Co-Housing Is Controversial!

Who knew? I, naively, didn't. But the guest post over at Money Saving Mom generated some strong opinions, and it was educational for me to see the range of people's concerns and experiences.

A few of the topics that came up were: affairs, child/sexual abuse, unrespected boundaries in parenting and budgeting, ruined relationships, legal violations, the prevalence of shared housing in other cultures, strengthened relationships, women clashing over how to run a household, personal aversion to the idea of sharing, positive experiences, and more.

I'd like to take some time to consider and respond to some of these here over the next few days and weeks.
Right now, I have dinner to serve and a kiddo to take care of, so this short note will have to do!


Bethany said…
Hi, I read the post over at Money Saving Mom in my Google reader and came over to check out your blog.

I figured there might be some challenges in having two families live together and thought it was cool that you could work out any problems to make the situation work. I didn't think of any harsh negatives like you said are in the comments. Go figure.

Glad you all have found a way to make things work!
Unknown said…
We also co-housed with some friends. It was a similar situation as you. husband, wife, toddler, me, my husband, newborn babe.

It was quite the experience. It was hard, but i wouldn't take back that experience for anything. I learned alot about myself as a wife and a mother and will venture to say i am a better mother and wife because of it.

I was in the last stages of pregnancy with our first and my busband was finishing school.

Don't let anyone get you down. We came across alot of people who thought we were totally bizarre for doing it. But it worked for us. We now have a place of our own, but still love the other members of our "family" dearly.
StephanieNeier said…
Hi! I came from Money Saving Mom also :) I am SO EXCITED to have found you. We recently sold our home of 6 years very quickly and moved an hour back "home" near all our family. We have five children and have found that renting an apartment is not an option with seven people and housing rentals are more than a mortgage! Well, we decided to move in with my sister's family ... she, her husband, and four kids! It's been a blast with nine kids and four adults, especially after being gone for six years. But, after a month, the fun is wearing off and I made a call to the realtor today. I temporarily began to lose sight of our dream home we are planning to build and was willing to exchange it for a small home with immediate gratification. After reading your posting, I have a renewed hope and am happy to know that I am not the only one with challenges. This post reminded me of the "bumps in the road". Thank you for your willingness to be open and share your experiences. You have truly helped someone :) Thank You.
Fran said…
Were the people who responded with the serious problems talking about cohousing or shared housing? In cohousing people have their own units so some of the issues you identify would be no more common than in any neighborhood.

By the way I could not find the negative comments you cited.

Here's a description of cohousing from wikipedia:
A cohousing[1] community is a type of intentional community composed of private homes with full kitchens, supplemented by extensive common facilities. A cohousing community is planned, owned and managed by the residents, groups of people who want more interaction with their neighbours.
ooshela said…
Saw your post on MSM and thought I would check out your blog. My husband, 3 kids and I co-house with a single (well soon to be divorced) guy friend of ours. We did it to save money, and to have the opportunity to benefit from many of the perks you mentioned in your post. Glad to hear of another family "cashing" in on those benefits. :)
Alexis said…
Thanks for the encouragement, guys!

It's really exciting to find some other people who have tried this or are currently doing it. I've heard about a few scattered situations, but definitely don't know many other people personally who are house sharing.

Stephanie - Wow! That sounds like a crazy set up! I really hope that things settle down a bit and you find a way to live in a way that is somewhat peaceful. I'm sure you'll have some amazing memories from this time and will really be ready for your own place when the time comes. :-)

Fran - I didn't realize that there was such a strict definition of co-housing. Our situation is definitely in the shared housing category. The more negative/ concerned comments (along with positive comments) follow the post at Money Saving Mom.

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