Two years ago I was a stay at home mom with 3 small kids, and our family embarked on a home renovation project we assumed would be straightforward. Easy. No big deal. After all, we were just adding a family room to the area off of our kitchen. It was estimated to take 8 weeks, our contractor had great credentials, and since I’d be home to oversee the whole thing, surely it wouldn’t be much of a headache at all.
Well, you know what happens when we assume things, right? Right.
As it turned out, what we assumed wouldn’t be a headache was more like a migraine, except instead of being able to take to my bed with a wash cloth covering my eyes I had to keep my kids from playing with the power tools. And instead of those weird rainbow visual effects all I saw were piles of dirt in my yard and drywall dust in my Cheerios.
Having lived through it, there are definitely a few things I’d do differently. Here are my tips for surviving a major home renovation project as a stay at home mom.
Safety First 1 of 4Going into our project I didn't realize that the people working on our house wouldn't necessarily know that there were children around. After one incident when a potentially dangerous tool was left plugged in on my porch, I knew I was going to have to be much more proactive about communicating our safety needs, both to the workers and my children.
Nap Time is Sacred…but be Flexible 2 of 4There's nothing like the sound hammering to wake an overtired child from her nap, as I learned. I discussed our family's schedule with our contractor and they tried to work around nap time, but it wasn't always possible. I had to relax my expectations a bit, and sometimes resorted to taking long drives with napping kids in the backseat in the name of sleep!
Materials Matter 3 of 4When selecting materials for our addition, keep durability in mind, particularly with kids. I would have saved myself a considerable amount of stress had I chosen hard wood floors instead of carpet since the room opens up to the backyard. With 3 kids and 2 dogs, wood would have been a much better choice!
Keep the Big Picture in Mind 4 of 4There's no doubt about it— a home renovation is stressful! But by keeping the big picture in mind and being flexible, it'll be a much less stressful situation.
More by Mary Lauren
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.