Sunday, November 30, 2008

Do Children Need their own rooms?


My twitter and facebook status read:

"Added two bedrooms to our home this afternoon. Exhausted, but hoping for a more peaceful bedtime and week."

Perhaps some explanation is necessary.

We have an almost entirely finished basement, including a lovely bathroom. It is almost entirely a wide open space and has served our family in several different ways since we moved into our home almost four years ago (four years?!). Currently we have been doing school, playing GameCube, and housing my overflowing piles of crafty projects or could-be-projects.

On the main level of our home we have three bedrooms, meaning that the girls share a room, Marc and I share a room, and Caleb and his legos share a room. Two of the three arrangements are generally amicable. The first has reached levels of hostility and stress that are overwhelming.

Having lived and worked in residence life at high school and college levels, we have told ourselves for years that we are doing 'some roommate somewhere' a favor by allowing our children to experience community living by sharing a room. We have said, 'oh isn't some spouse in the future fortunate that our children are having this experience now'.

Well, we still believe that. BUT. I. NEED. SOME. PEACE. I have found that I am partly of the personality type that values Peace almost above all else. The only thing I love more than that is Perfection (but I am working on that with the help of my love of chocolate). Further, I believe that the personality of one of our little developing wee ones also values peace and order. While her roommate values being in control. At all hours. In all manner.

I'm not sure which straw or which camel, but somewhere over this weekend, it all became a mess.

Recently, my Dad gave us several room partitions that he had acquired through an odd job. Nice room partitions. And if you know us, you know that we have no shortage of books and happen to be at a season where we actually have the shelving for most of them. And most of those books are on those shelves in our mostly finished basement.

SO, I figured out this morning (before church I might add) that we needed about 45 ft of wall, and that with our found room dividers and sturdy and full bookcases, we had about that many feet of 'wall'. And the most important ingredient to the whole thing: Marc's consent and willingness to help.

We could have had one child move downstairs, but have previously tried this and it was the small part of "unfinished" basement that got to her. We hope that by putting the two older ones downstairs it will seem less like exile and more like a 'secret club of older siblings'. Amazingly, the buy-in from the two olders came quite easily.

After church, we came home, had lunch and set to work.
Rearranging our mostly finished basement, disassembling and re-assembling beds, bureaus, and carrying toys and books.

And now our three children have three bedrooms. They are learning about community that allows separation and alone time.

And allows me to escape from the role of referee (aka family spiritual director) to recharge my own vision for community in our family and beyond.



1 comment:

Hotflashes said...

Hi Em - sounds like you and Marc are really getting things under control. What a great idea and approach with the children. Kudos to you and here's wishing you less referee time and more 'soaking bubbles' time! - Elizabeth