Our Home: A Reluctant Kind of Love

Our condo home.

Today has been one of those days where it’s hard to love my home. Some days I do love it, but if I’m honest with myself, I usually have to talk myself into feeling that way.

We bought our 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo at the height of the housing bubble. My husband and I were 26, and tired of renting our crappy little apartment next to the neighbors from hell. I was desperate for a house of my own. And so we met with a mortgage broker, who told us we did in fact qualify for a home (little did I know that practically anyone with a heart beat qualified for a home loan in 2006). 

We house shopped for a few weeks, and buying a townhouse or condo seemed like the better fit for us at the time. We were young and didn’t really want the hassle of lawn work and shoveling. Plus, we could afford more room and a better neighborhood if we went the condo route, so we happily signed papers on a unit in a little manor fourplex.

That was 9 years ago this month.

Never in a million years did I ever think we’d still be here. The condo was supposed to be our first step on the property ladder, our starter home, where we’d live for about 5 years, until we decided to have children. And then the housing bubble burst.

Our home has been underwater ever since, although it’s slowly rising again and it seems far less desperate than it did in say, 2010. 

And here we are, living in our little 1134 square foot condo with two little boys, 5 and 2. This isn’t the life I always imagined, with the yard and the picket fence. And days like today, where the neighbors in our association are driving me bananas, and there are toys all over the floor, and the carpet is stained again, I sigh, my eyes fill with tears, and I feel like I will never love this house. 

I feel so much envy of those who have what I want – single family homes – and I hate it, because envy is not flattering on anyone. I do my best to count my amazing blessings: we have a warm home in a safe, beautiful neighborhood. We can walk to school and daycare every day. There’s a gorgeous nature center with a farm (a farm!) right across the street. The kids can ride their bikes in the cul de sac with their neighborhood friends. I have a big kitchen that has seen many dinner parties and gatherings of family and friends. We’ve decorated, painted, arranged, DIY’d, and really made this house our own.

But some days it’s tough. When I wish we could have outdoor BBQs, or host a bonfire, or just open the door and let the kids run outside instead of having to schlep downstairs and stand around in the parking lot. It’s hard to feel like our future is on hold until we get a real house.

And then my littlest will say in his 2=year-old lisp, “our house!” when we pull into the driveway. And his brother will gather all the stuffed animals and heap them onto the couch to play “cozy town.” And we’ll snuggle up by the fireplace, and then even though I can have a hard time loving this house, they love it with all their might. That makes me love it just a little bit more.

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  1. 1

    finding contentment in life is such a challenge, isn’t it. Your struggle is real and I admire the way you can wisely see past your frustrations, even when they are engulfing you. I don’t blame you for wanting what you want; and I won’t try to convince you not to want it. I can only walk alongside you and share your frustration that life does not always give us what we wish we could have!

    • 2

      Thank you so much for your comment! It is such a challenge, you’re right! I think it’s hard for me to realize I can still want and yearn for a house but still be able to enjoy the place we’re at in the here and now. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive, even if they feel like it sometimes!

  2. 3

    How lovely and honest of you! As women we are so defined by our homes, and when they’re not what we want, what our soul wants (as cheesy as that sounds!) it’s so hard to see past it. I love that your children help you to see your “starter” home for what it is- their safe place and the only home they know. and that’s all they’ll remember!

  3. 5

    Your story really touched my heart… I also bought sort of a crusty home during the housing bubble, so I feel your pain there. My situation is completely opposite of yours, My crusty home is now an a\empty nest, and since it is a single family home, I am responsible for all the yardwork etc. I have considered selling, but don’t know if I am still underwater? and IF I even want to leave this home that is the gathering place for when my grown sons DO come home. and there it is… that word… HOME. I think this series, this community, the book, is very compelling. Hearing your story and other women’s stories of SO many feelings tied to ‘home’. I WANT to love this home again and I hope you can too. You have described a beautiful life that you have created for your young family, and as the previous commenter stated, it is the safe, “comfytown” place that your kids love, and that is so special!!!
    p.s… are you near the Indianapolis area? maybe we can trade spaces, LOL!

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