It’s the one-week anniversary in the new house (it was when I started writing this). I have been crazy overwhelmed every minute, with no rest and no leisure for me or my husband. Some of our roommates seem strangely calm and composed through the chaos (especially Rusty Dog). I would like to have that kind of personality, but it seems I’m pretty excitable.
Good parts: having people around all the time. I don’t have a lot of need for alone time. I’m most at ease when I’m sharing a space with a few people I know well. I love waking up to a bustle in the kitchen and someone frying eggs. After the kids are in bed if I have any energy at all I walk downstairs and feel the quiet comfort of people using their laptops and sipping tea.
I love the casual collective parenting that happens effortlessly. It means I can steal a few minutes for myself in moments I never could before we moved. As the only party with two young children, rather than one, I benefit more than anyone. I can sleep in a bit even after my co-parent has left for work. Thank you, roommies!
In writing the list of good things, I started to forget what the difficult parts are. Which means I’m getting more sleep. Still, let’s disclose them…
Difficult parts: There are dozens of tiny household policies to be defined, discussed and communicated to everyone. I general enjoy these kinds of conversations, but I started to get very weary partway through the week. At its worst, it is policing and being policed. For example, “Hey, do you mind if we don’t listen to talk radio in the common space?” that was me policing. Mostly it’s just peaceful discussions, but usually only with 2-3 participants. Then you have the remaining 3-4 participants not aware of the discussion, so you have to schedule a part 2. This should all be resolved with a house meeting, but good luck scheduling that on short notice! Also, we have to inform the nanny about any decisions that affect her.
One issue is particular to me and my husband because we built the house. Every choice we made about the house becomes something we have to explain or defend or just sort of shrug at and say “oops”. Why do we have an induction cooktop that renders half of our pots useless? Why can’t we install shelves in the upstairs hallway? It’s really very hot in here! And so on.
The bittersweet parts: The sound of children playing loudly. Happy chaos, but sometimes too much chaos. Right now – sad, troubling, but a tiny bit satisfying – the sound of two children crying, neither of which is mine.