Bubble Construction

I am currently undergoing a major renovation... of my Personal Space.

Remember back in the day, before Covid and “bubble families” and
“neighbourhood bubbles” we all had this thing called a personal bubble? That invisible space we imagined around us: the one we tell our kids about when teaching manners, the one whose boundaries become clear upon encountering a random “close talker”. Where did that concept go? How come it feels like now that I am home 24/7 with my kids—my bubble has burst?

I am someone who loves to be alone. I am never bored, rarely lonely and prefer quiet over loud any day. I am proud to call myself an Introvert and know that I am more creative, productive and just plain happier when I can be at one with my thoughts. This solitude, however, is nearly impossible to find in our current state of affairs. I am home with 2 kids under the age of 10, overseeing remote learning while my husband works 12 hours a day outside of the home. I am attempting to run a design business making other people’s homes feel comfortable and inspiring—while my own home is feeling more and more like a zoo.

Our house is roomy, I can’t complain yet it’s the “never-endingness” of all the demands that continue to make the walls feel like they are closing in on me. In the last 5 weeks at home, I have not been more than arm’s length away from my children because the moment I cross that invisible boundary—something always happens! A dropped wi-fi connection, a spilled cup of hot tea, a broken pencil that somehow can’t find its way to a pencil sharpener. None of these things catastrophic, yet they all seem to need the validation of a mother’s attention. All of this in addition to the perpetual meal prep, clean-up and emotional meltdowns that have become a daily response to life on the inside. When my husband walks in the door after work and asks what I did today, I’m never quite sure how to answer. Does keeping 2 children alive count?

For someone like me who needs to introvert (yes, it’s a verb) to be productive, you can imagine how completely unproductive I have been. Most days I look up at 3.00 and wonder how in the world we got here, and realize that at best—I have a half-composed email and a dozen burnt muffins to show for it. Like all of you, I just keep plugging along reminding myself that this won’t last forever (right??); however, the longer it does go on I can’t deny that improvements must be made. The final straw was last week when my need to be alone was mounting, and my oldest daughter declared that she would like to have a sleepover… with me! It wasn’t enough that we had been joined at the hip for the past 420 waking hours (yes, I counted) but now we needed to bond while sleeping too. I agreed to the plan, but requested just 15 minutes to myself to recharge before the sun set. I retreated to my bedroom (I may have had a glass of wine in hand) and closed the door… only for my daughter to enter 30 seconds later asking if she could just “sit quietly on the bed and watch me think”.

This was the moment I decided to hire MANOR12 to do a complete redesign of my bubble. I had a 6 foot radius of imaginary space that needed to be reclaimed. STAT.

Turning the tables, I began by asking myself the same questions I ask every
client upon first meeting them:

  1. How does this space need to function?
  2. How do you want to feel in your space?
  3. Who are you, and how can your space reflect that?

Being my own client, I could fast track this process given that I already knew all the answers to the above questions. Turns out I just needed to think like a designer to actually honour them.

The next morning began with a “talk”. A straight-up, no-nonsense approach to bubble life. I came clean with my kids and told them school closures and
lockdowns were taking their toll on me too. I explained what it means to be an Introvert, and how it never means “not wanting to be with you” but more “I need to be with myself”. I compared their feelings of missing routine, school and friends to my missing of my routine, work and solitude. I set some boundaries: I would be available from 9 am to 1 pm for anything and everything, but after they had been educated and fed—it was outside for Vitamin D while I worked in my office: uninterrupted.

After function had been addressed, I turned my attention to emotion. As I would with any client, I assigned myself the task of making a list of the simple things that bring me joy, and made a promise to add them to my bubble. I started lighting candles again, not for a special occasion but just because it was a Tuesday and I feel happy when I smell sandalwood. I took the time each morning to fluff the pillows on the couch and fold my favourite blanket just so, not to impress company, but because I like it that way. I started to prep dinners like old-school me used to: setting a scene of good music, a favourite cookbook, and a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc—in the expensive crystal! No more saving it for a fancy occasion: the time was now. I gave myself permission to get lost in a complicated recipe because it felt like a creative outlet, even though it meant we ate dinner an hour late most evenings. And when the kids got too rowdy, I rediscovered the joy of headphones, and I may have been caught breaking out my old Janet Jackson dance moves while chopping vegetables. This was MY bubble after all

The results were immediate. With a renewed focus on joy, and everyone’s
expectations aligned, my bubble was taking shape again. And just as I always assure my clients: when you honour yourself—your home becomes your oasis.

I am still working on the mom guilt of being firm with my boundaries some days but I know it’s for the best. My girls are seeing first hand the importance of personal space and learning that they too get to claim theirs.

And that’s the thing about bubbles: if our only option right now is complete
isolation from society while living on top of one another, confined to our homes—I predict Bubble Renovations will be the next big thing.

Call MANOR12 today to book your free consultation! (May include wine and
screaming children in the background)

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2 thoughts on “Bubble Construction

  1. I love how you consider the whole person when designing. A space in which to live, and the space that lives within. You’re inspiring and talented. So proud of you. Keep posting, so I can keep learning from you!

  2. I enjoyed reading this, it held my interest and is very well written! Good for you, it speaks to an ability to be creative and positive even when having to extend oneself past one’s ultimate comfort zone as so many of us are having to do at the present moment. Best wishes Manor 12.

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