How to renovate with a baby

Don’t do it. Ha!

There I said it. It’s tough. I thought I’d share my experience and tips with you today. We’ve been renovating for 2,5 years now and our daughter is 11 months. With some pauses, basically every weekend is renovation time. When we started we would just renovate with the two of us, but when I got pregnant it came down to my husband a lot more. I tried to help as much as I could, but being pregnant and renovating isn’t a great combination because of some stuff you aren’t allowed to do anymore. And then the baby arrived, our daughter Mia. Madly in love of course, but the house still needed a lot of work. So after a while, our renovating life started again and it meant some challenges. So how do we do it, renovate with a baby?

First up? Give yourself a break.
This means a lot of things to me: literally take some time off every once in a while, but also realize you cannot do it all at once. Sometimes you’re tired, sometimes you’re busy with other stuff. The house will wait, the rest won’t.

Leave the house
When I am taking care of Mia and my husband is upstairs renovating, I prefer leaving the house. The mess, dust and constant noise can drive you crazy, not to mention the fact it can’t be healthy – especially for the little ones. On those days I visit friends, drink coffee in the city centre, whatever. And while it feels ridiculous to drink coffee knowing my husband is hard at work, we need to be a team for it to work.

Work together as a team
Onto my next point: one parent is able to renovate, because the other parent is watching the kids. So while I can feel guilty for drinking coffee, I know we both have a task in this part of our life.

Let go of planning
Especially if you’re amateurs like us! When you start a renovation project with something you haven’t done before, it’s trial and error. Like for instance in our case: we thought isolating our attic would take 3 days. Reality was it took 2 whole weeks. It sucks, but it sucks even more if you made yourself a tight schedule you then need to remake. And let’s not forget about setbacks. Every renovation has its setbacks; a wall that isn’t as good as you thought and needs to be replaced, the wrong paint color, and so on. So like I said before, give yourself a break. Sometimes life happens and then you’re happy you haven’t gotten yourself an extra problem with a messed up planning.

Get a babysitter
Duh much? I know, but dare to ask. Renovating with a baby always means one parent stays with the kids, and one parent renovating. The truth is you don’t want your kids around. They put stuff in their mouth, ask attention and in some cases it can even be dangerous. In our situation this means I mostly spent time with our daughter while my husband is renovating upstairs. But every once in a while we ask someone to watch Mia, so we can both renovate. To me this feels nice because I’m supporting my husband, in our quest to create a beautiful house. One last tip: if you do this, make sure there are plenty of tasks to be done for the both of you. You don’t want to sit around waiting on a day like that, it should be effective.

Make your time count
So when you are up and running in the middle of your project, make it count. One hour of full commitment is more effective than some hours thinking and staring. Get a plan, see what needs to be done. Especially if you do it together, like I said above. Make sure there is enough work for 2 people.

And when the baby sleeps..
It can be tempting to do all your work while your baby sleeps. And while of course this can feel like a very effective way of renovating, sometimes when the baby sleeps you need to take your rest. We try to stay away from renovating in the evening, to give ourselves a break. In a renovation there is a lot that needs to be discussed, decisions that need to be made, so that works perfectly fine in the evening as well. And there is no fun in waking your baby once it’s asleep because you drop something on the floor, right?

Hire a professional, if you can
And if this all feels too much, hire a professional. We don’t do it, but I fully understand others do to avoid the hassle. The mess, the dust, the time you’ll need, etcetera. We do it ourselves to save money and because we like the satisfaction of doing out ourself (hey, whats in a blog name..) but take this into consideration if you feel you are near a mental breakdown. It’s not worth it. Give yourself a break :)

One last tip, and I’ve said it before in this “How to survive a renovation” blogpost from a while back:
1 room at a time
Don’t do everything at once. You will have no place to relax and not a single area dust-free. Grant yourself the pleasure of finishing a room! It will be hugely rewarding seeing your work in a finished state and will give you a boost that will keep you going.

So, those were my tips on how to renovate with a baby. And I can never say it enough: give yourself a break <3

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