Ohmyhome CEO Rhonda Wong shares her childhood experiences of growing up in a small home with her family and how it has shaped her perspective today on smaller homes.
I was awoken one morning by the sound of my son’s laughter in the living room. He usually wakes up before I do. I could hear him having breakfast with Daddy and chatting about the dreams he had the night before, which are typically filled with monsters and his heroic rescues.
At that moment, as I laid in bed listening to him recount his dream, I thought with a smile on my face: small homes are good for families.
As a society, we’ve been conditioned to believe that success is reflected in having a larger home, a more prestigious address or designer furniture. It’s true insofar as your home, in many ways, is a part of your make up. But exactly because it represents you, being proud of your home, regardless of its size or location, also says very much about your personality and what you truly value.
And that is why you should be proud of your home, no matter how big or small it is in other people’s eyes.
I didn’t always have the privilege of living in a big fancy home when I was younger. One of the first apartments my family and I lived in was a two-bedroom apartment. My parents had a room of their own, while my two sisters, grandma and I shared a room.
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Being the youngest, I slept on the floor, right by the door like a gatekeeper. You wouldn’t be able to open the door once I was asleep. It might have been cramped, but we loved it. We chatted and giggled at night till we fell asleep. And in the mornings, Grandma would make us half-boiled eggs for breakfast before my sisters and I walked to our primary school together.
Walking past the large houses, we always wondered how people lived in such a big space. There must be lots of gardening to do, we thought.
Our next home was much bigger in comparison: a four-storey terrace house. At eight years old, it was the biggest home I’ve ever lived in.
Though it definitely looked like an upgrade on the outside, it didn’t really feel like that to me on the inside. I was so afraid that there were ghosts hiding in the dark recesses of our stairwells that I raced up and down the stairs each day to avoid unwelcome attention.
Funnily enough, that daily ‘training’ made me one of the top runners in school.
In this home, my sisters and I were in different rooms, and we were separated by two floors. They soon started attending secondary school while I was still in primary, so we didn’t get to share as many stories as we used to.
It was honestly such a relief for me when we moved back into an apartment.
Here’s my eldest sis, Rosanne, reminiscing on the good old days as well.
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Though I do have to admit, sharing a room with my grandma when I was younger wasn’t always the best experience. Yet because of the proximity, I naturally grew very close to her. I slowly came to understand the limitations she had with her health, as well as her deteriorating ability to move independently.
So when she was very ill later on in our lives, though we had more physical living space, I still enjoyed the intimacy of hearing her at night as if we were still cooped up in a tiny room.
My years of living with her got me sensitive to when she woke up, when she needed the bathroom, when she needed her oxygen machine, and sometimes, when she just needed some company.
I watched out for her, until the very end.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the close physical proximity that a small home brought had helped us forge a strong bond – an unintentional, but beautiful connection.
And that closeness in our hearts has never changed even when we’re in different parts of the world, separated by school, work, and now the pandemic.
I will always be grateful for and proud of that closeness we’ve cultivated, not just among us sisters, but in our family as well.
So if you have felt, even for a second, that your home is too small, I hope this sharing has given you a new perspective about its intangible beauty.
Because it’s not always about the size or grandeur of a home that matters, but the relationships and bond that you have with those around you.