Thursday, May 17, 2018

PSA for Tiny Home Hunters: Your baby will get bigger

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

I have watched my share of videos of tiny house conversions, to the point where YouTube now shows me more as recommendations. I say, Sure, YouTube, ok, just one more. And the cycle continues.

I don't live in a cool tiny home, just a normal small apartment. But I find it inspiring to see how people use a little space and still live big.

Except, that is, when a family is growing.

Don't get me wrong — I love seeing families with little children navigating small spaces. As a family of five living in under 960 square feet (capacious by tiny house standards, I admit), you'd think that would be right in my wheelhouse, and you're right.

However, it's primarily these families that make me yell at my computer screen.

Because they don't know a simple undeniable truth. Ready? Brace yourselves.


I can't tell you how many videos I've seen (or I'm ashamed to count them) where the family has a baby or toddler and has designed the entire tiny home or camper or RV or schoolie or what have you into a home that's just perfect for two adults and a baby. Sometimes they have a toddler and are pregnant with another baby, and they proudly show the space they have for the (still very small) big sibling and point out that the baby will just sleep with them for the time being.


I guess I'm the first person to figure this out.

As the parent of an almost-11-year-old, an almost-7-year-old, and a 3-year-old, who is assaulted daily by long flailing limbs and the visual jolt of seeing my oldest get taller and taller and taller, let me fill in these folks on what to expect from the fuuuuutuuuure.

That adorable little fold-down crib-size murphy bed? That will work for the next year for your tot, tops.

If that's the size of mattress you have for TWO children, heaven help you.

This is the space this family has created for 3 current people with one more imminently arriving.
It is a double bed for 2 adults with a teensy crib-size open loft for the toddler. I love their build,
but I want to check back with them in a year and see WHAT NOW?!

It's one thing if this is all easily reconfigurable, but these people have spent weeks to years planning and building and thousands upon thousands of dollars to make their space fit just so. And they're going to outgrow it in a matter of months!

Families put in these adorable touches like a foldaway crib with a chalkboard on the back, weenie bunk beds, a toddler-size (and -weight) slide, a custom built-in bassinet, or a wee sink bath. They might spend way too much time babyproofing when their oldest is about to outgrow the need for it, or conversely no time considering babyproofing at all because their baby (or baby-to-be) isn't yet crawling and they just haven't thought about the fact that a sleeping loft with no railings and a steep ladder or completely open shelf steps might not be ideal for a 1-year-old.

I hope your 7-year-old will still enjoy sleeping in a 3-foot cage.

It's not just about babies, either. One family installed a teensy reading loft for an elementary school student that would be comfortable for maybe the next year. I just kept thinking: All that wood! All that labor! They could have made it just a leeetle bit bigger and had it last longer.

You can see this phenomenon in more conventional house-hunter shows, too, where the couple says, "Oh, this is a tiny room. But it will be fine for a nursery!" Ok, cool, but…if you think it's too small for a normal bedroom, are you planning to move in a year?

Look, I'm judging because I understand. I was you once, house hunters with no prognostication abilities. I fortunately did not spend a fortune on a nursery when I couldn't see beyond the end of my pregnant belly, but we did make decisions based on things staying as they were, when in fact things change. For instance, we bought our current small condo when there were three of us, and now — surprise! — there are five, and yet the condo has stayed the same size. Who knew.

And, sure, I get that most of these families will probably move to a larger place when they start feeling cramped, but (1) then why did they invest so much into making this house the way it is? And (2), we didn't.

So consider this a slightly louder version of me yelling at my television set (laptop). I doubt any of these people will hear me, but if you do and you're planning on designing a house (of whatever size) for your infants and children, keep one important fact in mind:


Photo Credits: "House," by Tristan Schmurr; "Tiny House," by ThinkOutLoud.



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