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How moving our family into a 10x12 shed made me a happier mom

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

Yes, it’s technically true. My family of 4 lives in a HomeDepot shed in my mom’s backyard.


The wildest part of the entire story, and what a wild ride it is my friends, is that this is the happiest that I have ever been, the least amount of stress I have ever carried with me, my husband and I rarely and if ever fight or argue, and I have been calmer and more peaceful with my children.

I honestly chalk 100% of it up to the immense benefits of multi-generational living. You see, we are not meant to parent alone. And I don’t mean alone like single parenting. Alone as in all up in the house raising your children and fulfilling all the tasks that life includes with yourself and maybe a partner day in and day out. Alone. Two, if not Four, hands on deck doing all the things, all the days. That is incomprehensible in my opinion.

So how did we end here and so darn happy?

It started back in 2012 when my husband, our dog, and I moved into our first apartment together. It was gorgeous! New construction, two bedrooms and two baths, a community pool and in a very nice neighborhood in the Bay Area. I was thrilled it was on the 3rd floor because I have this perfectly rational fear that someone will break into my house one day, most likely to do murders obviously, so being on the 3rd floor was going to prevent this occurrence. We were very happy there and it was just the right fit for us.

Fast forward to 2018. Still in the apartment but now add two children and two dogs into the mix. Space was tight to say the least. I often said that we were bursting at the seams because every closet, drawer, under bed space, and shelf was being utilized. We were storing Christmas décor at my moms and baby gear at my in-laws. Our bikes were chained up at the bottom of the stairwell and the kid’s bikes/out door toys sat on our patio. The worst part of it all was bringing groceries up. You guys. I am not even kidding when I say I would strap my baby to me in her carrier, hold about 6 bags of groceries, heard my toddler up the three flights of stairs (God forbid he decided to stop or run off down another hallway), then repeat until the groceries were brought in. It sucked and was my biggest challenge. I did the delivery services a lot, I also shopped when hubby was home. But those stairs were honestly the biggest stressor for me with two little ones. Plus taking the dogs out a few times per day under the same conditions (baby carrier and loose wild toddler) made me dread the anticipation of leaving.

I also must share that both my husband and I are Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist living and working in the Bay Area. Income for these jobs with the cost of living is outrageous. We literally could not afford anything else besides our apartment with the income coming in. It’s insane and frustrating and that rant will be left for another time and place. However, pertinent to point out for the story because we were frequently looking up new jobs and places to live in other areas. Stairs an immediate deal breaker.

After some searching, my husband came across a job in a different city that paid an incredible amount more. Like more than most people in the same position make within our industry! Can you believe it? Finally! It was time to move along and find a home for our family with more space and be able to relax and enjoy the stuff we should be enjoying. Dream come true, right?

We immediately started looking around at homes to buy and could not settle on one. The ones that we could afford were small, super run down, and just not in the best neighborhoods. I am down for updating and living with fixes for a while but these were not aligning with what we had envisioned for our family. Might I mention to my non-CA peeps who are reading this that what I’m referring to as “affordable” was fora 1300sq ft fixer upperer around the half a million mark.

I just couldn’t do it. I could not for the life of me put all of our savings for a down payment on any of these houses and call it a home. It just didn’t feel right.

My husband suggested renting a home in the same town instead of buying. Even though we would be paying rent, we could still get in and save more money the buy a home we actually liked. I was so hesitant because I have always been scared of the owners deciding that they want the house back and then we would have to move. But he assured me that he has always rented homes along with Joe Schmo and the slue of other people that he knew where that scenario never once happened. It seemed like a good means to our end and so we moved forward and rented a home in town.

It was magical my friends. The home was on a court, full of neighborhood friends to play with, block parties to attend, great parks within walking distance and a small town feel. I felt like it was home immediately and began working in the garden and got into planting succulents. I took pride in the yard and had many play dates for the kids and hosted people weekly.

My husband, though, not too happy. His job flat out sucked to put it bluntly. He was on call so much with an extremely high turn over rate and he was barely home or present. He would wake up at 4am to hop on his computer for a few hours, then head into work, then back on the computer once the kids went down to bed. Weekends included. I’ve never seen him so incredibly stressed. He was not sleeping, not moving his body enough, checked out, and irritable when he was around. Once, for about a week, he had severe memory loss. Anything he and I discussed or anything that went on, he completely forgot about it even after reminding him. He verbalized how unhappy he was and was missing out on enjoying time and life with his family. Oh and for Christmas, they mailed him a $25 Amazon gift card and a snack box as his year end bonus. I begged him to send it back to them. Low blow.

We are firm believers in making each day count and focusing on being a strong family. When one member is weak, we all are. The plan was not working and would not thrive the way things were going. After much back and forth about how to move forward, he started looking for another job and I launched my first online parenting course to bring in some extra income. He was looking within commuting distance from our rental so we could keep the house and I was busy getting our son signed up for Kindergarten. Moving right along seamlessly.