I had it all figured out. I'd read the books and the blogs, from the humorous to the medical. Talked to parents. Formed opinions. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Then, I had a child, and it all went to hell. "How is the… adjustment going?" One mom friend asked, with a knowing look on her face. "I remember thinking it was hell on earth," the dad of a two-year-old told me. "Welcome to the secret society," my aunt said, "You can't understand it until you've done it." I may not have been able to understand, but I would have liked a warning!
This is Offbeat Home's archive of People posts.
"Homeowner", "renter" or "squatter" – whatever the label, these occupants take the Offbeat wherever they go.
I've been with my hunk of a husband for 8½ years. I'm often asked how we keep it fun and lively. How do we always seem to be happier than a turtle on a skateboard? I could respond with the bland, basic answer of being a good listener, going on dates, and sharing life goals. And if you look up "how to keep a marriage fresh," those are usually the kinds of answers you'll find. That stuff works, but I like a more creative approach. Here are the three unconventional ways I keep my relationship fresh and fun…
I've never had a great time of making friends at all in my life. I had a bit of a meltdown about this recently, thinking about how I have so few friends. I lamented, "I wish I was just at the stage of my life where I didn't care anymore. Where I didn't measure personal success by how many friends I have."
What are you supposed to do when you can't stand your in-laws? I needed to learn techniques to help me deal with mine in a kind and considerate manner, without exploding with internalized stress. For me, the following things have helped…
My sister is amazing with people, confident and outgoing and extraordinarily empathetic. And me? Well, I was the best at logistics. I always had two sets of lunch money in case my sister forgot hers (which was often useful), and contingency plans for every situation. As we grew up and left home the relationship dynamic stayed the same. Then, last year, we had a family crisis, and I realized that the dynamic had shifted, and I needed to shift as well.
My husband and I got married not too long ago. It so happens that one of our long-time friends, also from our home town, found a part time job in the city I work in, and we've decided to share a flat. Offbeat Homies my questions are many…
At first glance, my house doesn't look particularly offbeat. Look a little closer, though, and you'll notice the comical number of computers hiding here and there. Seven or eight bikes in the garage, corralled by a bike rack made of two-by-fours. Five cars that come and go. The duplicate cookbooks and kitchen utensils, the camping equipment lining the walls in the garage. And, of course, the five bedrooms that are definitely occupied by six adults.
In shopping for the new place, I remember what I left behind at my ex's: the pretty swing-top jars and canisters with colourful, perfectly co-ordinated labels, on which I used my best handwriting to label the coffee, macaroni, etc. They sat on the pantry shelf, a Pinterest pin waiting to happen. I was meticulous — borderline obsessed — with putting every package of food that came into our home into a pretty jar with a nice label.