We Handed The Master Bedroom Over To The Kids To Save Our Marriage

Photo: iStock

After years of creating spaces for first our daughter, and then our son, this change about us!

We're giving the master bedroom to our kids.

It seems a little counterintuitive, but by squeezing our bed into the closet-like second bedroom, it gives us an outside shot at having private adult space. We live in a small place — four people in less than 500 square feet — and that means a constant re-imagining of how to best navigate such tight proximity. What if we put that dresser into the closet? How about moving the desk into the kitchen?

Our latest move is all about my wife and I as a married couple.

After years of creating spaces for first our daughter, and then our son, this recent shift is about our marriage.

We need our own room, a place with no cribs or child beds or towers of chewed-on children's books, a place where we can lay at night and read, where we can actually fall asleep together. 

We've both felt a growing need for this, the months and years of co-sleeping and doubling down on our economical small space slowly building up.

Both kids are in day care now, and I started working after nine months of paternity leave, while my wife is in school and working. With one parent always home on parental leave, it made for a slower-paced life, which worked well to ground us. Now we have a busy family calendar, and no touchstone.

We miss each other.  

Of course, the kids miss us, too. We're not suddenly changing our parenting philosophy. Yes, we're going to get the children to fall asleep in their own beds.

But by morning, we fully expect them to have crept into the big bed in our tiny room. 

This change states our intent to each other: We need the retreat. We need to work harder at maintaining our connection.

At the moment, big boxes from IKEA for our new corner closet fill our apartment, as well as clothes not yet stored away. And our son has not been sleeping through the night.

Our life should seem more chaotic, but it doesn't feel that way, because we know that evening will come soon, and we'll be able to crawl into bed together and turn out the lights and hug — just like we did what seems like an entire lifetime ago, when we were childless and well-rested and much less wise.