Housing Woes

>> Sunday, March 28, 2010

With the current state of the economy, I know that the problem I have is one of affluence. In other words, if I didn't have such a good life I would not have this problem. But that being said, I am going to tell you about my woes anyway.

My family and I live in a 2bedroom townhouse. It has three levels, the basement being the garage and a little office/playroom, with both bedrooms on the top floor. We have a little bit of yard but most of it is shared so we can't fence it in or keep people from walking through it. For about a year now, Hubby and I have been talking about wanting to move: to upgrade to something a bit bigger with more of a yard. Our dog needs a yard and I desperately want the boys to have a place to play. We have been hesitant to put our house on the market for fear that we will take a huge beating and screw ourselves financially. So mostly for that reason, we have stayed put.
Well just recently, we listed our place on Craig's list to try to find renters so that we can in-turn find a place to rent until the market picks up a bit more. We are not having any luck getting leads on our house and it is bumming me out!! I got myself so excited, thinking we were finally getting some momentum in this moving thing. We looked at a couple of rentals, nice houses that would have worked for us. None blew me away or jumped out as the perfect place. But then again, we are in no position to find a place to move into until we find people to move in here.
So here we are, really no further than we have ever been. Except, I really do want to move!!

Here lies the dilemma. I can't figure out if my desire to move is legitimate. I have a roof over my head, my children have beds to sleep in and food to eat and a safe place to live. Should I just be content with that? Should I just be grateful that I don't have to move and take a loss on our place and live here a bit longer until it is more to our advantage to sell?
Or should we keep trying to move into a bigger place in time to enjoy a yard this summer and have more room this winter when we are all stuck inside again?
I really don't know. I struggle at times with contentment anyway. I seem to always have something on the horizon or big ideas for how to make our life "perfect". But I am actually entering a phase of life with not much pending in the future. I will probably not have anymore kids, Hubby is in a good job that he will probably be in for at least a bit longer and I have no idea what will happen with my job. There is the chance Hubby could move up in his field soon and we might move to Texas in the next few years but that is all still a really big "if" right now and nothing we can bank on. I have been working hard on living in the moment, concentrating on the present, and not trying to just get through today to get to tomorrow. Is this just one more lesson or step in that journey?
So, do I fight for what I want.... a yard where the dog and the kids can run and play and have fun. A guest room and a play room and just a little more room to breathe. Or do I simply praise God for the house He has given us for this time and ask humbly that He help us sell it when the time is right and our next step is more clear and/or necessary?
I do love our little home. SO much life has happened here that it would be a bit sad to leave. But, I also really want my boys to have a magical, healthy, amazing childhood. I really want them to run through the grass and play in mud and have room to be free little boys while staying safe and somewhat contained. And selfishly, I would love for the dog and the boys to be able to go outside and get a little exercise without me having to be by their side every moment.
Yet, we are trying to pay down some debt and live within our means and be good stewards of what God had given us. Oh dear! I just don't know what to think about this anymore.

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Catherine March 29, 2010 at 8:08 AM  

You took the words right out of my mouth - I could have written the exact same thing! We'll see what happens, I guess...

Shannon March 29, 2010 at 8:24 AM  

Well, I can only tell you about my personal situation, housing-wise. My husband is a HUGE collector of stuff. Not so bad as the people on Hoarders, but the man has a huge collection of books, CDs, DVDs, video games, board games, etc., etc., etc. When we first moved to Illinois we were renting a tiny little two-bedroom cottage, and there were just piles of clutter everywhere. It really took a toll on my mental health. So, for that reason, I do not think that wanting a bigger place for your family is greedy or selfish.

Katharos March 29, 2010 at 9:31 AM  

Our motivation was different (i.e. we were relocated for my husband's job), but I can tell you the result of more room, a yard, etc.

We were extremely blessed to sell our house in Cincinnati quickly (after putting a lot of work into it) and not get completely hosed on the sale.

We found an amazing house in KC and were able to afford it due to the current market. We are finally fencing this week in anticipation of better weather. The kids and dog finally have a yard. We have room to breathe and enough space that even with kiddo #3 on the way I could easily see our kids leaving for college from this house.

While I don't enjoy the extra house to clean (I really hate housecleaning and it is nearly impossible to keep it clean with little ones, a big dog, a husband, etc.), the change has been amazing. I have found an enjoyment of cooking I didn't have before now that I have a kitchen more than one person can stand in (and a traffic flow that allows me to still be involved with what the kids are doing while I am cooking). We spend more time outside because we have a yard to play in. We tolerated winter cooped up inside much easier because we had room to spread out (and a playroom to put a fold-up slide in for some physical activity).

As you pointed out, all of these things are a result of being blessed beyond measure. We would have been absolutely happy and just as blessed in our smaller home. Our happiness is not dependent upon material things like a bigger house or a yard. Many things have become easier with more room, but you will find issues with whatever you have (like too much house to clean, maintain, furnish, etc.).

I too have a problem with contentment - there is always something I would like to have or do. As a result of moving so much growing up I periodically get the itch to make a change. Luckily I can often satisfy the need by rearranging some furniture, painting a room, exploring a new part of the city, or something like that.

Sorry this almost turned into its own blog post! Just talk it over with your hubby, pray about it, and follow your heart. While it may not be the easiest route to take, you will do it with the confidence that you are both on board and have sought God's will in the matter.

Atwood-Family of 4 March 29, 2010 at 2:06 PM  

I hear you. Although our house is a bit bigger than yours for that and other reasons, we are wanting to move too. If the housing market were normal, our house would be on the market w/in the next 3 months probably-but as it is now our sights are set on putting it up in 24 months. Yeah, 2 years. When we will probably have another baby and even less space than we do now. So what I do now is what you said-be content. If you are in a place to rent and have your house rented, then I say go for it-if that situation works financially for you. It does not work for us to financially put our house on the market for another 2 years (this all rides on the housing market going back up to normal in that time and us being able to break even on selling our house-if we sold now we'd lose at least 25K). Since there isnt' a way for us to move as soon as I want, I choose to be content. Of course discontentment creeps up-sometimes daily-but i remind myself that I have a house, I have healthy children, my husband makes enough for me to stay home, we eat w/o fear of not every single day...we are more blessed than most people in the world-who am I to complain because I don't have another 500 or 1000 extra square feet? this is what I tell myself...BUT if we were in a place to move, I would activly be looking and fretting. So I think it depends on you-if you can move somewhere else, then search for that and be okay w/ that process of wanting. If you can't move then be okay with that and remind yourself of the blessings and rest in the knowledge that God has placed you in this very moment and space in time for a reason....

Melinda April 1, 2010 at 9:51 PM  

I share the contentment issue, as I know you know. I have learned two things recently that may or may not help. #1 - God WILL meet your needs and abundantly bless you but he can't if you're busy fretting over it and trying to make it happen on your own. #2 - If things you're trying aren't working out, it's likely because they're not meant to.

Either way, I feel your pain, girl! hUGS TO YOU!

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