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Tell me about your living situation with DCs?

21 replies

HowFastIsTooFast · 07/09/2020 10:38

DP and I are currently TTC and planning a life going forwards that includes kids.

When I was growing up I had this wistful idea that when/if I had children I'd already live in a house, with swings in the garden and a beautifully decorated nursery to bring them home to, like everyone does in the movies Hmm

The reality is that we live in a bijou 1 bedroom flat. While obviously we'll sell and move to a 2/3 bedroom, depending on the timescale this may not be until after a baby arrives and due to the cost of property where we live this is very likely to be another flat. (I've been working part-time this year due to COVID but hopefully back on full-time hours next year; Ideally I'd want to do at least 3 months back on my full salary before we apply for a new mortgage to put us on the best possible footing).

Due to our ages, putting off TTC until we already have a larger flat or a house isn't an option. It's now or never.

Obviously I know that in real life people have children in all kinds of different living situations but my current one is so different to what I've always envisaged that I'm having a bit of trouble reconciling it, and I think there are probably positives/negatives that I'm not fully taking into account.

Could I ask for your experiences of having a newborn/toddler/children/teens in anything other than the stereotypical 'spacious family home' scenario? What was good and what was bad?

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sunshineandshowers21 · 07/09/2020 11:19

i had my first baby when i was 15 so me, my boyfriend, and baby spent the first 4 years living at my grandparent’s house in one room. it wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t terrible either. we finally moved out and got our own house and had three more kids. we decorated the nursery for the next two but because they slept in our room from birth and then co-slept they didn’t ever sleep in their lovely nursery. we didn’t even bother for our fourth. babies will typically stay in your room for around six months (or six years in our case!) so you’ll have time to sort out a house or a flat.

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iswhois · 07/09/2020 11:22

OP I'm the same as you

The family home I grew up in was beautiful

Huge and well maintained garden, swimming pool, swings hanging from trees the whole lot.

We are TTC at the moment and of course ideally would want the same for my kids. We live in a two bed terrace with no garden.

The reality is though that my parents had me at 37 and 40 so of course they were much better established by that point. I don't want to put it off any longer so just have to accept that it is what it is.

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MagMell · 07/09/2020 11:28

We had DS in a tiny central London flat. Babies don't take up much space. It was great, or it was after we had some noisy upstairs neighbours evicted. (Home karaoke. I will say no more.) He slept in a sidelong cot by my bedside, started to crawl in the Great Court of the British Museum, took his first steps in Finsbury Park, and had a nodding acquaintance with the major art collections and museums from babyhood! We did eventually move out of London when he was heading for two and lived in a house in a village until he was seven, but I'm delighted he was a London child, and feel that we would have happily lived there longer. I have friends with several children living in small flats in central London very successfully.

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Jamhandprints · 07/09/2020 11:30

We had our first baby aged 32 and 34, and lived in a 1 bedroom flat at the time. Baby shared with us until we moved when he was 9 months old.
But DD is 2 now and still sleeps in my room, as we cosleep.
Our house is quite tiny with a small garden but the garden has a mud kitchen, veg patch, trampoline and a path for scooters. We live in an industrial town but right on the edge of a lovely area of woodland and leafy green footpaths to walk to school So things are not idyllic but there are many nice elements for the children.

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YerAWizardHarry · 07/09/2020 11:30

We live in a 3 flat in a shitty area (neighbour just got done for attempted murder after setting fire to ex boyfriends house type of area) my 7 year old has lived here since birth and we are happy and have a nice life. We are in the process of buying a house but I really don't think it'll make much of a difference to our quality of life except perhaps having a private garden

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HowFastIsTooFast · 07/09/2020 11:35

Thank you Ladies Smile

@iswhois DP and I are 37 and 39 so in an ideal world should be in the same position as your folks, but I spent the early part of my 30s single and assuming kids would never happen for me, so spent all my 'grown up house' money on travelling and parties Blush

@MagMell That's a great point that has made me feel a lot better. We live in a gorgeous part of the world with beaches, countryside and parks on our doorstep. There is no reason for me to fear we would be imprisoned in our small flat!

It's in the back of my mind that we could sell up here and move back to where my family are from and property is much cheaper. We could go straight into a nice 3 bedroom house with not that big a mortgage, but it would mean leaving behind our lives of 20 years, all of our friends and some of DP's family (who are better placed work/time/youth wise to provide support to us than my family back there are). It's too frightening a prospect for me at the moment, but maybe one day, when future DC are a bit bigger and ready for school....

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MyCatReallyIsAGit · 07/09/2020 11:40

We had DC1 in a 2-bed flat in London with a tiny shared garden that was difficult to access (effectively, no outside space). We moved to a 3-bed semi outside London just before he was two and had DC2 here.

It was fine. We had a lovely long hall which was great for a crawling baby and toddler, and he had a good-sized bedroom (guests were relegated to the sofa bed). There was space in the bottom of the hall for his buggy, as it was a first floor flat with own front door. No need for two change mats, etc, as everything was on a level and no need to keep running upstairs for more vests, etc.

We used the local park as an extension of our home, eg would take a rug and toys on a warm day.

Awkward points were if we had more than one friend over at a time with prams, even folded, and if the neighbours were being noisy.

It was different from being in a house but not worse. As DC1 has got older, though, it’s been a big advantage having more outside space. But at the baby stage, which I’ve now done in both a flat and a house with a garden, I wouldn’t say either had significant advantages over the other.

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onetwothreeadventure · 07/09/2020 11:47

I had two kids in a small NYC apartment and I loved it when they were up to about 1.5. I was up and out every day and loved pottering around the city. Babies don’t really take up much space - I had a friend who converted the closet to a nursery in her apartment! It was harder not having a garden when they were full of energy toddlers but we’ve moved to the country side since.

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missnevermind · 07/09/2020 12:00

We lived in an upstairs really large 3 bed maisonette in a really bad area.
The flat was fantastic long halls for little bikes and large bedrooms but no outside space. We did spend a lot of time out and about. But we had awful neighbours very loud and aggressive and problems with drugs in the area.
We moved to a small 2 bed house in a lovely area with a large back garden for 10 years and have since move to a 5 bed house in a medium area. (4 kids)
I still miss my flat Smile

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Shayisgreat · 07/09/2020 12:13

We had a 2 bed flat when DS came along. For the first 9 months we lived there. We used the second bedroom as our laundry room and study and he slept in our room in a cot.

We moved to a 3 bed house and he is now in a bedroom of his own. Our whole downstairs is open plan so we have child gates cutting off the kitchen and hallway so he has the whole living area as his play area. We have a garden now as well.

I think you can cope in a small area with a baby but once they get to crawling and walking the extra space is necessary. They're supposed to sleep in the same room as you for 6 months anyway so a nursery isn't necessary when they are born.

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allfurcoatnoknickers · 07/09/2020 12:17

DS is 14 months, and for his first year, he shared a room with us in our gorgeous, but small Apartment in Manhattan. We just moved to a 2 bed 2 bath flat with a garden - and we'll be here for a good long time.

Honestly, the small flat only got difficult because of being stuck at home due to COVID and when he started walking. Before that it was really fine! I also liked it because he was always close by.

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ColdTattyWaitingForSummer · 07/09/2020 12:21

A one bedroom flat is certainly doable with a baby / toddler. They’re meant to be in with you for at least 6 months now anyway, and many co-sleep well past that. At one point I had a 3 year old and a newborn in a one bed though, and that was a bit of a squash. It’s nice in many ways to have a garden, but keeping it nice can be a lot of work, so in some ways a flat near lots of public green space could give you the best of both worlds.

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HowFastIsTooFast · 07/09/2020 12:29

Thank you all so much for these responses, I'm feeling much better about the situation now Smile

I don't think it helps that where we live is a very wealthy area and the vast majority of my friends who have DC all lived in reasonably large houses when they were born. I know deep down though that I can't and shouldn't compare our situation to theirs.

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Hopeislost · 07/09/2020 12:45

We live with our 18 month old DD in a one bedroom flat. I'm a similar age to you and it took me 2 years to conceive. We always planned on moving to a 2 bedroom flat but due to changes in circumstances it hasn't happened yet. Yes, it's cosy, but I wouldn't trade my daughter for anything. If I were you I'd start trying, you'll manage if you have to.

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MsEllany · 07/09/2020 12:47

We bought a rundown small terrace when we only had DSS. Three bedroom although one is a tiny box and a small yard.

Twins and their little brother....and we’re still here. They’d like more room but they love our house and honestly a home is what children need and want.

It’s easy to get embroiled in memories of your own childhood - for me, it was a large house with double bedrooms for each kid in the suburbs. For my husband, it was moving every couple of years in the army and never having his own room.

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TokyoSushi · 07/09/2020 12:49

We were 30 & 32 and had our first DC in a tiny, damp, 2-bed semi. 10 years on and we now live in a beautiful 4 bed detached, we've not done anything particularly special, just been lucky when we've bought and sold.

We loved that little house and or DC were really happy there. Things evolve as you go along. You're going to be absolutely fine.

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movingonup20 · 07/09/2020 12:52

We lived in a tiny one bed flat with dd1, moved to a two bed flat pregnant with dd2, finally got a semi when dd2 was 6 months old. All rented so no beautiful nurseries. Bought a family home when they were 3&5. Life is full of twists and turns. Kids need loving parents not huge spaces and copious material things

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Stompythedinosaur · 07/09/2020 12:55

We do live in a small house, but our dc co-slept until they were close to 2 so I think you'll be OK for a while. Space might be an issue though, babies seem to have so much stuff!

The main thing I'd think about is how to store a pram/buggy without having to carry it up and down stairs every day. A sling is a good alternative for a while but around 1 dc get heavy!

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HowFastIsTooFast · 07/09/2020 13:06

Thank you all!

@Stompythedinosaur I have had a think about practicalities; with regards space we may have to move some things around especially once we reached the 6 month mark and needed a full size cot but it wouldn't be impossible.

I was thinking about the buggy/pram issue! We have a lift thankfully, but also (unless there's a reason this is wildly impractical that I haven't thought of) we could just leave it in the car boot and carry baby in/out of the building?

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Stompythedinosaur · 07/09/2020 14:37

Op, that all sounds like you have made sensible plans.

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Waxonwaxoff0 · 07/09/2020 15:26

I was a single parent by the time DS was 10 months and we lived in a flat above a takeaway until he was 7. No garden. We live in a house now but it's not spacious, it's a 2 up 2 down and a very small garden. It's all I can afford.

We had no issues at all.

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