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We Gave Our Kids the Master Bedroom

Why This Move Saved Our Marriage

We live in a small space — four people in less than 500 square feet — and that means a constant reimagining of that space. What if we put that dresser into the closet? How about moving the desk into the kitchen?

Our latest move is all about my wife and I as a couple. After years of creating spaces for first our daughter and then our son, this is about us. We need our own room, a place with no cribs or child beds or towers of chewed-on children's books, a place where we can lie at night and read, where we can actually fall asleep together.

So we are giving up the big bedroom. It seems a little counterintuitive, but by squeezing our bed into the closet-like second bedroom, it's giving us an outside shot at an adult space.

We've both felt the need for this growing, the months and years of co-sleeping and doubling down on our economical small space slowly building up. Both kids are in daycare now, and I have started work after nine months of paternity leave, while my wife is in school and working. With one parent always home on parental leave, it made for a slower-paced life, which worked well to ground us. Now we have a busy family calendar and no touchstone. We miss each other more.

Of course, the kids miss us more too. We're not suddenly changing our parenting philosophy. Yes, we're going to get the children to fall asleep in their own beds. But by morning, we fully expect them to have crept into the big bed in our tiny room.

This change is more like a statement of intent to each other: We need the retreat. We need to work harder at maintaining our connection.

At the moment, our apartment is filled with big boxes from IKEA for our new corner closet and clothes that have yet to be stored away. And our son has not been sleeping through the night. So our life should seem more chaotic, but it doesn't, because we know that evening will come soon, and we'll be able to crawl into bed together and turn out the lights and hug, just like we did during what seems like an entire lifetime ago, when we were childless and well-rested and much less wise.

  • Sometimes an unusual change can make a big difference.

We Gave Our Kids the Master Bedroom
Why This Move Saved Our Marriage
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