When Family Grows Faster Than Your Bank Account

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small home sitting on money
One man's family lives in less than 500 square feet. His wife wants more.

Sounds reasonable, right? It should be. But I'm on nine months of paternity leave, which pays, but doesn't pay as well as my job. And even when I am working, I'm just a part-timer. (It is every parent's right under Swedish law to cut their hours back to 75 percent if their children are under 7 years of age. This law ensures a parent's ability to spend more time with their children during those formative years.) And my wife decided to go back to grad school after her maternity leave, forcing her to take a leave of absence from her job. With our drop in income, we can't really afford to upgrade, even though we could really use the space.

I feel a little un-manly about this, like I should be bringing home the big paycheck and paying for the house with the big yard. But we tried that when we were living outside New York, and it didn't go so well for us as a couple. Why One Dad Embraced A Reversal Of Gender Roles

So basically, my strategy is this—just hold on until the summer. Because, in the summer, Sweden becomes a different place. The view outside our window is suddenly a Narnia-like path, and woods. The kids can play outside in the park across the street. We suddenly have the energy to shuffle the furniture, finally finding that magic feng shui. We talk about how we could easily stay in this apartment until our oldest kid is 10. Why would we ever leave?

Then the real estate section of the damn newspaper comes out, and my wife calls me over.

"Look at this place.  Wouldn't it be perfect?"