Before I married and had children I had always lived in a house share. Back then I hated the idea of living on my own. I had tried it once, albeit briefly, and had hated every second of it. Always trying to fill my spare time with social activities which my student debts didn’t appreciate. So moving into a house share was the sensible thing for me and there were always plenty of stories to regale my friends with. Like the time I came back home from a date with Mr C, unaware that my housemates had rearranged the living room. I opened the door in the dark and tripped over the sofa. The result was a lovely facial burn right under my nose, think of it looking like a little moustache that was favoured by a certain dictator. This moustache then developed into a scab which cracked every time I laughed. Attractive, not.
I loved living in a busy house with plenty going on and then when the time came for the next step I moved in with Mr C. I loved sharing our house as a couple and living at a slightly more quieter pace. I have never wanted to live alone but sometimes I now find myself fantasising about living on my own, wondering what it would be like. I have visions of living like Carrie Bradshaw in her New York brownstone apartment. I am in the slightly less busy metropolis of Jersey and not New Jersey, Jersey as in the Channel Islands. Never heard of it? Look for a tiny speck, just off France.
I am craving my own space. Somewhere I can sit undisturbed, perhaps sipping wine and there would definitely be nibbles. I’m not talking pomme bears or jammy dodgers, I’m talking proper adult snacks. My living room would be a clean, minimal space. I would be able to recline on my sofa without picking out the million of toys (and crumbs) hiding in the seat. I wouldn’t have to hop over the discarded lego to get to the fridge.
You see I have realised that sharing my house with my husband and two children is much like sharing a house with students and here is why;
• As a student when you had a house party you would often find some random passed out in your bed. This would then require you to gingerly drag them out of your bed and room. Now you crawl into your bed to find a threenager starfished across the middle. Now you have to gingerly transport them back to their bed. If you wake them up they are likely to demand snacks or punch you.
• As a student you watched rubbish on TV all day long – Diagnosis Murder, Neighbours etc Now you still have to watch rubbish, namely Team Umizoomi, Dora or Peppa Pig. Still mindless rubbish.
• As a student there would always be some drama going on which would involve a female housemate crying in a corner over an ex-boyfriend. Now there is still crying but not in the corner. Now it’s on the time-out step where one of the girls has been sent for being naughty.
• As a student the house would be very messy. Today the house is still messy with Youngest leaving a trail of biscuit crumbs where ever she goes, oldest dropping lego whenever she gets bored and Mr C leaving a pile of dirty washing on the floor.
• As a student your house would have some dubious stains. Today your house still has stains: toddler hand prints, spilt juice, ingrained chocolate or could that be…. you get the picture.
• As a student you would be woken up by your housemate at 1am as they burn their toast after a heavy night out. Now you are worken up at 1am by a threenager with the munchies demanding dry cereal.
• As a student there would always be a fight kicking off somewhere. Nowadays there is still fighting but it is with Youngest and Oldest and they are normally arguing over something not very life-changing, like what is their favourite c-beebies programme or do jaffa cakes count as a biscuit.
• As a student a party would normally involve someone stripping off and dancing naked. Today there is still stripping off and dancing around naked but no party is needed for Youngest to do this. Sometimes she might even try to do it in public, or even the school run.
• As a student you could never go to the toilet in peace as there would always be someone else wanting to use it. Today you still can’t use the toilet in peace as the children like to watch you.
• As a student you might have had to convince your housemate that 4 pints is enough and that it was time to go home to bed to which they would reply, “but I don’t wanna go to bed”, slurring their words. Now you have a threenager who does the exact same thing when you tell her it is time for bed and like you did with your housemate you have to carry her to her bed. Sometimes kicking and screaming.
• As a student you would often find random bits of food hidden away in the house. Today you still find random bits of food. Only yesterday I found Youngest’s cucumber sticks hidden under the settee, behind plants etc.
• As a student you would find discarded glasses of beer all around the house. Now you find discarded cartons of juice everywhere.
• As a student you would open the cupboards to find them bare because your housemates have eaten everything. Nowadays you open the cupboards to still find them bare because your children have eaten you out of house and home.
• As a student you are quite often broke having spent all of your money on university books and at the student union. Now you are still broke having spent all of your money on your children.
Of course this is all very tongue in cheek and really the idea of living on my own petrifies me. The solitude and peace would be nice for about ten minutes and then I would get bored and very lonely. The truth is that on those rare days where I find myself alone at home, I hate it. I hate the silence. I hate the peace. I hate the calm.
I love our busy, crazy family home and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you find that your family life isn’t that different from student life?