being a mom

House Hunting With Kids Looks Nothing Like House Hunting Without

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family moving day I’ve been in my current home since before I was a mom. I thought this place would be perfectly fine to raise a family in, but if I had a time machine I’d go back and warn myself the way some people yell at soon-to-be victims in slasher films. As it turns out, the things you think you want or need in a home can change dramatically once you become a parent. Here’s how you might prioritize things when house hunting before kids vs. after kids.

1. Style

Before kids: I just love ranches and colonials, it’s so nice to have the living area separate from the sleeping area.

After kids: Let’s try to find a place with as few stairs as possible.

2. Master bedroom

Before kids: Having the master on a different floor than the guest rooms makes it feel like a private retreat.

After kids: Bedrooms on separate floors are a deal breaker, because you want to be able to hear the kids if they need you in the middle of the night. The room needs to have enough space for a bassinet, and preferably a bed big enough to fit three, for the nights when you don’t have the energy to turn away a pleading child who wants to sleep with you.

3. Balconies

Before kids: This view is amazing! We can sit out here and have coffee every morning and watch the sunset at night.

After kids: These railings aren’t high enough. And keeping this sliding glass door clean will be an exercise in futility.

4. Character

Before kids: I think this building used to be a button factory! How cool are these old radiators? I bet this place is full of stories. I wonder if any of the other tenants have had any paranormal experiences?

After kids: This place is beautiful, but we need to get it tested for lead paint, that radiator is hot enough to cause second degree burns and I’m worried our son may try to climb up and swing from those exposed pipes.

5. Floors

Before kids: Both hardwood and tile flooring are beautiful and easy to clean.

After kids: Hardwood or tile flooring plus hyper kids is a trip to the emergency room waiting to happen. But carpet in a neutral pattern to mask stains sounds lovely.

6. Spare room

Before kids: This would make a great guest room/office/craft/music room!

After kids: Perfect, a room to shove all the toys into when guests come over.

7. Closets

Before kids: It’s fine if there isn’t an entryway closet or a walk-in in the master bedroom, we can use the spare bedroom closet to hold our extra clothes and jackets.

After kids: There’s no such thing as too much closet space.

8. Kitchen

Before kids: I really want an open floorplan, so that when we are entertaining we can interact with our guests and make the food part of the experience. And an island, I want room to make pasta from scratch. Also, if the counter tops aren’t granite don’t expect me to like it.

After kids: If I ever meet the person who came up with the concept of the open floor plan I will hand them a box of mac and cheese, unleash my starving children on them and say, “Good luck.” All I need is a dishwasher, enough counter space for the microwave and cabinets that don’t have glass fronts because our kiddie plates from Ikea are not something I wish to display to guests. A dark counter top to hide fingerprints would be great. A door frame for a baby gate and a pass through so I can keep an eye on things are a bonus.

9. Bathroom

Before kids: This bathroom is amazing! The shower has a steam room feature and a shower head that simulates rainfall! And look– double sinks!

After kids: This bathroom has no bathtub. Game over.

10. Location

Before kids: A smaller place is fine as long as we are close to shopping and cafes. Walking distance to bars would be ideal.

After kids: The more space the better, but it’s important that we find a place in our current school district. Walking distance to a park would be a great bonus.

(image:  Darren Baker/