Yesterday, we lived in a house that was too big for us, filled with my dreams of our house being the home where my children and their friends would come to play. I constantly daydreamed of a sparkling pool in the backyard and a fence to keep the dog and kids contained.
Our home was a beautiful home where both of my sons were brought after they were born. A home filled with years of hosting friends and family members for birthday parties and holidays. Our home was surrounded by the best neighbors I could have asked for or dreamed of. The view from the street looked like a husband, wife, and two sons who were happy.
But the view from yesterday wasn’t true.
Yesterday and many days before those days, I spent cleaning a house that was way too much for a mother of two young sons, especially a single mother. The beautiful garden where my sons and I planted carrots, cucumbers, and strawberries became filled with knee-high weeds when it was time to close on our home.
Inside the house, I was always trying to keep up with the dirty floors, the smell from the boys’ bathroom, enough toys to keep a toy store in business, and the constant feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. When you have a big home, you spend more money constantly filling up the spaces. It was an ongoing struggle of improvements, guilt, and apologizing.
Today, our view is a lot different than yesterday’s. The corner sink in the kitchen with a view of endless acres of Midwest farm fields is replaced with a new view of our small family room in our tiny apartment.
We downsized tremendously, and I don’t mind it one bit.
Today’s views are filled with honesty, less stress, life lessons, and happiness. Our small apartment has taught me a lot in a short time. While I miss our neighbors dearly, I’m excited for our new chapter.
Moving into an apartment that is a fifth of the size of our previous house taught me a lot about minimalizing. The material possessions that matter most to us will be found in our homes or tucked away in a storage unit.
The size of a house isn’t important. Home is where you make it. Big houses, trailers, houseboats, or townhouses can all be filled with happiness, love, and special memories.
Having a smaller to-do list means more time with the people who matter the most. Living in a smaller home means I spend a lot more time with my sons inside and outside of these walls. We became tourists seeing the sites, trying new foods, learning new cultures, and having new experiences.
I’m spending a lot less time trying to maintain a monster-sized house which allowed little to no room for self-care for me.
I’m also finally accepting that it’s OK to rest. Whether it’s the shady trees near our apartment or the mental and physical exhaustion from life’s challenges, I have slept in more over the past few months than I have in a very long time. I’m feeling less guilty about sleeping in or taking a nap. Our bodies and our minds need to rest in order to heal physically and mentally. It’s OK to step away from the laundry or dishes and rest, free of guilt.
Regardless of the size of our home, there will always be mounds of laundry, dishes in the sink, and dirty floors. What matters most isn’t found in the size of a house, it’s found in the people who make a house a home.
Sometimes, the view from yesterday isn’t what it really seemed to be from the outside looking in. The view from today and hopes for tomorrow are looking a lot brighter every day. Yesterday’s views are replaced with a fresh start to reinvent ourselves with first impressions, new experiences, and hopeful beginnings.