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POLL: Long-term homeowners: What would you tell your younger self?

Emily H
December 14, 2018

N Maney Avenue · More Info

Calling all long-term homeowners, what would you tell your younger self when buying, renovating or shopping for the home? Vote below and tell us about it in the comments!

Do your research and consider all options.
Don't bite off more than you can chew.
Go with your gut, you'll be happy with the end result.
Other: Tell us below!

Comments (372)

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    A million likes for meadowbirds! Resources should be spent carefully. Your time and energy are resources, as is your money. Some resources replenish, some don’t. Childhood is nonreplenishing.

  • nickodemus

    No house, neighborhood, street, city, state or country will ever be perfect. Start there. I almost did not buy my house I have loved for 35 years now, because it had black and orange shag carpeting in the living and dining rooms, brown carpet in one bedroom, deep green in another and a family room, perfect for grandkids...with carpet that featured a miniature car race track, hopscotch, checkers and bingo boards!. somehow, it never occured to me that I could just rip it all out! Someone wiser than me, more experienced with ripping out carpet anyway, mentioned that like paint, all things can be changed... Immediately or down the road. The carpet went in two hours. Research, now so easy to do via the internet, is valuable. Okay. But it is only as good as the data base and mostly they are developed to make a profit, so they probably will not tell you that the "perfect, move-in-ready gem" they are touting is three blocks from a cement factory! This may sound silly, but park in front of your prospective domicile at 8 a.m., Noon, 6:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., just to see and hear what's going on. Are there lots of happy kids in the neighborhood, or loitering groups that don't look happy?. How's the noise level? Is there a train track nearby? A hospital or fire station? Or, can you hear -- instead of sirens -- birds chirping away and children's laughter? No big deal, you say? Hey, I have never been so glad as the day one of my next door neighbors moved! Had I developed my sit and listen theory sooner, I would have known that he mowed his lawn with the radio up loud enough to hear the baseball game over the mower. For 10 summers. So listen carefully. Good house hunting.

  • HalloBlondie (zone5a) Ontario, Canada
    To my younger self - save more cash each week when you had the opportunity (pre home ownership). Convince your boyfriend (now husband) to get a house sooner than we did. However, on the flip side we rented in a great urban area & had some awesome experiences because we could!

    And my first home was not my forever home. Should not have spent so much time & money decorating it. It was a brand new construction. I changed every room with paint, wallpaper jobs, light fixtures, etc. All done to personalize it and make it mine. End up having the worst neighbours, was never happy with the exterior look or yard size. Bought it because we were expecting our first child within months & it was a new construction inventory house. The newness of it dazzled us. But the brick was a terrible shade & you can't make your yard bigger. And we moved within 3 years to our current house. We should have bought the better house in the 1st place. It would have saved us over $50,000 in real estate, legal & moving fees. But such is life. And the house we are in now wasn't available 3 years previously. Now I live next to a top public school in my province. I have the last house on a cul-de-sac, great curb appeal, great layout and a very large lot for the neighbourhood. Everytime I come down the road I smile about how lucky I am to live in here. Sometimes things or situations change & sometimes they just work out to benefit you. But you just never know what can happen.

    Now I'm extremely curious how people can pay off their mortgages so fast. The cost of housing here is ridiculous. The average cost of a house in Ontario last year was $578,000. And that doesn't even buy you anything decent within an hours drive to the city. A condo/townhouse maybe. I would think even with 2 really good incomes it would be difficult to pay that off within 15 years. Unless you had no commuting costs, minimal utilities & ate very cheaply. Even with 25% down that's going to leave you a substantial monthly figure & the property taxes as well. Our property taxes are over $500 a month too. I would love to be mortgage free at 45 like some of you have posted. I just don't see how that's possible in our current market. I would love to know the mortgage free secrets!!!
  • meadowbird57

    Amma 9632 why no rivers? We have lived beside the river for 40 years, and we count ourselves very lucky! The only thing better would be beside the sea - but the average kiwi can't afford that. So river it is, and wouldn't have it any other way...

  • Nancy in Mich

    HalloBlondie, the cost of housing in Ontario is very high compared to the middle of the US. Coasts and hot markets do cost as much as your homes, or more, but we bought a 1675 square foot home on a corner lot (so the land is 85 ft wide and 125 ft deep) for $205,000 in 2005. The house lost a lot of value in the crash, and is now worth about $210,000. It is a ranch-style home with 3 bedrooms (master is quite large at 13 x 17 ft) and one full bath in the hall. There is a living room in the front and an eat-in kitchen and 14 x 18 ft family room in the back, behind the 2 car garage. Also a half bath and small laundry room. the basement is unfinished, but could be finished. We are just north of Windsor, Ontario, in a northern Detroit suburb.

    I don't know how people pay off their homes in their 40s, either. We have spent a lot of money on our two homes and because of the crash, will never make up for what we sunk into our first home. Our current home has been remodeled to suit aging in place, and we were able to put money into tax-deferred savings for retirement. So we will be able to make our house payments in retirement as long as the markets do not do a major crash, first! We have always lived below our means. I am retired on disability and hubby will retire in about 5 years. We have no children, so no college costs, either.

  • Jayne M

    I would tell myself; Look past the pretties and the finishes at the things you can't change; the size of the lot, the neighborhood, the general size of the rooms, etc. Don't get too concerned about the color of the walls or flooring or how tidy the house is. Look at the bones.

    The first home we bought was small, neat and recently updated cute. It was okay and affordable but I never truly loved it. The neighbors were too close and the house was too small. We eventually moved on. The home I've loved the most was a repossessed property. Empty, grass up to our knees, living room painted bright purple and whole house was filthy and smelled of dog the first time I saw it. But good room layout, rear creek and woods curved around the really big back yard. No really close neighbors. The big stuff was surprisingly sound and the home was 10 years old. But was it very cosmetically ugly. I doubt I'd have seen past that when I was young. We've spent 15 years and much of our kid's childhoods in this home. 10 gallons of neutral paint and white trim paint before we move in were only the beginning. We have lots of new windows and a huge deck over looking the woods and creek. I rocked the fireplace by hand, my husband built a walk-in pantry for me. We finished the basement and a lot more over the years as we could afford it. Our kids grew up splashing in the creek and we built them a treehouse in the woods. Through work, this has truly become our home.

  • Carole Rains

    @HalloBlondie I totally would not expect anyone to be able to pay down a house in 15-20 years anymore. I'm stressed for when my kids try to buy a house. We felt very lucky to find an 1800 sf house on .25 acre in a suburb of CA. Back in 1997 it was 120K - it's worth well over 400K today. The funny thing is that our new neighbors told me we had been "ripped off" because they purchased their house for less than 50K! My best advice is to decide whether you want your house to be lovely & make you smile every day (that's nothing to sneeze at!) or whether you want to grit your teeth and shoot for "no debt." I honestly think that both things are worthy life goals, but it's good to be content with the choice. HOUZZ shoppers will probably be in the former group - the rest of us may do more dreaming than doing. (P.S. Just have to add after my previous comment - our family has traveled extensively and been featured twice on travel-hacking sites. I was willing to shop thrift stores and drive a 10YO car, but I not willing to give up our family trips!)

  • Angela Beene
    We purchased our 1962 home in 1996 during an estate sale. Since then it’s been added onto twice and a garage added. During this time we had a kitchen remodel that lasted a year ( 3 kids no kitchen ). And before that a bathroom remodel that included a new tub shower with tile that was incorrectly installed without the proper Sheetrock and after a year water had rotted the wall out and had to be completely redone this time with assistance from a professional. Then last we added a 20x20 master bedroom with a 10x20 sun room. Now we have overbuilt for our neighborhood. My advice don’t think you can do it all yourself hire a professional for large projects. And get a 15 year mortgage.
  • Valerie Morrison

    Always consider the future when buying or building a new house. Make sure you have enough bathrooms for a growing family. Keep the house all on one floor so you don't have to contend with stairs when you're older, or when elderly family comes to visit. Select a good floor plan so that you don't have to carry groceries thru 3 rooms to get to the kitchen, or have guests travel past bedrooms to get to the living room. Forget cathedral ceilings unless you love dusting cobwebs from the top of a ladder. Remember that it's easier to change the lightbulbs in lamps than in recessed light fixtures in the ceiling. Don't plant trees over your septic tank or waterline. Don't buy a house on 5 acres if you hate mowing lawns. If you want air conditioning, install it when the house is built, don't wait till later. It's cheaper to do while the house is under construction, and you won't be kicking yourself when you get a 2-month heat wave the first year you live there. Install a backup generator for when the power goes out. Keep the house fully insured with a grade-A company. Pay off your mortgage early by making an extra payment or two each year, and don't take out home equity loans.

  • mikasmom

    Purge thoroughly and often. Don’t hold on to things you don’t love.

  • Pam Troy

    I could not say it better than TBL from MA. The last statement, which I will paraphrase, is the best advice given..."Live simply, acquire slowly and repair regularly. Use your time to enjoy life, not to acquire just to have to maintain."

  • Kathi Steele

    Pam, now THAT could be a word art!!

  • celestina89

    Any house can be "romantic". It's all in the decorating and how one enjoys the house. As to "lots of work and lots of issues" - well, I can take you to new multi million dollar homes with "lots of work and lots of issues".

    I get it that you don't like old houses to live in; that perhaps you would rather enjoy them as a visitor (once they look "romantic to you). Or perhaps you don't like any house over 10 years old. Yes, I get it that you don't want a house with work or issues. There are people who are just like you. And that's marvelous. You are willing to pay for what you want and that is as it should be.

    However, there are probably just as many people like you only opposite. They want an older home because history means something to them. They enjoy the work to bring that home back to beauty and life. And issues are not a big thing to them as they expect it. Some people also have the funds to hire others to do the work from architects and interior and exterior designers as well as contractors for the labor. And that's marvelous. It's how it should be, people just like that. They put quite a number of folks to work, too. If they are DIY, they know what they are doing. If they don't it's experience and they learn from it. They learn how do fix something or they hire someone to do it.

    After all, one isn't born being an expert in all things they might tackle through their life.

    So, that said - why would you want to buy the "worst" house in a neighborhood? That would entail fixing it up in order to make a profit to sell it. Doesn't that defeat your suggestion of not buying a home (old or not) with "lots of work and issues"? If you are banking on a neighborhood that will remain stable and the same if not better in value 50 years from now - well, congratulations - I never knew anyone that can absolutely predict the future.

  • Gary Dixon

    I'd have told myself not to plant all the damn sweet gums, black pines and birches in the back yard! They will grow too large, drop a ton of crap throughout the year and the limbs will break off during ice storms. Research! (Five years ago, I cut them all down and replaced with Japanese maples and crape myrtles.)

  • punkinboots

    Go minimalist, decorate inexpensively and PAY OFF YOUR MORTGAGE!!!

  • amma9632

    Meadowbird57 - I grew up next to a creek a 6 year old could hop over without getting their shoes wet - fast forward 10 year to when they added subdivisions and apartments "upstream" of our property - when it rained, the "natural water flow" into the creek made the part of the creek next to "our house" 8 feet deep and 12 feet wide - washed away our driveway ---- as for rivers, my SIL and BIL had a home 150 yards from a river and the property was located in a "500 year flood plain" (sounds pretty safe....) - they lived there 12 years with no problems - within 6 months of selling their home to someone else, the entire first floor flooded when the river over flowed --- I recommend a day trip to a water feature...

  • moztef
    Caulk everything on a regular basis. Water is the enemy.
  • Allison LeBlanc

    I would tell my younger self don't buy to impress and consider your purchase before no impulse buying. Buy what you can afford and comfortably carry on ONE income because people lose jobs, get sick, have to leave work for an ailing child or relative. Too many homes in receivership because they required both incomes to carry and life happened Save as long as you can for a decent down payment.

    Buy for the future. A two bedroom house no matter how adorable is useless if you plan to have two or three kids. Can you sell it and move on or willing and financially able to add on and expand. It's true that every move costs a lot of money so keep those to a minimum.

    if you want to buy a cottage or vacation property...do it fairly early and rent it most of the season ( reserve a few weeks for yourself) but make it earn its keep and cover expenses and when you are ready to retire and kick back you have two properties to enjoy.

    after you sell that main residence consider renting. we own three properties and when we sell the main one to downsize we will rent a condo, live at our vacation property ( on the ocean) half the year and build a rental cottage on the other property.

    Oh and yes, all those wise folks who say get rid of the crap are SO right...when we sell there will be 35 years and a few inheritances to clear out and the thought is overwhelming.

    Just say no to Gramma's stuff!!!

  • PRO
    Aqua Kitchen and Bath Design Center

    I would definitely say -- enjoy more, worry less, and pick only what you really love and what inspires you, not what is modern or currently trendy.

  • md1948

    First, consider your income and what you can afford. Just because you can make the mortgage doesn't mean you can afford it. There are always repairs and maintenance costs that have to be factored in. Also, you need to pay more than the minimum mortgage payment -- even a few dollars extra every month is a real help in paying down the principal - which means fewer payments made. But, don't make yourself house poor, unless you're happy with that. I think a balance is better so that you have money to do things with the kids. That said, there's nothing wrong with getting the kids involved in saving for family vacations and outings. Those are good life lessons that kids need to learn and they'll be more appreciative.

    Second, when you've decided what you can afford, take your time in buying the house. Don't let a realtor push you into a purchase -- they have a reason to want you to buy: it's their paycheck! But you need to make sure you love the location. Drive by the property at different times of the day or week. You could find out that your neighbors party well into the night, and if you want a quiet night's sleep, that could wear pretty thin very quickly.

    Third, consider purchasing a homeowner's warranty! I love mine! It runs around $55/mo. and I pay $100 for a service call. I've had my dishwasher, refrigerator, ceiling fans, garbage disposal, and swimming pool pump replaced in the past 5 years. I've found it to be a life-saver. Note: this is different from your homeowner's insurance, which covers things like your roof or your personal property in case of a disaster. Now, if you are handy and can install these things yourself, go for it! But I'm a 70-year-old woman who enjoys the knowledge that if something goes wrong with my major appliances, I just pick up the phone and get it taken care of. Your mileage may vary.

    Fourth, think about your personality. Do you want to live in a HOA [homeowners association] or not? If you want to live somewhere where your neighbor can't paint their house orange, or park on the lawn, that's a good choice. On the other hand, if you don't want to pay hundreds of dollars each year (or thousands) and take the chance of being fined if you plant a bush without the HOA's approval [you also can't paint your front door, or make any other changes to your property without permission], then you'll probably want to look for a home that's not in a HOA. -- I live in a HOA and don't care for it for those reasons. I find that a lot of my neighbors feel the same way. I want to repaint my home, but I can't do it until I get permission. [A neighbor wanted to repaint using the same color that was on his home, but kept being turned down - it took him 3 or 4 months before he finally got approval.]

    And lastly, remember to keep that balance in your life. Life isn't about how many possessions you have. If you can lead a simple life and do without a lot of headaches, you'll be happier for it.

  • felizlady
    Don’t buy a house without enough closets. Our house had dinky bedroom closets, but there was room to fix that problem for all three bedrooms. There IS a coat closet. And there was a service porch/laundry/walk-in storage room. We moved the laundry to the bedroom hall storage closet and added more cabinetry to the former laundry room to make a great big walk-in pantry. We used the upper cabinets we took out of the kitchen (when remodeling) to fill one wall because they are shallower than base cabinets and fit better in the space.
  • Paul

    I would recommend thinking about the landscape first, unless something inside needs immediate attention. Stately trees and mature shrubs take several years to "fill-in", so the sooner you plant the larger "bones", such as maples, oaks, hickory, walnut, etc., the sooner your house will look like a home. Curb appeal means a lot! Also, invest in quality, native trees and shrubs so you don't have maintenance issues later on. Finally, don't forget to plan for any remodeling or additions you may want/need later on so you don't have to cut down a tree you planted and have grown to love.

  • Bonnie Pedersen

    When we bought our first home we paid $500.00 down and it had been repossessed.

    It had 3 colors on the outside and a yard full of thistles, but it was on a corner lot and different from the other 'boxes' on the street. We paid $12,000 for it and redid almost every room. My husband 'moonlighted' for 3 days, bought some lumber. Worked full time and then 3more days , more lumber till our garage was finished. We lived there for

    13 years and sold it for 79,500. Bought a little bigger in a

    newer neighborhood, built a bigger garage, put in a fireplace redid the family and rumpus room, drapes etc. Paid 149,000 sold for 186,000. So basically lived free in the house anyway, we moved every 13 years or so until our last move which was our dream home on 3/4 of an acre on the river. It was big and beautiful. We needed to downsize and built a new one, with lots of drawers much easier than shelves, on a small lot in town. We haven't sold the 'big' house. Recession hit and the money left town with the oil industry.

    BUT, loved every minute in that home and it will sell. But we won't make money on it.

    Someone told me sometimes you are making a life, choosing a home where you can

    love and have friends and family over and make memories. We love our new home

    because it is less work. We have a lovely view of the cemetery where hopefully in many years we will have our new home instead of spending years in a nursing home.

    We never charged. If we couldn't afford it we went without.

  • Madonna Gorriaran

    Okay, this is my advice to the younger Houzz generation. The first thing you need to understand is that almost every thing in life will take up some of your life. If your parents give you a car, you'll need to insure it, maintain it, repair it, clean it and put gas in it. If your boyfriend gives you a puppy, it's going to need trips to the vet, food, washing, walks, brushing, toys, a soft place to sleep, leashes and on and on. A house is a car and a puppy on steroids. It has to be paid for, maintained, repaired, insured, cleaned, furnished, decorated, lawn mowed, trees trimmed, everything fertilized and watered and so on. You need to know and accept how much of your time, money, worry and stress that house is going to cost and decide whether it's worth it to you.

    I discovered while waiting in foreign countries for my beloved stuff to be delivered that living with less allowed me to have more time for the things I really cared about. Before all the stuff got there to be unpacked, cleaned and cared for, I had time to play with my son, cook and garden and meet the neighbors and watch movies on the little portable DVD player we had. Afterwards, I was locked into a vicious cycle of taking care of all my things. Try it for yourself.

  • Toronto Veterinarian

    " Before all the stuff got there to be unpacked, cleaned and cared for, I had time to play with my son, cook and garden and meet the neighbors and watch movies on the little portable DVD player we had. "

    Wow, that's amazing -- it never occurred to me that people would not have time for a social life because they spent it caring for their stuff. But, I guess, that's part of why I chose to buy a condo apartment rather than a house.

    It's not the initial purchase that's a killer, it's the maintenance. Sort of the same principle as the cost of shaving isn't in buying the razor, it's in buying the razor blades.

  • Paul

    It's sad to see so many people thinking that caring for a house is a trade-off for spending time with your kids. Some of my fondest memories of my parents involve doing things around the house. Pulling weeds in the garden with my dad taught me how to tell a bean sprout from a weed, picking raspberries taught me the joy of fresh produce, repairing/remodeling plumbing taught me how to sweat pipes like a pro, painting the walls taught me the value of prepping them first. These were times I savored with my parents and brother and sister. Don't look at everything as though it is work. Enjoy your home, live in your home, make it yours with your blood, sweat and tears! But, as others have said, don't buy more than you can afford so you have some money to take a vacation or make necessary repairs. And don't forget to plant a garden so you can teach your kids what is good to eat and what is just thistles!

  • Toronto Veterinarian

    " Some of my fondest memories of my parents involve doing things around the house "

    I'm sure that wasn't true for all children then, or now. And although gardening with your kids can be a great thing, it's only a great thing only if the kids want to be there. If they hate gardening, or want to go play road hockey with friends, or would rather create a graphic novel in their room, then it does no good. Sure, it sounds like a Hallmark teaching moment, but it's not as easy because it isn't up to you (it's up to both of you). I'm generally against trying to get your kids to love the things you loved, because it's motivated by a selfish desire to relive your happy memories rather than making new happy memories.

    I just kind of hate these "make Hallmark memories", rather than making memories based in reality. Like knowing that you don't need a fancy, ordered, or decorated home (or a well tended garden, or a spacious porch) to make good memories with your friends and family. Your friends won't care if you've got mismatched furniture, a peeling porch, or if you burned the dinner and had to order in pizza.......if they do, they're not your friends.

  • Paul

    To: Toronto Veterinarian and others:

    My apologies! I didn't mean to imply that children should be forced to do these things. I agree with you that if kids are doing something else constructive or otherwise enjoyable, then more power to them! My memories ARE based in reality. My parents never forced us to do much of anything, not even any routine chores. They got enjoyment out of doing things around the house and their love and enthusiasm was contagious. I showed interest in those things at an early age, so they cultivated it in me. No one ever forced me to cut the lawn, I couldn't wait to be old enough to do it and loved looking at the results! (My older brother couldn't wait to STOP doing it! haha) Coupled with a natural artistic ability, I gravitated toward other creative pursuits and am now an accomplished carpenter and cabinetmaker and also have a degree in engineering. As such, I also appreciate the people in the world who do not like to do these things for themselves because then they hire someone like me to do it professionally and we're both happy! And btw, the house I grew up in (and my house, now) was/is not perfectly ordered and fancy. Just comfortable works in progress that may never get done, but I'll enjoy (almost) every moment of it.

  • PRO

    Care of any possession, be that home, auto, or whatever is learned. I am with Paul on this one. I see too many young folks who somehow believed that the ink on the mortgage was the last involvement required of them. It leads to fear of your own home, a "foreign entity" of sorts, yet its the one inhabited daily.

    A certain chaos can result, and with it comes an overwhelmed feeling of a real lack of control. It's a case of never learned basic housekeeping, while hours go to waxing over the "perfect greige" as dishes pile in a sink, or trash explodes below the counter. As snow piles the walk, and the postman slips on the ice. As new landscaping burn in the sun.

    Sorry........even some "loathsome" tasks are required, or you have very deep pockets, or your investment begins to sink like a rock in the pond..

  • celestina89

    @Paul: No apologies necessary. I and I'm sure others know about what you are writing. Memories of our childhood (good or bad) are the foundation of who we basically are today.

  • Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real

    I am not sure who is supposed to teach children how to maintain a house if it's not the parents. You learn by doing. Children naturally want to help and be included in what their parents are up to. You can write and illustrate fantastic graphic novels and still help an hour or so around the house every week. Teaching children how stuff works is empowering. Showing children that they have control over their environment and are not just passive guests in your house helps make them resilient.

    PS And if you have a house full of staff, you still need to know how things work, or you will get fleeced or your housework will be done to the staff person's standards and not yours.

  • judygilpin

    I'm with Paul also. If you make kids enthusiactic about caring for the home you all live in they will learn many lessons and be thankful for those lessons and memories. They will learn to respect their property and the property of others. Too many parents nowdays want their kids to be their "friends" so they let them do whatever they want. Parents are first of all parents, teachers, helpers, enlighteners, comforters, disiplenarians, providers and a multitude of other things....but NOT "friends". You must teach your kids respect of peolple & property so they ,in turn, will be respected in their adult life. I really didn't like doing the dishes , making my bed, cleaning my room or helping clean house when I was a teenager, but I'm so glad that my Mom made me learn those things. If you're not made to do those sorts of chores, you can easily turn into a slob. Guess all those "growing up" lessons turned me into the Interior Designer I became. Thanks Mom.

  • PRO

    I just had such a great memory and laugh. Window waging say! Aurrggh! Dread with D !

    But. Once trapped , and into the swing? Hose fights! Weenies on the grill. "Someone left a spot! It's inside.... no you left it outside" !

    This was back when storm window had to be stored. You washed screens, and real divided light Windows until birds couldn't discern them from air space!

    Call it a part Polish heritage. You learn maintenance . Cleaning . For everything. And you laugh and you did not die:)

  • PRO

    Its called a very benevolent dicatorship. Or as dad said on window washday....

    "what's your last name"? There's your answer! We are a TEAM! and this will be good fun! "

    When you are paying your OWN way? You can do whatever you like!"

    ..... We all love to do windows now:) Call it visual reward lol

  • Toronto Veterinarian

    " "what's your last name"? There's your answer! We are a TEAM! and this will be good fun! "

    When you are paying your OWN way? You can do whatever you like!""

    LOL! You'll have fun, whether you like it or not!

  • PRO

    Well. Actually? We did have fun. It didn't kill any of us. Neither did the "hose fights" on a hot and sweaty day , with some "hard" work, grilled weenies and Kool Aid for lunch. This was NOT a damn torture chamber. : ) or prison work camp. You simply learned no lunch is really free.

    What it taught us? Years later, when those same parents could NOT or would not bark orders for a fun day? We were there pitching in. Weeds........cleaning, bring a great meal. You will reap what you sow. So will they. And I miss both of them dearly 12 years after their passing seven weeks apart as the best friends and lovers they were to the end. That's actually what we learned most.

    Work together is halved or quartered.................or. It leaves plenty of time for the do your own fun thing.

  • jmm1837

    " You'll have fun, whether you like it or not!" Teaching kids to make the best of it, even if they're doing something they find boring or just don't want to do, is a pretty valuable lesson in life.

  • Toronto Veterinarian

    " Well. Actually? We did have fun. It didn't kill any of us. "

    I'm glad you had fun. Many don't. It didn't kill me, it wasn't a torture chamber. I'm not even saying it was wrong or that a parent shouldn't do it.......but I am saying you (collectively) shouldn't kid yourself into thinking that kids will have fun simply because it was something you liked. They could be important lessons you want to (and should) teach your kids.....but that doesn't make it fun.

    It's a Hallmark fantasy.

  • Jenn Dinosaur-Mom

    I had to clean my room (doing my own laundry started in jr high school), pack my own lunches for school, and if I wanted to earn pocket money I could clean the bathrooms for $2.00 each until I was old enough to get a work permit (15 y/o with a permit I was able to work after school and on weekends to save up the money needed for my insurance deductible - the only way my parents would allow me to get my drivers permit and license was to have the $500 deductible in my bank account at all times.)...

    As for all the things that come with owning a house and maintaining it at a minimum standard of cleanliness...I learned those things mainly hands on (the kitchen sink faucet handle snapped right off late one night and without the handle I was having a hard time getting the water turned off...this experience was what I'd consider trial by fire but at least with a pair of pliers I was able to turn the water off until I could get someone out to replace the fixture.). Like learning to cook, I decided to undertake the task when I got tired of microwaveable stuff and being hungry. It took over a decade for me to really be able to do anything about the fact that I didn't like carpet on the stairs because it meant vacuuming each and every step, but I could swap the showerhead with a filtered one myself with a bit of guidance from the guys standing around in the plumbing section at the hardware store - they also helped me properly equip myself for unclogging the bathroom sink at the p-trap. When I redid the floors and had the interior painted, I ditched the carpet for the stairs and picked out the grey toned colors I preferred over the 'safety of beige'.

    I learned that I don't want to store anything above the cabinets in the kitchen (the places where faux flowers and random sign art goes to collect dust and die, sometimes it's also used to store infrequently used kitchen appliances and what not) because I don't want to have to wash before even thinking of using some stand mixer or whatever because it's accumulated months of dust from sitting around up there. When we moved from SoCal to Nebraska I had to do a LOT of clearing out, it made me think about what I really needed and wanted to keep, being faced with having to fit everything into those storage POD things ahead of having the house staged and put on the market (the second POD we discovered we needed so that our wood furniture and all would make it cross country safely, and the feeling that the guys who we hired to pack the POD hadn't really understood what we meant when we asked if there would be enough space to fit my computer, the tv and the kitchen/house stuff we needed to have around to use until closing...)...But having to pare things down and get rid of things that I'd accumulated but rarely if ever used, that changed my mind about the volume of stuff I wanted. Our realtor said I'd collected enough stuff for a 3 room home and stuffed it in a studio/loft 2 story place - I have lots of empty wall space and can move around without tripping on something in our house. The garage has room for our vehicles in it. I don't feel a need to accumulate things just to occupy space, no need to have furniture backed up to every wall in a room.

  • PRO

    WHEN IN HELL did it get to be that every blasted moment of your life was supposed to be pure FUN? No wonder half the millenials can't find a job. Too darn much work? Too grungy?

    Classic: Why are you late? Oh, I decided to come in at nine thirty. ..................................

    What IS fun is learning the realization that one made a contribution. That you can't or won't admit it......but the great bone weary feeling of some labor. Of a thank you for a job nicely done at the days end. The simple reward of " wow.....that does look nice and I did it."

    Go ahead and laugh. It's lost on you anyway : ) Compared to what I see today? Yes. Bring back the great old Hallmark days. The weren't a fantasy. Too bad you missed them.

  • jmm1837

    Vet - it's not about forcing kids to love the things you love. It's about exposing them to the things you love - maybe they'll pick up your love, maybe not, but how else are they going to be exposed to gardening unless they're in the garden getting their hands dirty? And it's also about exposing them to the reality that they will spend a fair bit of their lives doing things that aren't that interesting to them because those things (dishes, laundry, gardening) have to be done, or because their friends/partners/kids enjoy those things (kids' sports events, Terminator movies, football games). And frankly, the opportunity to teach kids responsibility, teamwork and consideration for the wishes of others is more important than a Hallmark moment.

  • Jenn Dinosaur-Mom

    If you want clean clothes, you have to do laundry. Unless you're using paper plates/bowls, plastic utensils and plastic cups you'll need to wash dishes - along with pots, pans, etc.

    I like gardening but not the responsibility of a yard full of grass - so we live in a homeowners association that covers snow removal and lawn care but we can still garden around our homes and plant just about anything (they're not okay with someone digging up the grass around their house and planting rows of corn or anything, but as long as it's attractive and properly executed - avoid water lines/power/gas lines, make sure there's water coming to irrigate whatever you've planted, and use edging to clearly mark where the lawn crew needs to avoid with their riding-style mowers). We're putting in a tree on the western side of our house early this Spring - as soon as the ground thaws. If we're going to pay for watering I want something I like and a tree will provide shade in the years ahead. We've got 7 sprinkler 'zones' that connect to our water service line and we're on one of the largest lots in the neighborhood. We've done some potted growing of veggies and plan to expand that this year - the upper Midwest/plains don't have the year-round offerings we grew used to being everywhere back in SoCal but there are possibilities even without a 'spare freezer' in the garage (yet). :P

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    It sounds like some of you had pretty unhappy childhoods, and difficult parental relationships. Parents can guide and teach their children without having power struggles.

  • J Williams

    It makes me wonder what happened in that persons life to consider doing things with their family a “torture chamber”. I think it helps people to grow to learn the things they need to look after themselves, to learn empathy and gratitude by sharing the load, sharing experiences with other people. I thought parenting was in large part, about guiding, supporting and helping kids learn. And parents learn from their kids for sure, if they spend time together. If parents were not involved in any way with their children but as domestic servants and personal atms I’m sure that would be seen as neglect, because it would be. All we parents can do for kids who profess no interest in being with their family, who will not deign to share anything with them, is to just fight for them on their behalf, complaints of “torture” be damned. We will keep fighting for the sake of love.

  • Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real

    What it taught us? Years later, when those same parents could NOT or would not bark orders for a fun day? We were there pitching in. Weeds........cleaning, bring a great meal. You will reap what you sow. So will they. And I miss both of them dearly 12 years after their passing seven weeks apart as the best friends and lovers they were to the end. That's actually what we learned most.

    Work together is halved or quartered.................or. It leaves plenty of time for the do your own fun thing.

    Jan, As they say over on Instagram, #Goals.

  • Cynthia Small

    It is important to teach children work ethics then they will not be home living with you. The rite of passage for my children was to get a work permit and get a job when they turned 13. Thank God, they are all educated with a master's degree and are gainfully employed. A little work when they are young to keep the household moving never hurt anyone. Where else are they going to learn responsibility?

  • Toronto Veterinarian

    " If you want clean clothes, you have to do laundry. "

    That's the exact analogy I use about exercise, LOL. If I want those benefits, I just have to do it. I told my Pilates instructor not to ask me "do you like X?" or expect me to react like my class is fun......it's a chore that I don't particularly like or dislike, but it has to get done. Like doing laundry.

  • Jenn Dinosaur-Mom

    Some things have more apparent benefits than others (I could have a chocolate shake with real ice cream every day for the next month, but it would take about 3 months of that to see any physical changes. Do I have those chocolate shakes then? No, because I already know before a single shake is consumed where I'll be at in three months should I have those shakes, I don't need to relearn that. Lol) - thankfully the mister does his own laundry and some of mine - there are certain delicates that I do myself by hand because he has trouble remembering DO NOT PUT IN DRYER in his efforts to be helpful. When we met and started dating I was up front about wanting a partner that didn't need a mommy to make appointments or wash his clothes so he'd have clean things to put on each day for work. The things we sometimes put up with when we're younger and not quite as experienced can truly be astounding. Now I don't know how an adult functions if they don't know how to make appointments to see the doctor, set an alarm and actually get up out of bed when it goes off instead of needing someone there to prod them into getting up, or waits until there's a mountain of laundry in hopes that someone else will get tired of looking at the pile and do the laundry for them. It's ridiculous.

    I don't like having to fret over which produce to buy and what meals to make for the next week, but I do it anyway so that the family eats properly - I sort of follow recipes, but I doubt the mister would be able to successfully follow mine because I do so much "taste of this, some of that, last time there was this stuff and it didn't work as well as I would have liked so none this round"...when I cook. Grocery shopping is tiresome but I can count on the kiddos and the mister to help unload the car and put things away. If food would magically appear based on whatever I had in mind to cook on a given day, I'd be fine with that. Until there are Star Trek replicator systems in houses I'll have to do the shopping myself. Lol.

  • Lyndee Lee
    I just had a long discussion with the mother of one of my tenants about her daughter's situation. The short answer is the energy and commitment has to come from inside otherwise, all we are doing in prolonging the agony for the rest of us. I have met very few truly lazy people but I have known many unmotivated people who have a very convincing lazy person persona
  • Shredder

    Don't be a cheapskate. Save enough money to buy the home you want and to decorate the way you want. In the long run you'll be glad you did. Get the best appliances you can afford, choose that crown molding, higher end countertop and backsplash. I think this applies whether it is your first home or last home.

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