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Considering housing without children

By Victoria Fryer 

When my husband and I began looking for a house to purchase, a little over four years ago, we were still waffling over the idea of whether or not to have children. And then we found it—a move-in ready house with a beautiful view of the river and a garage that provided him the room to do the things that he enjoys.

But as we walked around the empty house on the day we signed the closing papers, it hit us: we hadn’t at all considered whether or not it was appropriate to have a child here.

Of course, there is no perfectly ideal situation, and parents have worked within a great deal more constraints than we would be offered, should we choose to have a child in this house. But as we looked out of our front windows at the steep, four story drop-off down to the river bank, we saw a danger that we might have considered a drawback, had we been thinking of starting a family.

There are other, small convenience as well. With only one viable spare bedroom, we would be limited as to how full we could fill the house. And with only one full bathroom, showers in the morning or bathtime at night could be a logistical nightmare. Not to say that no family has ever lived in such a home and been happy—but we looked at plenty of homes in a similar price range that would have afforded us more conveniences in that area, and we chose what we chose.

This isn’t to say that our decision was impacted in any significant way by the house we purchased. Instead, it was as if it brought out our true feelings and priorities. If, in fact, we’d harbored a desire to have children, we might have thought differently about the home we were planning to purchase.

Today, we’re very happy here—and, of course, with our decision to forego having children. But I’m a restless spirit, and can see myself wanting to move one day.

And thinking about the next step, I find myself relieved that we could pick up and go almost anywhere—to an urban apartment, or to a country cabin, or even into a tiny house. We live simply and would be able to cull our possessions to the bare necessities if the situation warranted. We don’t need a lot of space. We also have the freedom to move into what some people would call a “rough” neighborhood, a noisy downtown location, or a bad school district. After all, it’s just the two of us.

So, I wonder: how many of you have used the (relative, and in this context) freedom to guide you in making decisions as to where you’ll live? Have you moved someplace you wouldn’t have been able to if you’d had children? What kind of places do you dream of living in that might not be possible with children?

Victoria Fryer is a 31-year-old writer and content strategist. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two pit bulls. You can find her on Twitter @extoria.

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