Today I received an email from a mother of a 6 month old who is about to move into their Tiny House. She had questions ranging from storage to laundry to how the heck do naps work??? I was so happy to hear from her and so happy to answer her questions with what has worked for us. As Hart changes, we have to change too and some moments have been hard and we’ve certainly been stumped a time or two as well. That said, I am pretty sure parents living in mansions are not immune to the craziness that is the first year of a baby’s life. As I closed my email to this mother I encouraged her to stay strong against any nay-sayers. It can be really discouraging to always have to explain your decision to go Tiny with a baby. So with that in mind, here’s a few more of my thoughts on the matter.
Just because something may seem like a challenge, or more accurately stated, just because everyone tells you something will be impossible, doesn’t mean that it is! While pregnant, this mentality of “How is that going to work” (AKA, “that will never work”) was so disheartening to me. Here I was about to bring a baby home to the tiny house and so many of my conversations revolved around raised eyebrows of “you’re making a big mistake”. It was enough to put me into full on panic mode on several occasions! Thankfully I had some really encouraging friends and most importantly, the other person in this marriage is much more of an independent thinker. Peter repeatedly assured me that we could make it work. He wasn’t fazed.
Now nine months on the other side, I think I’ve got something to say. As Americans, and affluent Americans especially, we have standards when it comes to babies. Those standards have gone from what they should be, a preference, to this erroneous sentiment of being a required precursor to being able to have a baby. I mean, for goodness’ sake, in our experience, all you need to have a baby is a missed birth control pill! The way Peter and I saw it, we had to have a car seat, we had to have a place for him to sleep, and we had to have clothes and diapers (assuming his nutrition would solely come from nursing which we were aware could end up not being the case). Sure, there are things that might make living with a baby easier and more convenient, but thanks to the tiny house, we are constantly forced to choose the simple option. And you know what? It works! Our baby is surviving–and dare I say–thriving, even though he doesn’t have a diaper genie, a changing table, a rocking chair, a boppy, a bottle warmer, one of those grass-looking bottle drying things, or even drawers for his clothes. For the record, Hart’s clothes are in three plastic (not sure why plastic is relevant here, but thought I might as well be accurate) Target bags in the kitchen cabinet under the stairs. One bag for pants, one bag for shirts and one bag for sleepers. It is a little silly, but it honestly works great. Quick tip for packing for trips with a babe: I discovered this solution while packing for our trip to Austin. I didn’t want to have to dig through all his little clothes to find a clean onesie after a huge blowout so I organized them in the bags before putting them in the suitcase. It worked great on the trip so then while unpacking I decided to make the travel solution our permanent one.
I want to be clear. It is not that I think anything is wrong with the amenities and comforts that have become our standards and norms. In fact when I’m at a friends house I happen to LOVE nursing Hart in their rocker or heating a bottle all lickety-split. These comforts are well… comfortable.. What I am saying is that it can be done, and done well, without them. I can’t tell you all how encouraging it is when my friends say, “oh you’ll be fine, you don’t need all of this” or “you can totally figure out a way that works for you” or even “if anyone can figure it out, you guys can!” as opposed to something to the effect of the dreaded, “that will never work”. How am I supposed to respond to that? I mean it HAD to work. We don’t have another option. That baby was coming and we lived in a Tiny House. Like mentioned above, I walked away from those conversations discouraged, somehow embarrassed and honestly feeling a little frantic. Again, thankful to good friends and an eternally optimistic husband for getting me through tough moments!
So if there is one message I’d like to get out, it’s that it is possible to have a baby and live simply. Wherever you may find yourself, you and your baby will figure it out. I am forever thankful for this experience as I am a more creative, resourceful, flexible and accepting person today because of it.