Unit life! 14 truisms about raising little kids in apartments

Posted in Family.

As Australia’s crazy housing market makes the dream of a home with a backyard tree to climb almost fanciful, more and more parents are raising their kids in units.

In fact, one in four apartments in cities such as Sydney, is now home to a family with children, according to the most recent census data. 

Apartment family living is a total thing now and while it certainly has its frustrations (and I know, having personally done it with two kids), there are some very unique upsides to it as well.

Here are a few things you’ll understand if you also get your grocery shopping delivered – because you know that not having to lug it up your apartment stairs with kids in tow is SO worth the delivery fee.

1. Block buddies are just the best!

It’s so cute when your kids call out to their unit-ville ‘siblings’ from the balcony, or join them in the driveway for a chalk drawing session. Block mums are also great friends and have each other’s back. For instance, run out of nappy cream? No worries! Penny downstairs with baby Harvey will help you out.

2. The local park is your backyard 

Not being able to tell the kids to “play outside” means you and your little ones often need to escape their small confines. But so do all the neighbouring unit kids.

As such, the local park can become a bit of a ‘play date party’ with lots of children in the area, but one that you don’t have to clean up from. #yay!

mum at park

3. Noooo, I didn’t leave it upstairs?!

You’ve finally gotten the kids down the stairs and strapped into their car seats, when you remember you’ve left your wallet – with your license in it – on the coffee table upstairs. Duh!

You can’t leave the kids unattended in the car to race up and grab it which means, deep breath, convincing them to trudge back up the stairs with you to fetch it. Wah! You could cry! That is unless Penny is in the driveway and offers to watch your little ones while you make the dash. Love Penny.

4. Thank god for smartphones

If you haven’t managed to win the ‘get him home before the day sleep’ battle and your bub has fallen asleep in the car, then your phone is your best friend – because you know climbing those stairs with a sleeping baby just isn’t worth the risk of him waking up. 

5. You are a culling queen

With limited space you never hang on to anything the kids have outgrown – those baby clothes and toys that have had their moment are quickly donated to charity. Out with the old!  

6. Designated washing days suck

If you have a shared laundry then you may also have a designated washing day – BUT – “My toddler getting gastro means I can not just wash on bloody Tuesdays!” You feel like screaming at whoever came up with that stupid rule. 

7. What ‘no washing on the balcony’ rule?

The bylaws forbid washing being hung out on the balconies, but hello, what family in your block abides by this? When the block clothes line means carting your baby and a washing basket down the stairs to hang out a load, a balcony clothes horse is much more appealing. Stuff the bylaw.

8. You know where the ‘parents with prams’ parking is 

It’s an unofficial rule in unit blocks that the space under the stairwell is for prams. If you have a family-friendly body corporate, this space can also be used to store trikes, scooters and bikes. Yay!

9. Your coffee table doesn’t sit in front of your lounge

You know you live in a unit with kids when your coffee table is pushed to a side wall to make their play area bigger, because, Give. Us. Space!

10. Your babies will sleep through anything

Your bub can snooze through the gardener’s noisy leaf blower at nap time, your neighbour’s car pulling into the driveway at midnight or the elderly couple’s loud TV at bedtime. In fact, he can sleep through all sorts of block racket, as can you.

baby sleeping

11. You can’t hide a bad mum day

You can hear your neighbours in the hallway, so you just know the entire block has heard you lose it at your kids for the 10th time that morning. Sigh. At least you hear them too when their little ones are pushing their buttons. #Solidarity.

12. You have to leave home every, single, day

Your family home is really just a place to sleep and eat. You love it but it’s too claustrophobic with kids to spend too much time there. By 9am, you need to get the kids out for a play at the park or a walk to the shops, or you will both go insane. But hey, at least you aren’t spending all day at home cleaning up. 

13. Your balcony doorway has a child gate across it

Even if your balcony balustrade is up to current safety standards, you probably feel nervy about your kids playing out there on their own – I mean, it’s just so high! As such, you may have installed a child gate across the doorway, and are always with them when they do play ‘outside’, just to keep watch.

14. No gardening on the weekend – yippee!

Sure your kids don’t have a backyard but you also don’t have to spend the entire weekend mowing and maintaining it. You might do a quick clean on Saturday morning of your unit, but the rest of the weekend is about getting the kids out and having family fun together. 

Fist bump to all the block dwelling families out there!


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