Making your house into a home

How We Make our House(s) Feel Like Home

Since getting married way back in 2003, my husband and I have lived a lot of places. He was a newspaper reporter, so we moved from tiny papers to larger papers, until he finally got out of the business four years ago. But during that time, we moved. A LOT. In some towns and cities, we had to move several times! Because we were always on the move, we’ve only ever rented houses. Let me see, at current count, we have lived in 6 towns/cities and 11 apartments or houses. Now, not all of those have been with kids, but most of them…to say we are expert packers and movers is putting it mildly!

Every house has been different, too! Some have been two stories, some have had huge yards. One even had it’s own private pond in the backyard! But one thing has stayed consistent through all of the moves and changes we’ve had.

It’s not the house that is important, it’s the home and the people within it.

This has been painfully true as my children have grown up. They’ve had to say goodbye to good friends at church and schools so that we could move on. They’ve had to leave their favorite room or backyard (again, the one with the pond!) so that we could move away. My mom used to tell my sisters and I, when we would fight, that “Friends come and go, but family is forever.” I try to push this with my kids, as well. I tell them how they can have awesome friends, and I hope they make friends they’ll have forever, but there’s no guarantee. But their siblings are, and will always be, there for them.

But even without a ‘forever’ house, we still have a ‘forever’ home. That feeling of welcome when they step in the door after school, of knowing that Mom and Dad are there at night if needed and the feeling that everything will always be better at home is something we foster. I’m not saying it’s a perfect place, but I want our house, wherever it may be, to always be a place that our children will know they are welcome and accepted; I want them to know they can always bring their friends to our house, and THEY will always be welcome and accepted.

So how do we make our house a home? There are several things we do.

We make our kids share rooms. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is (to them!) At the house we currently live in, our kids all have their own rooms (except the twin toddlers, they share a room.) This is the first time in their lives that they’ve had their own room. When we had to stay at my parent’s house for a few months, all five were in one room together (it was a huge room, but still!) Because they were cramped for awhile, we said that they could have their own rooms for awhile to spread out and have their own space. Usually, however, the boys will share a room and the girls will share a room. For the most part, this helps them to share and get along with each other. Sometimes it can lead to clashes and fights, but I’m hoping we’re growing out of those. But overall, it’s a positive experience.

We spend time in our house. We are big home-bodies. We love to stay home and play on the weekends, or just watch movies on Friday night while eating pizza in the family room. We just enjoy spending time with our family at home. I’m not saying we never go anywhere or do anything; we do. But we always make sure to relax at home as well.Spending time together as a family is a great way to grow that bond.

We invite others to spend time in our home. This is especially important as our kids get older. Whenever my preteen wants to spend time with friends, I always suggest at our house. There are a couple of (sneaky) reasons for doing this. On the one hand, I can keep an eye on him and what he and his friends are doing. On the other hand, I can get to know the kids he’s hanging out with, without seeming to be a nosy mom. On the third hand…(I can’t remember what the third thing was, I was too busy thinking about what I could accomplish if I had three hands!) Friends of my children are always welcome at my house.

By doing all these things, we’re making each house we live in a home and reinforcing the idea that family is important and family is forever.

 

 

 

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