This morning, I read an interesting article about two couples that purchased a home together in a Northwest D.C. neighborhood. Ari Weisband and his partner Rebecca had lived in houses with roommates for most of their adult lives, and when they started to discuss marriage they both knew they didn’t want to “leave these important kinds of friendships behind and end up living in what she jokingly called a “love/torture cave of nuclear family loneliness.”” Two of Ari and Rebecca’s closests friends felt similarly and they decided to buy a home together. Before the couples had time to paint the walls and move in, one couple found out they were expecting.
Here’s an excerpt…
Yes, all four of us are on the deed and, yes, we share the 30-year mortgage and food and maintenance expenses. No, there’s no division of the house into separate sections. And no, all four of us are not all having sex with each other. (Why do many people assume that if adults are willing to share a kitchen, they probably also want to share a bed?) We are just two couples who plan to live together and raise children in one household, hopefully for decades.
When we talk with friends who already have kids about our living arrangement, some are shocked that we are willing to subject ourselves to living with a crying newborn who is not our own. Others can’t imagine trying to agree on consistent rules for the kids or having every minute of their parenting observed by other adults. The idea spooks them.
I do share those concerns to an extent, but raising kids with just one other adult scares me even more. I’ve seen these same friends with children struggle to balance work, family life, community involvement, exercise, and the occasional fun activity. There’s just no way to “lean in” to all those directions at once.
While most people take for granted that dual-parent households usually have more resources to deal with life’s challenges than single parents, why stop there? By forming a household with friends who share our values, we realized we could build an even stronger system of support than we would have in separate homes.
It’s a real advantage the way four different people can each bring our own skill sets to the house, and it helps us to divide up the work in ways that suit us each. I bake bread, roast coffee, and make yogurt, another housemate grows the herbs and vegetables, and another loves to mow the lawn. Most of us hate negotiating with contractors, but one housemate relishes it. Two of us are lawyers and can draft the legal paperwork we need. The other two aren’t and can pull us back from some lawyerly excesses in what we write. We all have cleaning chores we don’t mind and others we dread, but with four of us we can usually divide up the work accordingly.
Interesting, right? While I don’t think sharing a home without division of the house into separate living spaces is for me, I would definitely consider buying a townhouse (with separate “homes” within it) with another couple. It would be great to know that you already like and trust your neighbors, wouldn’t it? Also, down the road, when we have kids and want to sneak out for a late night date after the kids are already sleeping, it would be comforting to know that someone we trust is just up/downstairs (and we’d be able to return the favor :).
So, what do you think? Would you buy a home with another couple? How about raise children in an environment like this? Shared grocery shopping, house cleaning and a mortgage split four ways sound like great perks!
(Image via my Instagram feed.)