This Saturday I came home from a major grocery shopping trip (the one where I used my monthly 10 percent off coupon at PCC) and my entire family just sat on the couch staring at me as I struggled to carry load after load of food in from the garage all by myself. Choice words were said by me.
Afterward, when I had calmed down, I remembered that my husband had woken up at 6 a.m., made the kids pancakes, biked them to the park and back, mowed the lawn and folded a few loads of laundry, all before lunch.
Oh, yeah, and I also remembered how lucky I am to even have a garage.
Coming home from the grocery store to an apartment is even harder, especially if you have young children in tow. Have you ever carried groceries up multiple flights of stairs from a parking garage to your apartment with your infant son swinging from a Baby Bjorn?
Even if you load up your arms to the point that shopping bags are cutting off your circulation, it takes a lot of trips. You can forget going to the gym because unloading groceries from Costco is like climbing Mount Rainer.
By the time my daughter was born, my family was living in a house, so I have no idea how I would have carried groceries up to our old apartment with a 4-year-old and a baby. Probably a leash would have been in order.
I think apartment dwelling parents deserve a medal every time they come home from Fred Meyer.
Raising kids in an apartment presents other challenges, too, especially at night. Do you try letting your 10-month-old “cry it out” in his crib if you know that your elderly neighbor next door is listening?
Do you leave your stroller on the balcony?
Should you put bars on the windows to make sure your toddler doesn’t fall out?
How old are those carpets and do you really want your son licking them?
Which vent is that cigarette smoke coming from?
Those types of questions can drive you nuts, but apartment residency has a lot of positives, too.
You don’t have to be stuck living next to a low-performing school because your mortgage is underwater.
You never have to deal with three different arborists telling you three different stories about which trees might (or don’t) need to come down in your back yard.
You won’t have to cough up $15,000 when your roof needs to be replaced.
You and your spouse will never argue about whose turn it is to clean out the garage.
When I was an apartment dwelling mommy, I thought that owning a house and a garage would solve most of my problems.
It turns out that I was both right and wrong. Instead of loading our kids up and heading for the Olympics on weekends, my husband and I now have a ton of yardwork to do instead.
But if we ever did find time to go camping, we have about half of REI stored in our garage. I think the tent is behind the bike trailer, next to the ice cream maker, but behind the extra paint for the kitchen.
Oh, heck, I’ll never find it in all that mess.
Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.blog.com.