Before starting a family my husband and I were happy enough with our set-up: a two bed flat in the part of town we've wanted to live in since moving here. A great neighbourhood with lots of cafes, indies, charity shops as well as having a wonderful community feel. The place was quite draughty and the kitchen was like a shoe-box, but we didn't let that stop us! The price felt like the best we could do for such a desirable area, so we snapped it up...
The dream came crashing down (slight exaggeration) when we brought our little bundle back from hospital and realised our home wasn't quite perfect for having more than the two of us.
Back then, the kitchen not having a door wasn't a problem, we cooked and did the dishes when the other was out of bed. With a baby this didn't work. The baby was sleeping in our room at the end of the hall but the noise of making tea or the slight clatter of dishes would wake her. This did not feel good when it took so long to get her down and when she *really* needed to sleep. We had to get creative, or should I say we had to tiptoe around, and not do proper cooking or have hot drinks whilst she was sleeping. We felt very cheeky if we dared bring the kettle into the living room to make a cup of tea. Trying to coordinate her nap times with our own mealtimes felt difficult at a time where it was hard to muster up the energy to think about eating anyway so we really didn't appreciate this when we realised what we'd done to ourselves! This also meant having a limited amount of things we could have for dinner, which was a complication that just felt unfair!
Now we're almost 9 months on, she sleeps more deeply and stirs less easily so we're that bit less worried about her waking but I still daren't fry anything when she's sleeping. The zzz's are too precious... We are learning how to cope better with the situation though. We tend to eat things that we can cook in the oven or if I have had time to make a slow-cooker meal, it really sorts us out. There are also salads (it's a kind of resolution for us to eat more salads this year) which we can prepare in the living room or just cheese, crackers, dips and snarky bits which are lazy-day dinners. Alternatively we also eat with Clem when she's having her supper at 5ish, and then have a little something if we're hungry later on. Still can't get enough of the old tea though, need ways to make more cups of tea..
Another not-so-great aspect of the flat is the tiny bathroom without a bath. Again, before we had bubs we didn't mourn the lack of bath, though it would have felt like a bonus. But on my return from the hospital what I wouldn't have gave to have a long, healing soak! A long shower just didn't cut it. Also, I didn't realise that once free-time was a thing of the past how much I'd long for a bath after a long day as a way to really de-stress, maybe with a glass of wine..This is now an absolute must for the next place we end up in! Apart from how nice a bath is to relax, it would have been lovely to be able to bathe with Clem and make bath times more special and a time for some skin-on-skin when it's difficult to get in winter, when all you want to do is wrap up warm. We are managing, and Clem has her tummy tub bath which she is enjoying more now than ever, but I will definitely remember for a potential next baby, the benefits of having a tub! Can I add to this, that the only bathroom next to the bedroom is not a great idea..just so I don't forget.
One of the best things about our flat despite all I've written so far, is the size of the lounge. We like to say it's 'American' sized, because everything is bigger (and better?!) there. It has plenty of space for Clem to crawl about and doesn't feel too squished with the two sofas and the dining table, high chair etc. we're really grateful for the space, as whereas in other parts of the flat, there's not enough room, the living space is actually quite relaxing mainly due to it feeling more open, with room to breathe as it were. It's also really important to us for Clem to have space to move about, which is why when she started crawling at seven months we pushed the furniture to the side of the room to create a big open space in the middle of the room so she can have free reign;-)