But, though we've always felt safe on our block, we're located near our city's downtown, on the edge of a neighborhood that many folks we know think "questionable" at best. We're sandwiched between one house covered in ugly brown tar-paper siding the owner has no intention of upgrading and another that's more than 100 years old and sits vacant since the elderly widow, whose parents were actually the home's original owners, passed away in 2011. The homes across the street are in better shape, but there's no denying our proximity to one of the city's major thoroughfares, making our wide avenue quite busy and not exactly kid-friendly.
Our backyard is fenced-in. But the fence is old and has begun to lean in recent years. Our cute deck is older than the fence - safe, but definitely in need of a facelift. Our enclosed little yard has served our daughters well over the years, but I don't know if the grass will ever sprout again under the swing set. And our big, lovely shade tree has seen better days as well.
When we first went house-hunting, my husband and I knew the old "location, location, location" mantra, but we bought the house anyway because the neighborhood - though old - is safe. Additionally, the house is a style we both love. And, most significantly, we got it for an exceedingly reasonable price we could afford on one income. At the time - before our children were born - we both worked at paid outside jobs, but we were both committed to having me stay at home when children came along, and we didn't want a mortgage that would interfere with our priority. We baffled our realtor and the mortgage company, but we held firm.
We did make several large upgrades before our children were born 10 and 11 years ago: new carpeting, a new furnace and new central air, and adding the fence, among other things. And we strive within our current means to keep things looking decent on the outside and clean and inviting on the inside; in fact, I just spent several days on a major cleaning spree. But, for now, there are no discretionary funds for any major improvements because we remain committed to keeping me home to directly parent our children. In fact, I'm not only home, but we've also committed to homeschooling through high school graduation. So, while I do supplement our income a bit by babysitting a couple of little ones, my focus and energy are on educating and discipling our girls rather than bringing in a paycheck. And our trade-off is a less-than-perfect home.
Every once in a while, my husband and I get frustrated. It'd be nice to avoid sending guests to the basement bathroom for their showers. I'd love a main-floor laundry area with new machines instead of finding after every load that the old basement washer leaks from some hidden location. I envy the folks on HGTV's Love It or List It who can both afford to pay Hillary for a renovation and consider upgrading to one of the dazzling homes David shows them.
But to get the "perfect" home, I'd have to give up too much. I'd have to go against the call my husband and I know God has on our lives in terms of our kids so I could get back into the paid workforce to afford the reno and/or relocation. I'd have to be away from my daughters for eight to 10 hours a day with little idea what they were learning and experiencing in my absence. I'd have to devastate them by ripping them away from a home they find cozy and secure.
I'm linking up with the Hearts at Home Third Thursday Thoughts Blog Hop, which is focusing this year on topics author Jill Savage shares in her soon-to-be-published book, No More Perfect Moms. Click here to be encouraged by other women's less-than-perfect home posts.
I'm also part of the No More Perfect Moms Launch Team, so look soon for my review and special offers related to the book.