Finding a private place ... in a small space

norcalgirl78November 25, 2008

Just wondering if I could get some feedback, ideas, opinions, etc. on my topic.

I live with my BF39in a small apartment that is set up with kind of a circular floor pattern where every room connects to the next. His DD9 and DD5 are coming to visit for five days starting tomorrow, and although I adore them and enjoy them very much, I struggle with feeling invaded when they visit and not having an "adult" and private place to myself. I am childless and 30.

It is not so much that I want to go away from them and be alone, but more that I want our bedroom to be respected as our place and not a playroom. But since the laundry machines, walk-in closet, and one of the two bathroom doors as well as a door to the living room are part of our bedroom, sometimes it seems too restrictive and I feel silly making the place off-limits.

Thanksgiving is in a couple of days and we are going to have about 10 people over including several children. I can imagine the room being run through and scrutinized more than I would like and it makes me very uncomfortable.

What can I do? Is it fair to make it a private place when there isn't much space leftover? Or should it just be off-limits when I'm not in there? Sometimes I feel like "another one of the kids" because I don't have much experience w/ kids and wonder if really what I am doing is looking for a way to assert myself. I feel like if I were (a) older and more established or (b) living in a bigger place, them being in my room would be out of the question but because the place is so small and the layout is what it is, that I should just go along.

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I grew up with my family intact and my parent's bedroom was always 'off limits'. Sure, we could go in when invited, but it was not an area of the house where we'd go if they weren't home. My kids are allowed to come into my room if I am in there, sometimes they don't knock & that does bother me a little. When I want to be alone, it's my retreat. I don't think it has anything to do with step vs. bio. My husband's mom has a sitting room that is off limits to everyone, except when she's entertaining.

Whatever you do, set your boundaries BEFORE they come. You and your BF need to have that agreement prior to their visit. It's much easier to set the boundaries now than change the rules later.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 12:31PM
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How big is rest of apartment? Where will kids be sleeping?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 12:39PM
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My situation is a little different than yours in the girls actually live with us full time. They have their own room but in general our place is also pretty small.

Our room is totally off limits. There is nothing in our room for two five year olds to get into. I don't want them playing with my makeup and jewelry and Jonathan doesn't like them in the room with the guns. (The guns are securely put away adn locked up but he doesn't even want them in the same room with them.) Not to mention we have adult "things" they don't need to be plundering through:)

Everyone needs their space. I see nothing wrong with making your personal bedroom off limits to anyone who doesn't sleep in that room. What other reason would anyone realistically have to go in there? Their stuff isn't in there and they don't sleep or eat in there.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 12:54PM
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Our bedroom is off limits unless SD10 is invited in. She must knock if the door is closed. I spend a lot of time in our room since I have chronic pain and sitting some times bothers me. I do not like having a "crowded" bedroom. I think that your room should be off limits if that is what you want. You can tell the kids also that you are taking some quiet time and not to disturb knocks on the door etc. There are times when I invit SD10 to watch a show with me or to play a game on the computer and I think she feels that those times are special. I also allow her in before school since I'm not driving this year. It gives her and I a few minutes alone before she leaves for the day. She really had a hard time adjusting to our room being off limits to her when she and DH first moved in. She had not had boundaries like that before. Your BF's kids may not have either but I think it's good for them to respect your space.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 1:32PM
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My room is totally off limits to my dd. Unless invited in, she is not to step foot in the door. She has full run of the rest of the house. That's my own personal place, my DH's personal place.

"I want our bedroom to be respected as our place and not a playroom. But since the laundry machines, walk-in closet, and one of the two bathroom doors as well as a door to the living room are part of our bedroom"

I take this as the only way to get to the laundry is through your room? Would you mind doing laundry for everyone?

Walk in closet? Do they need to be in your closet?

One of the bathroom doors? I take it you have your own master bath? In that case, make it off limits except in an emergency. Plenty of people only have one bathroom and make do.

Likewise, no one will be grossly inconvenienced by having to use the other door to the living room.

I think you are perfectly within your rights. Just clean up, and put away personal items so that if someone does have to go in there you will feel comfortable.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 2:54PM
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Master bedroom is off-limits. My parents had that rule when I was growing up, so it only seems natural to me.

How does your BF feel about it?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 3:43PM
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Our apartment is like this (I tried to post a floorplan but it got too specific w/ my address and I didn't like that):

Walk into the foyer, kitchen on left, bathroom to the right, walk through bathroom to pass master closet, walk through hall to laundry and come out in master bedroom, walk through to living room, kitchen now on left, walk forward to den/office (we make this into a kids' room before they come). They sleep on air mattress b/c the square footage doesn't allow for full bed or futon/pull out couch. Total square footage of the apartment is 838. And our rent is $2,100 a month - welcome to [my city]!!

I think BF could go either way re: them in the bedroom. Since the atmosphere is always so excited when they are with us, they tend to follow us around wherever we are. I don't want to discourage this. It is not uncommon for them to sit on my bed when I'm doing laundry, or follow me into the closet and pop out when I don't expect it. It is not unusual for them to come into the room early when we are sleeping and pile in with BF. I really don't like this latter part b/c I want to be decent and aware in the presence of kids, any kids - I think it has already been resolved.

I am glad to know I'm not the only one who feels like an adults' bedroom is just that - private. That is the way it was in my intact family growing up (pre and post-divorce). I need to learn how to set these boundaries without making them feel unwelcome or restricted in an already small space. I'm used to all doors being open and potentially inappropriate things laying around or only partially hidden - tonight is going to be the major cleanup!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 4:20PM
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my boys were not allowed to play in our bedroom. Is there a door on the room, if there close it. teach your steps not to go in there if the door is closed.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 7:05PM
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I think the 9 year old will understand every one has a need for privacy -- the 5 year old may have trouble with that conceptually.

Good luck -- 4 people and one bathroom

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 8:52PM
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growing up we had sometimes 7 people with one bathroom and 900 sq ft of space and yet mom and dad's space was mom and dad's space...

these days the kids are rarely allowed in our room... again mom and dad's space is mom and dad's space.

it's tough but it can be done.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 9:24PM
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well nothing was off limits when I grew up. we do respect privacy: no one would ever read anyone's mail, emails, journals, eavedrop etc but other than that everyone goes to whatever rooms. i guess it is because how we grew up.

it might sound bizzare to some of you but it was not uncommon is a so called "old country". lol.

when i was very young we lived 7 people in one bedroom apartment wiht one bathroom and a tiny storage room: mom, dad, me, my brother (one year apart), my grandma, grandpa, my aunt.

grandparents slept in a living room, then mom, dad and two kids slept in a bedroom, aunt slept in storage room. then my aunt got married and for the time being they had no place to go, so she brought my uncle to the storage room (then it was 8 of us and aunt was pregnant) haha

at that point municipals gave grandparents and aunt wiht her family separate place.

my parents and us two stayed in one bedroom until both I and my brother were on our own. my parents slept in the living room. my brother slept in a storage room and I in a bedroom. one bathroom.

this is no way to live but because that's how my parents lived most of their lives, they love crowds of people, noise, they don't care about privacy. they wish all of us lived together in one house, the more the merrier.

although i grew up in a crowded condition and noise with no privacy I hate living like that. i love quiet.

and yes kids were and are allowed to play whenever. but then again it is intact family, might be different in a stepfamily.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 1:55PM
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My doors to all rooms are open in my house but if i want privacy i just close the door. an older child will understand but a young one will not. Dont expect them to knock at that age..they tend to just flay the door
Its not a big thing to ask and you can just close the door when you want privacy at the time that you want it. Thats all and if the child wants something i'm sure they will call out or even aks their dad if they dont see you around.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 2:08PM
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I so know how you feel.I just had my stepdaughter and her BF visiting for two weeks.Our place is rather small and they camped out on the sofabed (which is in the middle of everything).That was all fine,but we had to share one bathroom with 5 people!
I'm one of those people who is used to getting in the bathroom when I need to,so I wasnt too happy and did ALOT of waiting around.

We got pretty lucky that they respected our privacy,that when our bedroom door was closed,that means we arent to be bothered.
When the door was open,come on in...
That might be harder to enforce with children,but that's what locks are for :)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 6:25PM
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