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Forever Home

July 14, 2015 - Jamie O'Hare
For most of my children’s lives, I have resisted the idea that our family’s happiness was limited by the size of our home, whether it was a 500sqft apartment at Notre Dame or the 1050sqft house we have recently moved from. We bought our first house 5 years ago when we moved to the area, and while it’s a sweet little home, we knew it wasn’t meant to be our forever home.

In small spaces, I feel smooshed, overwhelmed, and sometimes depressed. I also could feel that way when we went on trips to visit family, even if their homes were larger. I had accepted this dynamic as part of our noisy life, and I wasn’t sure whether we could have more peace in a home with more space for kids to get their noise and energy out.

Nearly a year ago, I went back to work full time since my third was headed to school and only my fourth child would need daycare. We could afford a small car loan, childcare costs, student loans, and private school tuition for a few of the kids. We were still living lean, but we knew that the car loan and childcare wouldn’t be permanent costs. Even though no one was home all day, we began to think about finding a larger home so that our time at home could be more peaceful.

I organized, I purged, and I continued to feel frustrated and tired from managing all of our stuff in a small space with minimal storage. Living with Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD in our family of six made us question whether having more peace was even possible, but we figured that at least having more storage space and another bathroom would help. We took a leap of faith and began to pursue mortgage options in January when some friends gave us a chance to buy their home before they put it on the market. We knew that we didn’t have time to go looking for a house or energy to fight this housing market for a nice home. Maybe this was God’s sign that we should buy our friend’s house? If we got approved and the house passed inspections, we had hope that this home could calm a lot of the stress in our family, but we also knew that change would cause much more stress before we could get to a calmer state.


It worked! We bought a lovely vintage Sears kit home in Pleasanton, with neighbors that we already knew, and with a large yard and 1400sqft plus a nice basement. We are not anywhere near maxing out the storage, we haven’t put a thing in the attic, and we have plenty of room to pull into the garage if we want to.

Our new home stays much more clean, and the kids love having places for all of their things. The neighborhood kids ring our doorbell all the time to come and play. Our homebody kids are delighted to have a play-date-friendly house. I still struggle with stress and depression, and I probably always will, but after a month in our new home, I feel so much more peaceful! There is retreat space so that I can get a little quiet when I need it. There are places to send energetic kids to blow off some steam. There are pleasant spots throughout the house for all of us to gather. We are at home in Pleasanton.


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