Community Living (With A Baby)

“We will NEVER do that!” my wife and I decided when we left dinner with a family who had a roommate living in their basement. Living with family is hard enough yet alone with people who aren’t bond by blood. Fast forward several years, we find ourselves raising a baby with, yep you guessed it, roommates.

Our five month old baby has four roommates- mom, dad, Uncle Keith and Aunt Laura (They are not married). What started out as a joke when we all separately found out we had to look for new housing years ago, turned into a five year community house. Even when we thought we’d move out when we learned our baby was coming, we all stayed. We recently bought a house and we’re all moving to it together in the Fall.

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(Our house picking out a Christmas tree in 2015)

We always say we wouldn’t live with others again because it just works with Keith and Laura. Here’s why it works:

  • Communication:
    • It improves the quality of any relationship and we all have learned to use it often. Once our baby entered our house, we knew communication would be even more vital. None of us knew how it would work, but we agreed to communicate and figure it out together. My wife and I are constantly asking them if they can hear our baby cry or if the toys are too much in the living room.
  • Space:
    • The right space really is needed. Before our baby was born, we moved from the third floor to the basement allowing two floors of separation from them and the baby. Because of that, they never hear her cry and we all have our own space to retreat to if we need it.
  • Respect:
    • It’s often joked that we get free babysitting with roommates. I see the humor in that, but it stops there. We’d NEVER assume they will babysit our baby because this is their house too. My wife and I budget for babysitters and do NOT relay on our roommates (They do help out, but it’s on their own terms).
  • Investment:
    • In a living situation so bizarre, we need to be intentional to invest in the house. We all enjoy each other and want to walk through life together. Time is needed for that. Every Friday, we gather as a house and make a meal together. We often invite neighbors over, but it’s time set aside for us to be together.

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(The house on a trip to Vietnam in 2013)

It really takes a village to raise a baby and Uncle Keith and Aunt Laura are the types of people we’d want Addy to learn from and grow up to be like. Here’s to community living with a baby!

QUESTION: Would you ever live with roommates with a baby?

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