If you would have asked me years ago, I would have replied I could never share a house with another family. But when we made the decision to move to Oregon, that is exactly what we did, as we had grown tired of trying to shoulder everything ourselves. No community to lean on, fighting not just our fight with having cancer but our financial struggles as well. We were given an opportunity to share a really large house with another family who also has their fair share of financial struggles.
It was not easy at first, it was a huge adjustment period, learning everyone's personalities, laying expectations out on the table and communicating everyone's needs and looking for solutions to live peacefully within a tribe. Over time we have become family and bonds have been built which is different than simply a friendship when you share living space with others.
In many ways it quickly became a blessing especially with news of my cancer spreading again where I would need treatments again. Housework is shared, rent , electricity and internet is split, food is kept separate with the exception of occasional community meals. We have our private spaces but share great company when we are up to it, regardless of weather conditions. There is an abundance of laughter and genuine caring about everyone in the household too.
It is really nice to share the financial loads and is allowing hubby time to try his hand at entrepreneurship and grow a business. It also allows our room mate to try to grow her home business as well. While Co-housing certainly is not for everyone, we are finding it beneficial on many levels and for both families, not just one. By leaning on each other for now, we are raising each other up and allowing us this opportunity that otherwise never would have been able to happen. By leaning on each other, we were able to raise the bar in a standard of living, we did not have alone.
It has really been an amazing experience to open our minds up to this kind of lifestyle. How long will we co-house together? Nobody really knows, but for now it is working very well for our families and that is all that matters.