co-housing

[deleted account] ( 15 moms have responded )

On the same topic as Katherine's thread, but on a more positive note...

http://moneysavingmom.com/2010/11/co-hou...

Could you do it? Have you ever done it or are currently doing it? What problems do you foresee arising from this kind of living arrangement?

An interesting thought, many cultures live in multi-generational homes. Do you think the concept of privacy is a western thing?

My experience: My husband and I lived in a house his parents owned, but didn't currently live in, for the first three years of our marriage. My brother-in-law also lived there. It worked well for us, because we were all at work/school everyday and never home. We each had our own TV and bathroom so there were no issues there. The biggest issue was who gets the washer/dryer on the weekends when we were all home. My husband and I have a very close relationship with is brother to this day.

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Minnie - posted on 11/02/2010

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Funny that you bring this up, because we are planning on renting a house with my mother and possibly my brother. I do feel that small nuclear families is mostly a western ideal, with independence being lifted up very high on the scale of things to attain. I believe that there are many benefits to living in a multigeneration household.

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September - posted on 11/03/2010

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We just could not do it. We enjoy our personal space far too much. Although we do not share living quarters with any of our family members or friends we are all still very close to one another. :)

Mary - posted on 11/03/2010

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I've done it twice as an adult. The first time was for seven months, and with my first husband. We had sold our home, and were waiting for our new home to be built. It was...interesting, but not bad. My parents are fairly laidback, and really good about respecting privacy. I found it awkward and annoying at times, but it probably had a lot more to do with my own personal circumstances. We were at the beginning of a long infertility treatment, and my younger sister was pregnant with her first child. It was a difficult time in my relationship with my sister, and my mother had a hard time staying out of it. Another huge issue was when my then FIL suddenly became ill, and died within about 2 months of initial diagnosis. As fate would have it, his funeral was the same day my sister went into labor. It was a very difficult time in all of our lives, but all thing considered, it actually turned out okay in the end. I think what helped is that I tried to never lose sight of the fact that it was their home, and they were doing us a favor by letting us stay there.

That marriage ended in divorce, and I stayed with them again (with my dog and cat), for about 3 months after the sale of that home until I went to settlement on my current home. That was actually a very happy time for me. I thoroughly enjoyed being with them. It was summer, and they have a pool, so I would have been there a lot anyway. They were both retired at this point, and I was working full time nights, and dating my now-husband, so we weren't too much in each other's faces, which also probably helped. I think my parents enjoyed that time as well.

My mother died unexpectedly this past April, and my father, who is 68, is now alone in that big old house. For now, he is fine, but we all know the time will come when he will not be able to manage the house and property on his own. We have talked a little about the possibility of myself, husband and daughter moving in there with him at some point in the future. My sister and I both love that home, and would like to keep it within our family. I live only a few miles away, and my sister is out of state, so it would have to be me. I actually think it might be kind of nice. My dad is such and awesome guy, and very easy to get along with. My daughter absolutely adores him, as does my husband. It could be a great deal for all of us.

Isobel - posted on 11/03/2010

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Finding the right roommate is as hard as finding the right husband...but it can be done.

Amie - posted on 11/02/2010

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We do this with my brother. He's been living with us for the last 4 years. He does pay "rent" but that's to cover expenses for himself, his girlfriend when she's here and his cat. We buy everything for the house and pay all the bills. So the $400 is him pitching in. He babysits on occasion for free too!

I've always been close with my siblings. My husband and I have even talked about our next house, that if my brother is still with us we will find one that will accommodate him as well. To live in the city is expensive, his student loans almost destroyed him. Living with us has freed up enough money for him to pay them off in a reasonable amount of time. He's actually done paying them off now. I was there when he made his last payment! He's still with us though. None of us mind, we all get along. The kids love having their Uncle Joey around too. The days he comes home from work early they all pile onto him and "beat him up". It's quite funny to watch. lol I think he enjoys being here because of the sense of family, we grew up in a big family. Plus he has me to cook for him and run errands. LOL I think he's got the better deal. gqtm.

Nikki - posted on 11/02/2010

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We are living with my parents and two younger brothers at the moment, it's interesting!! It hasn't been too bad really, we have been here 3 months and I am just getting to the stage now where it is time to find our own house. We moved states so it was easier just to stay with mum and dad rather than get a house we had never seen. Up until now I haven't been too stressed about finding our own home, my daughter loves having her nan and pop around and it is a really big house so we have our own space. That being said, I think 3 months is enough for us now, we are just about to go on holidays and then we will be actively looking for a house!

Jocelyn - posted on 11/02/2010

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If you can find the right people, then I think it's a wonderful idea. We lived with my parents for a year after Conner was born and it was HELL. Now that my parents are split up, we would totally live with my dad again, but never with my mother :P
And like Carol, we are also in a Co-op; so it's pretty much like co-housing, just with a bit more walls.

[deleted account]

After we had our 1st born our friend moved in with us "for a few months" which turned into 11! He was sleeping on the couch...fortunately we had 2 @ the time...but he didn't do nothing but laze around, I cleaned most all the dishes...I could probably count on 1 hand the amount of times he made dinner and those were typically with the help of my husband, who also doesn't cook all that often. His feet stunk! He'd have to leave him shoes outside it was THAT bad! We'd lived in our duplex for 5 yrs prior to this and for some reason with his stank a pack of mice chewed their way into the closet where he kept his things, then tried blaming it on my 1 yr old! It was disgusting and I was horrified! We didn't find the hold them little pests were getting in until he moved out! I probably wouldn't mind living with him again if he had his own room where I could leave any dirty yuk behind a closed door!!!! You know with a bunch of febreeze smelly things in the hall ;) My sister lived with us, on the couch, before we had my 1st born and for a month after. I didn't mind living with her! She has a boyfriend now, I doubt I would mind living w/them or my brother Joe...I have a g/f who has 3 kids who I've talked w/before about living together when I've been seriously mad at my husband and considering options...I would absolutely HATE living w/someone who would make the kid count surpass the adults! 2 adults and 5 kids...yikes! Especially since they are all under 7!!!! My 2 kids can drive me nuts I wouldn't even want to know what 3 more would do... My mom, her husband and my grandma all live in the same house. I haven't seen it as they just moved back in together a few months ago, but I guess its working well for them. My mom is anal about clean! and my grandma is good about keeping tidy. Their new place allows my grandma a sizeable basement, they have a sizeable area to themselves seperate from grandma and they share the kitchen. I think that would be something I would like! A house with multiple wings that gave you your own rooms, living room, and bathrooms...I wouldn't mind sharing a kitchen, I just simply wouldn't clean someone else's mess :) I'm good at that!!!

[deleted account]

LOL Sara! And you're right. If family can't share the chips then what is this world coming to??? LOL

[deleted account]

I think in our situation it worked, because everyone was so laid back but still respected boundaries. We split bills evenly. We bought our own groceries. My husband and BIL took turns with the mowing. We washed our own dishes. We had our own TVs and bathrooms. I cooked for my husband and I, and sometimes BIL ate with us, but most of the time not. Sometimes I would want chips and my brother-in-law had them, so I ate them. And vice versa. We discussed it and we figured it would probably all even itself out in the end. And if it didn't, who cares? We're family and family takes care of each other. At the end of the day family is more important than a bag of potato chips. But then again, we kept our respective spaces neat and didn't leave our toenail clippings on the coffee table. I'm sure I would have a different opinion had that been the case!

Stifler's - posted on 11/02/2010

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Oh hell no. Before we had logan we had a couple with a kid living in our house paying almost half the rent. It was terrible. Everyone bitched about everything and no one ever did anything about it. People fought over tv viewing, yard work, dishes, money, the electricity bill, the phone bill, who was cooking when, people left washing in the machine for days as if it was a free for all. The idea of money grubbing is a western thing which causes problems when people live together. Also selfishness and lack of organisation or balls to say what their issue is and what needs to happen is mostly the problem.

[deleted account]

My husband and I have actually had a few experiences with this kind of living arrangement. When we had been together for about a year we both lost our jobs because the factory we worked at closed down. I was his boss....but that's a whole other story lol Anyhow, some friends of ours were moving into a house and offered to have us come live with them and their daughter, who was about 5 at the time. They had a room, we had a room and their daughter had a room. We had our bathroom, they had theirs. All the bills were split evenly, except for things like gas for the cars. We made weekly grocery trips, bought in bulk, split every grocery bill evenly. It was great for the first few months. My husband found work and I ended up staying home to watch our friends' daughter (mom worked nights and dad worked days). Like I said, for the first few months it was great. But then those little things started happening. Things that you don't know about someone until you live with them. One person leaving their shoes in a bad spot. Another person having a tv up too loud. Little things. We stayed with them for a year, saved up as much money as we could and then we got our own place. We weren't on bad terms with our friends or anything. But it was probably about 2 or 3 months after we moved out before we saw or spoke with them. I think we were all glad to be out of each other's hair. Our second experience was more of a room mate situation. The place we moved into after living with our friends was a cute little two bedroom townhouse. I loved it. Until one day my husband's childhood friend called him up and asked if he could stay with us "for awhile". He was moving to Florida and just needed a place to stay while he got on his feet. I didn't know the guy, but I trusted my husband. (Did I mention that all of this was before our son was born?) So down comes his friend. We sat and laid out ground rules, money arrangements. We gave him ample time to find work and start getting paychecks, and let him live there rent free for the first month. He quickly found work, started paying us what we had agreed upon. Money wise, he was fine. It was everything else that went sour. He never cooked a meal or washed a dish. His room....oh the horror. I didn't care that it was messy...that's none of my business. But he wouldn't do laundry and I could smell his stinky clothes from down the hall. He smoked in the house when we weren't home, thinking we wouldn't know. We smoke but only outside. Even a smoker can smell smoke where it doesn't belong. A whole host of things about him annoyed me. Arguments about whose turn it was to take out the garbage. He broke my favorite coffee mug (and flat out lied about it). Porn on my computer. What did it for me, the LAST straw...was finding his nasty toenail clippings on my coffee table one morning as I sat down with my coffee and a bowl of cereal. He was gone in a matter of about two weeks. Off to stay with other friends he had met after he moved to Florida. It took a LONG time for him and my husband to get back on speaking terms again. It's been long enough now that even I love him to pieces....but he'll never live with us again.

I can see the usefullness of co-housing. I like the idea. It's practical. Plain and simple. But sometimes, no matter how well you think you know someone, you don't know EVERYTHING until you live with them.

So I don't know if it's a "western thing" that makes me value our privacy, or if it's the fact that I've learned to appreciate it from experience. But I don't plan on ever having to live with anyone again if I can help it. We did have to stay with my in-laws for almost 3 months when we first left Florida for NY but that's a whole other story....it was a temporary solution and we were outta there asap.

[deleted account]

I wouldn't mind living with either my parents or Chad's parents AS LONG AS we had our own space. I like to be by myself, quiet and without distractions so as long as that was possible, I'd totally be up for it!

When Chad was working in Alberta and gone for sometimes months at a time, we decided that Roxanne and I would move back to my hometown. (Abbotsford) When we first moved back our place fell through so Roxanne and I ended up staying with my parents for almost 3 months. I LOVED IT! Roxanne LOVED it! BUT....I don't know if it would have worked with Chad home?!

Not opposed to the idea but besides the parents or in-laws, I can't think of anyone I'd be willing to consider living with. Certainly not a strange couple that I don't know and not the ones I do know either. My brothers are out of the question because we lived with the youngest before and I swore I would NEVER EVER do that again. Plus I can't stand the other brother.

Yup, that's all I have to say right now....lmao.

Johnny - posted on 11/02/2010

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I'm not sure I could do this. I can't really think of anyone I'd want to share a home with, lol. I currently live in a co-operative (which I absolutely love) and while the interiors of our homes are private and we can do with them as we please, the buildings and the land are commonly owned. We must agree on renovations (which we are currently going through), landscaping, lighting, paint colors, insurance set-ups, mortgage plans, etc. It works wonderfully and makes it affordable for us to live where we live and in the amount of space we have. But I could not see entering into a 'less private' sort of arrangement.

My husband grew up in a multi-generational home. His great-grandmother (mother's side), grandmother (mother's side), grandfather (father's side), both his parents, his sister & her husband (16 years older) with their daughters and his brother & his wife eventually lived on the property in another home with their kids. His culture lived communally since coming to North America in the late 1800's and most continued the practice into the 1990's. Now everyone has their own places, in his family too. It has wonderful aspects, but I think it is something that people tend to idealize more than it deserves. There are a lot of reasons they don't live communally any more, and most people are happy that it's over.

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