If you know me at all, you know that I’ve been sharing housing for years now. Literally. Our trio had our own place until 2006 when I decided that having exchange students staying with us would be a nice introduction to both Asian culture and house-sharing. That summer we shared our place with five students, one at a time, from Japan, China and South Korea.
And it worked just as well as I could have hoped. The kids acclimated to having strangers in our space and having to repeat themselves slowly again and again. When we finally got to Vietnam and lived with a rotating array of fellow foreigners, they did fine. It worked well enough that when we returned seven months later, I started looking for someone to share a home with Stateside. Craigslist became a close friend.
One day I stumbled onto an ad for a child-friendly housemate and I figured if anyone was child-friendly, it was me. Granted it was only one bedroom and the three of us would have to share, but I figured we could make it work. We’d spent the last seven months sleeping in the same room while in Vietnam; it wasn’t going to be something new. I convinced her it would work, too, and a week later the three of us moved in with Jennifer and her son, Ryan.
Three and a half years later, we’re still living together, though in a new house (after some crazy house-hunting). The kids are older and act more like siblings much of the time. We make it work, all of us together.
I’ve always thought this was a great mode of living for solo mamas, not just the young urbanites who want to split rent. It gives us someone to depend on, to help us out with kids and someone to vent to with ex-husband issues need to be aired. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but I think it’s worth trying.
Annamarie Pluhar agrees and wrote a book to tell you about it–she included us in her telling–with a new release from Bauhan Publishing: Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates.
If you’ve wondered about it before, from either the landlord or renter perspective, the book is full of great info, advice and personal anecdotes (like mine) about what makes and breaks this shared housing mode of living.