Google+ Authentic Parenting: The Big House, Big lawn, Big Loan Story (rerun)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Big House, Big lawn, Big Loan Story (rerun)

I was walking the dog in my in-laws suburban residential area when all of a sudden something became crystal clear to me, you know, when you've always known something, but all of a sudden it forms itself clearly in your head and all you can do is nod?
You have to know that Belgians like to live in really big houses, preferably with really big lawns. And they want these big houses as soon as possible. As soon as they land a fixed job... even before they have kids or get married. The big house is probably more desirable then a good marriage.

So I am walking through this neighborhood looking at all the nice big houses, with big neatly kept yards and notice that the neighborhood is completely empty. Until about 5.30 PM the only living souls in this neighborhood are mine, my dog and my daughter. And we're only passing though.
From 7AM to almost 7PM these huge homes and huge gardens are empty, because the people who own the homes and gardens have to work all day to pay for the mortgage on the homes and gardens, and those mortgages are equally astronomic as the size of the homes and gardens, so they will probably be working at it for long years to come. The two of them, because with the mortgage, there's no room for any one staying at home, since it will eat the total of one person's salary.
So the kids have to be put in daycare at school, which will eat away at the second salary.

And in the weekend, they'll need to shop to fill those big homes, which again, eats away at the second salary.
And they'll have to tend to the huge garden and big living space, to keep it nice and clean and neatly kept, which will eat away at their time (or their money if they decide that the time is more important).

And when the holiday season comes, they'll all be so tired of the paying and the working and the keeping of the house and the garden that they have to pay for a holiday far far away, to get away from the big house and the big garden. Which leaves the big house and the big garden empty again (maybe even with someone who gets paid to mow the lawn or water the plants).

So why are these people putting in all these working hours for something they can't and probably don't even want to enjoy?
Why does nobody notice how enslaved they are making themselves to these big lawns and big living spaces?



  1. This reminds me of a time when I drove by a huge mansion outside of Ottawa, Ontario and looked through it's huge front windows and saw almost no furniture inside--all the money was spent on the huge house and expensive car that there was nothing left to fill the house with. It was ridiculous.

  2. I'm with you. It all seems rather pointless to me. There are other places I'd rather spend my money - traveling and enjoying life with my family!

  3. I am in the US and that is how it is here too. They are still building what we call "McMansions" even after our housing crisis. We have friends who ask when we are going to move to a bigger home, and I say never. Our home is not small by any means, 2000 square feet, which is double the house I grew up in. I mean, I feel like this is a dream house! We are in a good neighborhood with good neighbors (many at home during the day)good space out back for play and a vegetable garden, a good school the kids can walk to, and we can afford it without me having to go to work. No, our next move will be when the kids leave home to a smaller space in a walkable neighborhood for our older years.

  4. You know when you read a post and know it's just what you needed to hear? This post was that for me. We bought a house almost two years ago and I've struggled to think of it as a home. There were some issues that came up with it, it's smaller than we wanted, there were various other things we sacrificed on. Some friends just bought a brand new house, huge, all fancy with brand new everything and I was jealous. I struggle to remember the things we didn't sacrifice on -- a good, safe neighborhood, a good school system, close to the lake, parks, and trails to explore, a nice sized yard with room for a garden. It's not perfect, but it's our home.

    Thank you for adding some clarity to my thoughts!

  5. you are so right. such a sad's just like that in the states! i was a realtor in austin, tx and before we moved to our tiny little cabin in belize, we actually were considering buying a larger house with 2 master bedrooms! we thought we'd be so happy if we just had a bigger house with a huge yard. then we did our 3 month "test drive" in a one-room shack on the beach in belize and realized we didn't need a bigger house and more stuff...we just needed more time for our family!

  6. After 7 years, we are still working on our house because we made the decision to pay cash on the barrel (as Charles Ingalls liked to say) and not go into debt that in an unstable Mexican economy may never get paid off. So it doesn't have much in the way of furnishings, but we have the essential and are grateful that we don't have to stress about paying a mortgage those months there isn't much work.


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