When my husband and I discovered that I was pregnant with twins, one of the first things we started to think about (well just after the big surprise of that news!!) was that we need to enlarge our house, because we just had two bedrooms. But enlarge a house with two babies and a little kid and continuing to live inside wasn’t easy to organize.
We engaged an architect, who suggested two different projects. We choose the one which didn’t modify the existing house. That means the work site was separated from our home by a window on one side and by a door on the other side. So, we didn’t have the inconveniences of the construction site in the area we used to live (except the noise some days). At the end of the work, we just had to break between the two connections.
The first year the babies were born, they lived in the library, which is a little room about 8′ x 8′, only separated from the living room by a simple curtain.
A company did the extension in wood, and then we managed to do the other work by ourselves to save some money. We had to make the biggest extension we could imagine if we would have just had one baby more. In fact, we doubled the living space. We are very lucky with our family : my husband and his father put plasterboards, my husband did the electricity, my husband’s nephew, who’s only 19 years old did the plumbing, my brother in law and his son in law did partition walls, my father paved the stone floors and walls and I did all the paintwork. Thanks to all of them because, except for my husband’s nephew who is a real plumber, every body did it on their free time because they are talented.
I’m sure you will ask who was keeping the kids when I was painting ? Pierre was at school and Leo and Renan were taken care of by my mother or my mother in law. They were staying at home alternately during that period and slept on the sofa in the middle of the living room. I’m so grateful to them. I’m really proud of my family and in laws for all that work, which offered us a new house, and a very comfortable one for our family. Everybody has his own bedroom now with a real door and more, our guests can sleep in a real bedroom too.
I go back to work since November but not for full time. I first start with 80% time. As there isn’t school on Wednesday, I do not work on that day and on the weekend. That means finding childcare for the twins. It’s not that easy because, in France we don’t have enough nurseries. Until November, I’ve got one day per week in a daycare, not to enjoy a day off like crazy or do some relaxing stuff I can’t do with Leo and Renan, like go at my favorite hair cutter or write on my blog :). I have make my decision to go back to work this summer but, to have a place in a nursery for the two kids, I should have take the decision in March… So, I have looked for a good nanny and found one between my house and my job, whose is great but way more expensive than a nursery. But we are lucky, because she accepts to keep the babies if they are sick (well, not too sick…). If they are really sick, I can stop my job 5 days per year to keep them. After that, I will ask my parents or my parents in law to come at home and help us as they do sometimes, because they don’t leave far away from our house. Leo and Renan will just go with the nanny for a year before they will go to school with Pierre. In France, we can subscribe the kids at school when they are three years old.
With my husband, we have manage our new planning to organize all the family with our jobs, with regard to the fact that I start and finish my job earlier than Stephane. In the morning, I take care of Pierre, walk with him to school before to go to work. Stephane takes care of the twins, drive them to the nanny before to go to work. As Stephane works at home, in the middle of the afternoon, he goes to school to pick up Pierre and gives him his snack in front of a cartoon before going back to work. Pierre can go and see him in his office if he has a problem. When I leave my job, I drive to the nanny to pick up the twins and go back home. With the three kids, we continue to go to the square for 30 minutes, to play together. After that, it is time to make the dinner, eat and give a shower to the three kids before to sleep them and take one hour to relax (and write in the blog) with my husband.
What about the domestic tasks ? The laundry will be done on the evening and I’ve got a cleaning lady who come once a week to clean the house. The garden will be done on the weekend but will require not much maintenance because, as we have to redo it all after the extension of our house (see an other article), we will install this Winter an automatic watering (or a synthetic lawn) and we will choose plants which don’t need to many maintenance like lavender, forcicia or certain rosebushes, for example.
Babies’ tears, tantrums, bad nights, illnesses, school, work, housecleaning, laundry, cooking and shopping for food : how to face all those tasks without becoming crazy and also how to save time for leisure activities, friends, love and relaxation? Like you, I’m not a superwoman.
Here you will find some tricks to organize family life the French way, (with three little kids at home) and how we try to give them a good education (well I hope).
Let me introduce you my family : Stephane and I with our three sons (from left to right) : Leo, Pierre and Renan.