6 Months In – All the Thoughts

Hello again!

For those of you who emailed and commented to ask: no, the baby hasn’t come yet. I’m actually not due until mid-November, so there’s still a little ways to go. Thank you all so much for checking in, though. The actual reason I haven’t been writing is because we have been in HIDING from the triple-digit heat wave that hit Southern California over the past week.

Our saving grace has been the fact that some of our neighbors are out of town for a few weeks and they asked us to house-sit for them while they’re away. I honestly don’t know quite what we would have done if we hadn’t been able to hole up in their (air conditioned) house in the afternoons. Between that and our new van, things have been bearable.

It seems that somehow we have chosen one of the hottest summers on record here to move into a bus and possibly one of the wettest winters during which to build a house. It’s rather mind-boggling.

At any rate, here we are: 6 months of bus-dwelling under our belts and there are lots of thoughts. I have been trying to write this post for weeks now and I just can’t seem to get the words out to explain the conflicting ideas that are battling in my head.

On the one hand, I still feel very defensive and positive about the IDEA of what we are doing. I have been asked several times via the blog and friends in person about whether or not I would recommend a similar lifestyle to others, and I immediately say “yes, if you can find a way to make it work for your situation.” I still believe that many people initially balk at the idea of living in a bus simple due to social stigma.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend living in a 45-year-old bus in 107 degree heat while pregnant and taking care of three children to anybody in the whole entire world EVER.

The other thing that keeps picking at me is the fact that quite honestly, even the rough parts wouldn’t actually be so bad if there were more people in the same boat. It seems like such a silly thing to say: of COURSE an uncomfortable situation is easier to bear if you’re not the only one going through it, but I think there’s something bigger there.

I think it has to do with how we allow comparison to set our expectations of what our lifestyle should be.

-Being hot isn’t fun, but it’s the sound of all the A/C units clicking on around us that makes the temperature outside seem to rise.

-Having a small indoor space poses challenges, but it feels workable until I realize how much easier it would be to homeschool if we had a huge kitchen table to work at like the neighbors.

-I am satisfied with my necessarily minimalist (maternity) wardrobe until I start noticing all the cute clothes that others are wearing.

It can definitely be harder to find contentment when you’re in a situation that nobody else around you shares. I try to remind myself often of the things we don’t miss about living in a house, but have lately been barraged by the many, many things that I realize that I DO miss about it.

I remember right before we moved in six months ago I asked Noah: “What if we love this lifestyle so much that we decide we don’t even WANT to live in a house?” Now, I feel like I am betraying the spirit of adventure that we embarked on this journey with by admitting that I REALLY, REALLY want a house!

It is very probable that a lot of this feeling is due to being 8 months pregnant in hot weather. I highly suspect that once things cool down and the baby comes I will have a whole different outlook, but I do want to be able to honestly record my shifting perspectives as we go through this.

Please note that I am very aware that It is ridiculous to feel bad for admitting that I want the very thing we set out to achieve by living in a bus, but strangely enough, I do. I will have to wrestle through THAT whole mental conflict another time.

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11 thoughts on “6 Months In – All the Thoughts

  1. I know how you feel. We lived in a 600 sq ft apartment the first few years of our marriage (and till our son was 1) before moving into a 1200 sq ft house (now). Seeing as we have double the square footage we used to have, I’m really content with our house even though we now have 3 kids, but we often have friends referring to our “small house”, and comparing with what others have makes me start thinking, We “need” a bigger house!

    Recently after looking at houses online, we picked out 3 houses to view just to see if *maybe* those we could afford might work out better for us. The real estate agent showed us 4 houses after which we came home and concluded, We love our house! It’s only after we allow ourselves to look at what others have, or allow others’ opinions to influence us as to what we “need”, that we start to be discontent.

  2. How’s the house building coming along? Do you have any kind of idea of when it’ll happen? It’s not a good idea to build your hopes on a date, but if you have even a tentative one, your sanity may be saved by ticking off the days. I don’t like doing that generally. (I had a co-worker who said, as we were both sighing for Sunday, our day off, “But we’re wishing our lives away!” and that has stayed with me for years.) But sometimes being able to say, “just until April” can make it all bearable.

    And, of course, comparing your living arrangements to the cardboard shacks of Tijuana does help, but not, as you say, when you hear the A/C units of the neighbors whooshing on. It’s hard to stay grateful when you’re hot and exhausted and carrying around a hippopotamus 24 hours a day. I’m trying to think of some brilliant words of wisdom to impart, but all I can come up with is sympathy!

    1. There is good news on the loan front that I am saving for another post πŸ™‚

      And I appreciate the sympathy. I always hesitate to post things that say “this is hard!” because I feel like it serves no purpose and isn’t encouraging, but it’s the reality of the situation right now and I’d be lying if I tried to make it all rose-colored. There are times when it’s fun and times when it’s just not!

      1. Hooray for good loan news! And don’t ever worry about saying that things are hard, because being honest is a good thing. In fact, it’s pretty much the best thing!

  3. I would say give yourself some grace, and I agree that these feelings probably have a lot to do with the physical discomfort that comes with being pregnant and overheated (I’m currently 37-38 weeks along and a stay at home mom to a 2 year old and 4 year old, so I totally get that aspect-when everything hurts and you feel like you are having hot flashes and the kids constantly need attention and care, you are basically being stretched to the limits both physically and emotionally). You also have a lot of other background stress going on top of the regular pressures of being a mom and pregnant-building a house, dealing with the vehicle situation, homeschooling, issues with the bus maintenance, etc. Feeling overwhelmed/stressed is totally normal considering all that. I would suggest you try to get away and have some alone time even if its just a couple hours once a week to do something for yourself-even if its just going to the library, window shopping, having a ridiculously overpriced pumpkin spice latte at a coffee shop, etc. You sound like you are running on empty and neglecting your needs to some point-its advice I should probably take myself . My other thought is think about how much more you will appreciate your house when its finished (and all the conveniences that with it) than you would have if you weren’t having this experience now.

    1. That is good advice! I definitely do feel much more refreshed after having some time to just veg out and relax.

      And yes, I totally agree that we are cultivating a lot of gratitude for the simple things in life that many others take for granted!

  4. Congratulations on making it to the six month mark on the bus! It’s great you were able to cool off while house sitting! I totally agree that as we become aware of what’s around us, we also become aware of what we’re missing. For this very reason I have been limiting myself on Facebook and staying away from the malls. Isn’t it amazing when you walk into a store you realize you have so many ‘needs’? I was just thinking about you today and realizing I hadn’t seen a post lately … so glad to see your post … and, remember … you are stronger than you think!

  5. Oh, you dear dear woman! I would be complaining much louder than you in that kind of heat. You are doing amazingly well, you are right… it Does skew your perspective when you’re miserable! A small AC would be such a blessing! Hang in there! πŸ™‚ That house is something you can dream about and really appreciate when you get it!!

  6. I was just wondering if your baby had come yet! Glad to hear y’all found some air conditioning in all that heat. It’s actually cooled off a lot here in SC, but I’m not going to fool myself into thinking more warm weather isn’t coming before winter. I agree that knowing you are not alone is so helpful! We have settled into the camper, but we are still waiting on the bank. My husband has also asked me about living this way for longer if we enjoy the lifestyle. After only a couple weeks, I’m ready for the house to be built. However, I don’t regret taking this route, because I do believe it was the right choice for our family. I’m hoping we both will be enjoying new homes in the spring! πŸ™‚

    1. I’m glad you guys are doing well, I was planning to email you soon and see how things were going! I don’t think we’ll be done by spring, we have a farther way to go than you guys – but soon!

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