Hollie Grimaldi Flores: The challenge, benefits of creating a ‘she shed’
Business development manager
I recently attended the grand opening of a photography studio as part of my ambassador responsibilities for the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce.
A group stood outside this cute cottage, had a photo taken and then went inside.
Inside was not what I thought a photo studio would look like. It was decorated in mostly black and white with beautiful photos on the walls but it was most decidedly feminine.
From the desk to the window coverings, this place had female written all over it.
When I mentioned I felt it was a lovely studio, another friend of the owner said, “It’s a she shed.” “A she shed?” I inquired. “What’s a she shed?”
“It’s the female equivalent of the man cave.” I was informed. I stood there dumbfounded; my only thought: “Brilliant.”
I live in a very nice home in Grass Valley that, until this past January, housed as many as nine people — comprised of six boys, one girl and one set of parents.
Our four-bedroom-with-a-loft cabin-style house was purchased not for location or aesthetics, but because we could make sleeping arrangements work for six boys, one girl and one set of parents!
What the house lacked was a space for me to call my own. A place to go to unwind, rewind, savor a bit of privacy, take a time out, remove myself from chaos, etc.
Due to a plumbing-gone-bad tale that I will not get into here, I did not even have my own bathroom.
Yes, nine of us shared a tub and shower for 12 years!
Every bedroom was occupied with as many as three boys at one time or as little as one girl for the duration.
A time lapse camera showing the migration of room changes over the years would be very entertaining.
As one child left the nest, rooms were rearranged, the oldest got his own room, two of the boys moved in together.
We moved the bunks and single beds more times than a moving and storage company, but it never left a space for me.
I had a window seat and doors that locked to my bedroom but I even had to share that space with the man I married.
A “she shed” would have been heaven!
To his defense, my husband lost out on his “man cave” very early on as well. The ga1rage was converted first to office space and later to a family room as the growing family was literally bursting out of the room we had designated as a play space.
As recently as last fall, I was begging the last few stragglers to move on, so I could claim the loft as my own.
I daydreamed about painting and decorating the space that had survived the growing pains of first three, then two and finally one boy as they wrestled, punched and clawed their way through puberty into adulthood. (That is my way of saying it needed a lot of work.)
Finally, the last child moved down the hall and the loft was empty.
I decided a beach theme would be perfect with a small desk, white furniture — even a hammock for the occasional nap. I spent a weekend painting and decorating. I set my desk in front of the window with a lovely view of unobstructed forest.
I used it for quiet time, a place to journal and daydream. I watched squirrels scamper and birds flitter. I watched deer forage and even saw a fox wander through the yard. I loved my little space.
But then, the last child moved away. Suddenly, all of the rooms were available. And I found I have not been in my loft for months. It has slowly become more for storage than for respite.
But it is still mine. Decorated as I please — a retreat, should I want one.
With the boomerang effect looming (kids are asking to move back in), I am getting ready to move my “she shed” to the other side of the house: this time to a room with doors!
If you are in the “eye of the storm” with young ones at home, do yourself this single service.
Carve out a space — a closet if you must — and claim it as your own. Make a sacred space for yourself.
The benefits reaped will overflow into a much calmer household. I promise.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is the business development manager at The Union. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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