I cant stop comparing what we have to everyone around me

(50 Posts)
CrossWords Sat 20-Jul-13 23:01:14

We live in a wealthy area but in a small flat. It makes me miserable that we dont have the space for my kids to invite other kids back for playdates or sleepovers. All their friends are in big 3 or 4 bedroom houses. I feel like they are beginning to realise they are not in the same boat which makes me really sad. Is it better to move to a different area than be less well off in a nice part of london?

hernow Sat 20-Jul-13 23:10:22

we live in a wealthy area in what some would consider an expensive house but to others they would see our house as the cheap end of the market and their own as far grander. I see others who live in similar to ours and others as slightly smaller but better set out making it nicer place to cope with greater numbers than our own. I also feel miserable that we dont have the space for my kids to invite others back for playdates etc and also feel miserable at times that others have huge expensive homes that can accommodate friends much easier. In the end you have to put on a big warm welcome, let the children fit in where they can as long as they are having a happy time they are happier in some where where the welcome would be less genuine and we all notice if someone doesn't like us to feel at home don't we. trying to make you feel better by saying I understand but kids love just being together and any that make snarky comments about space or having more are just not nice kids and get left out as they get older.

AbbyGally Sat 20-Jul-13 23:11:15

Do fun different shit! Buy a treasure hunt (bout 15 quid) but do not feel you are missing anyone out on anything. OR make a camping night a big thing(?). Do not feel apologetic x

Leviticus Sat 20-Jul-13 23:17:42

You have a lovely family and live in a lovely part of London.

Try to see what you have rather than what you don't.

CrossWords Sat 20-Jul-13 23:23:45

You are all really helpful and i feel bad now for moaning. Its just i feel like i've failed when one of the kids asks why we dont have an upstairs or a garden sad

valiumredhead Sat 20-Jul-13 23:26:19

We lived in a flat for years with no garden, always had ds's mates round to play.

Dunham Sat 20-Jul-13 23:31:03

CrossWords no ! please don't move because of that. I used to go to school where everybody else had mansions/estates/swimming pools. We had a 3 bed on an estate (not in london). But my Mum said my friends said they were quite happy for friends to come round and play. And my friends were not concerned with the size of our house. Likewise, it would not bother me if one of DD's friends lived in a flat. All we care about is that she has friends. Kids can play anywhere. They don't need a garden or upstairs.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 20-Jul-13 23:41:11

You are what you are and you have what you have OP. Mine have had friends who have lived in a small flat and they have always come home and said tHey had a lovely time and wish our house was cosy like a flat.

If you give out hteen eyed vibes your DC will pick it up so don't go there.

CrossWords Sat 20-Jul-13 23:49:39

oh no im not jealous for myself - i dont want my kids to be "different" is all

timidviper Sat 20-Jul-13 23:53:18

Someone told me years ago "Happiness is not getting all you want but is appreciating all you've got". Life is happier if you can try to remember that.

Leeds2 Sat 20-Jul-13 23:53:27

I really don't see why you can't have a friend round for a play date. Kids really aren't judgmental.

firesideskirt Sat 20-Jul-13 23:55:36

my kids have had many a great playdate in friends' smaller flats! I think it's sad if your negative feelings about your home is stopping you letting the kids have friends round. You don't need a large home for it to be welcoming. Or a garden - most of the time the weather is crap anyway!

Mammyisthegirl Sun 21-Jul-13 01:21:24

Timidviper: Hear, hear.
We live in very modest semi in nice area, some of my colleagues like to talk about "your little house". Except that we live within our means and I think it's a happier state of mind than (a) swamped by debt or (b) rubbish area. Children don't care where they play. Try and be glad for all that you have - sorry that's such a boring Pollyanna-ish thing to say.

Chatteringarses Sun 21-Jul-13 09:32:33

Sorry for huge post here. DP and I are in the same boat (bit cramped in here innit) grin and this feeling has bothered me for some time. We have other non-negotiable reasons for needing to stay living in this area, which happens to be in a naice part of town. In any case right now we can't afford the costs of moving out from our tiny 2-bed flat which we really stretched ourselves to buy pre-DCs. God knows what we will do when interest rates go up.

The costs of buying a bigger flat locally are way beyond our wildest even if we both worked full time and didn't have to now factor in for childcare. We have one baby DC and I am SAHM partly because the costs of local nurseries are so incredibly crazy because of the minted local clientele.

I suspect it's not that helpful for me to encourage you to be grateful for what you have. I think what you're saying is you are grateful, it's just that you worry about the possible effects on your DCs. That is legitimate to have as a worry I think even if you do get to enjoy the up-sides of living in a naice area, of which there are many. (DP and I each had previously always lived much more cheaply in dicey parts of town before this and have been victims of crimes there.. So the difference in terms of a liberating feeling of greater personal safety etc in just walking the streets is brilliant. Esp. Now we have a baby to take out.)

but I have all the worries that you do about how much where we live is making a lot of decisions for us. I know loads of people have to make this same choice for financial reasons and i really feel for them, but I am becoming increasingly sad that we will have to stop at one baby. If we had another and they were of opposite sex we would have to move to get them an extra bedroom and we can't move. Also the second bedroom here is minute so even if we chanced it and got same sex baby again they two would be in bunk beds with virtually no storage space each until they left home! As it is, once our DC is older, we won't be able to sleep with them in our bed for the night if say, we want to have the grandparents to stay overnight on the camp bed in DC's tiny room. (I really feel for families affected by he bedroom tax because not having a spare room makes all kinds of family and friends relationships and the possibility of occasional informal childcare impossible unless you have a massive sofa and give them your bed...)

I fear my DC's future local peers being judgey about our shoebox flat as in my limited experience (within my group of NCT mums) they live in either much bigger and swisher flats or bigger houses so that will be their norm.

I am realising in writing this that I am being U but I am so bothered by the other much more obviously wealthy (and definitely more sophisticated/materialistic) local NCT mums reactions to our place that I haven't invited anyone of them back to ours. This has probably already been noted as I am always very much on the edge of the group as they must be getting a 'don't get too close' vibe coming from me. My pre-baby RL friends who now have kids all live in cheaper ungentrified areas, mostly in houses which they find affordable although they are getting to worry about the quality of local schools, so its not easy for them either.

We almost entirely socialise at their houses (we bring our DC and the dinner to theirs and cook for the group at theirs on the excuse that then they don't have to get a babysitter). We have to do this as many of our friends have more than one DC now and at our flat there is hardly any space with two sets of parents, let alone multiple small DCs in the mix. One of their nursery age kids came over and mentioned how small our place was compared to her house and I didn't know what to say- I ended up apologising to a three year old!

I'm waiting for a flaming as I can obviously see how much this is 'a naice problem to have' and how privileged we are. but I do find it makes me feel anxious and isolated and is affecting my social life. Writing this I can see I am letting it dictate my DCs social life already which must be tackled before DC reaches an age where wants to play with others. The issue is not so much affecting DP as he meets his bloke friends out at the pub usually, or if myself and DC are socialising with him as a family, we will go to our friends' houses as I say.

OP- if you have managed to stick with this thus far, thank you- how many DCs do you have and how many bedrooms? What do you plan to do as they get older?

ubik Sun 21-Jul-13 09:41:02

I live ins flat in a nice area. I have three DC. Play dates are very important to children so I would think creatively about how to do them - trip to park then dinner at yours? We recently moved but when I had 3DC in two-bed flat we still had sleepovers - DP and I would let them all sleep in the front room.

I have no outdoor space and no upstairs. Many, many children across the world live like this especially in cities. You have to work round it - we have dinner in the park, we try to get outdoors as much as possible.

noisytoys Sun 21-Jul-13 09:42:59

YANBU. I live in a small 1.5 bed flat with DH and 2DDs. People always say how its enough room for us and how I should be grateful for what we have. These same people have smaller families and bigger houses and say themselves that they couldn't live where I live with the size etc, but its ok for us.

Chatteringarses Sun 21-Jul-13 09:48:46

Ubik thanks that makes me feel a bit better. Great idea to have a living room sleepover for play dates when ours is older.

ubik Sun 21-Jul-13 09:51:17

If you don't like it, buy somewhere cheaper - I could afford a three bed semi with a garden in another area but we want to stay in this part if the city.

Yes other people we know have lovely houses/flats with gardens etc ... but I don't feel envious but it's pointless, the choice is either move it make the best of it.

Pigsmummy Sun 21-Jul-13 10:09:33

I live in a very small house in a very nice area, I get frustatated by lack of space, every bit of space is utilised, under the bed is used for storage, top of wardrobes etc. It looks very very cluttered, not the lovely home that we moved into (a lovely couple were here before). I am going to have to get rid of loads of stuff and have started eBaying. I felt embarrassed to bring people here to begin but now I don't care. I have a lake within a 10 minute walk, parks, lovely little shops and a choice of schools. We don't need extra bedrooms, swimming pool etc to be happy, neither do you.

Chatteringarses Sun 21-Jul-13 11:34:33

Pigsmummy yes same here- trying to drastically reduce clutter wherever we can as the flat is groaning at the seams with just the basics and a few toys about and looks awful. Another reason why it's embarrassing having people over. It's annoying having no storage space- for example with food- I need to economise, buy essentials in bulk etc while we are on one salary but we have a tiny fridge freezer and no space to store sacks of rice etc, so it's hard. But there are perks- there is green space nearby so sometimes blackberries in autumn! smile

We also live in a lovely area but in a small 2 bedroom house. DS is only a baby but I already worry about the same things you do OP because most houses around here are 4/5 bedroom detached. Moving is out of the question for a long time so we have to make the most of it and declutter as much as we can.

justmyview Sun 21-Jul-13 11:58:59

It's all relative. In life, there will always be some people better off than you financially, others worse off. Learning to live within your means and appreciate what you have are all valuable life skills for your children to learn by example from you

ubik Sun 21-Jul-13 12:01:09

What I find most tricky is stuff the most people would put in a porch/ garage. We have a cupboard filled with tools, camping gear, suitcases etc..but that cupboard also houses the tumble dryer/ironingboard/ vacuum cleaner.

We are looking at cupboards from Ikea, slim and fitted against the wall for coats and shoes - bloody shoes always all over the hallway.

But you have to accept a certain amount if chaos with children.

mirry2 Sun 21-Jul-13 12:12:57

Make the negatives into positives. a friend of my dd asked why we only had a small car with 2 doors so I told her it was because it was easier to park and I thought 2 doors safer than 4. Similarly you could say you live in a flat without a garden because you don't have time to work in the garden/you prefer going to the park/you'd never go out in it because the weather's so awful most of the time. All these could be true. What you mustn't do is say that you can't afford to live in a house, because then your children may well get labelled as 'different' by their friends. Like it or not, these things can be shameful to children.

Beautifulbabyboy Sun 21-Jul-13 12:32:41

OP - please don't worry. I am the person with the 4 bed house in the naice area, and I don't care where my friends live and what size their home is. When I come round, all I want is decent chat (and when not pregnant - a bottle of wine!!), all my DS wants is different toys he hasn't played with before. One of the best sleepovers I had as a child was when 4 of us squished into a tiny camper can in a garden. No space at all!!!

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