having a space to oneself! We live in a society where this is normal and expected. Many children even have their own rooms (though that's not always the case). Men have "man caves," and women have "she sheds," and everyone is expected to part ways and do their own things, away from the people they love.

Yes, someday I would like to have my own office space, whether that is up in the loft or in a separate building altogether. I dream of turning our loft into a master retreat, connected and yet separate from the rest of the house and the children.

At the same time, I think that lack of personal space really is a blessing in disguise. Sure, we all need time to ourselves to breathe and relax and regroup. (I've written about it here and here, and I think it is important.) But being forced to exist and get along in a house where you literally can't just hide from arguments and disagreements and poor communication requires you to master the art of repentance and forgiveness and reconciliation. You learn to work through your issues rather than avoid them, as Doug Stone's song "Little Houses" illustrates above.

So, practically speaking, how do you do it? How do you survive the lack of personal space in a tiny house?

The solution is simple for us.

We take turns.

We learn to prioritize our partner's need for space and time to him/herself. One of us takes the kids out while the other one rests. At another time, the other partner returns the favor. We share the space and time in a way that serves to meet everyone's needs.

And when I really need a break, like right this minute before I go completely off the deep end? Well, our bathroom door has a lock, and it's a great place to hide and eat that chocolate bar or the last handful of chips that I've been saving for such a time as this.

*Ewing, S. & Cates, M.. (1994). Little Houses [Recorded by Stone, D.]. On Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 [Audio Cassette]. Los Angeles, CA:Epic Records.

This post was written for inclusion in the January 2019 collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series. And if there is a topic you'd like to see us write about, let us know! 

Fourth & West-- "Personal Space vs. Alone Time" : Prioritizing what we actually need

Tiny Ass Camper-- "Making Space" : Sometimes space isn't about physical size at all. 

Deeper Meaning Travels -- "Privacy and Alone Time While Living Small" : See how this traveling family of 4, living in their RV, handles privacy and alone time in their small space.