Trend increasing for single moms to meld households

Remember “Kate and Allie” from 1980s TV? Two divorced moms move in together in New York City to share expenses and help raise their kids. Well thanks to a terrible economy and women realizing the benefits of having another mom in the house, the trend of single moms moving in together seems to be growing.

From Babble:

“Communal living might be experiencing growth because of the anemic economy, but it’s not exactly new. Between the American communes of the 1960s, kibbutzes, and the oft-quoted “it takes a village,” sentiment, Americans aren’t exactly in the dark about the idea. But with the dramatic rise in unmarried mothers giving birth (from 18 percent in 1980 to 41 percent in 2008), as well as a rise in the likelihood of single mother households falling below the poverty line (a scenario 9 times as likely to happen in 2009 as it was in 1990) single moms are facing persuasive — if stark — reasons to cohabitate. Add to that the reality that the average single mom makes just over $25,000 and the average cost of raising a child per year weighs in at $13,860, and it’s easy to see why a “mommune” makes good financial sense.”

“And women are turning to communal families for more than just financial support. Back in 1999, Carmel Boss says that her motivation for moving in with another single mom wasn’t all about money or childcare but her own emotional needs. “I was coming out of a 17-year-marriage and moved to a town where I didn’t know anyone and was shy and introverted. Up until that time I had home-schooled my [then 10-year-old] son, and he was now in school.” She started interviewing women with whom she could share the extra floor in her home, and realized there were a lot of women in need in her Los Angeles neighborhood. “One woman was living in a garage with two kids. Others were feeling trapped at their parent’s homes. I was shocked,” says Boss. This realization lead her to launch Co-Abode [Co-Abode.org], a growing organization that helps match single moms with other single moms in their area for shared housing, through a secure and anonymous email system. She says she thinks the economy has boosted that growth, and other experts agree. “There are quite a lot of people who are realizing that they have space in their houses and they can get help with their mortgage, or they simply can’t afford the rents required for a 1-bedroom apartment, but when they think about sharing a 2-bedroom, they think ‘I can do that,’” says Annamarie Pluhar, author of Shared Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates.”

“Co-Abode’s mission statement includes the view that “two single moms raising children together can achieve more than one struggling alone.” And there are certainly many reasons for single moms to make it an option for their families. First, there’s the free childcare (something that married or partnered moms, hopefully, have from their partner). And knowing that another mom is in charge, not just a paid babysitter, can help calm anxious nerves of both mother and child. “My son called [my housemate] Mama Judy and her daughter called me Mama Ramona. It was okay [to my son] for her to read them both bedtime stories. [Judy] had to be up before her daughter was up two days a week and I dropped them off at school,” says Perez.”

The moms not only find financial support, they also find emotional support in a shared household. They can split chores and childcare. They also can create a new sense of family – someone to share Christmas morning with and fun Friday nights.

We have a divorced dad friend who actually moved in with the second husband his wife divorced. The kids from the first marriage and second marriage had grown up as siblings. The dads had bonded over how crazy the ex-wife was and they decided it made sense for them to move in together. They share household duties, carpool duties, sports coaching and they even hold spent-the-night parties. He says it’s a great relationship that really works out for both dads and the kids.

And what about the ex-wife? She’s furious that they have each other to depend on. She says it’s not like their single and she’s handling it all on her own.

I think this type of relationship really makes sense and all sounds great IF you can find the right mom (or dad) to share with. We all remember from college how bad it was if you got stuck with a crappy roommate that didn’t respect your boundaries or carry their weight and now you’re talking about involving your kids.

I think it would be challenging to find someone who would want to run the household the same, had the same standards for cleanliness, homework and discipline.

What do you think? If you got divorced would you want to share the household and childcare duties and home expenses with another divorced mom or dad? Are you currently living in this type of situation? Do you think it would be tough to find just the right family to co-habitate with?

62 comments Add your comment

Lori

September 13th, 2011
12:45 pm

I’m way to set in my ways to share my house with someone else. I don’t think I could even stand living with my sister and her kids. I guess you could say I’m “persnickety”, so no way I could handle someone else in my space. I’m glad it works for some people though, just not for me.

mom2alex&max

September 13th, 2011
12:56 pm

I think it is a wonderful concept! I think the biggest issue being a single parent is having to do it all on your own. With a parent-room-mate, you can split chores, duties, carpools, etc and the kids get the benefit of having two adults around to help them grow,

Jeff

September 13th, 2011
12:59 pm

I wouldn’t mind sharing a house with two single moms. :)I’ve always done all the laundry and dishes, so chipping in has never been an issue. Why not?!

Tia

September 13th, 2011
1:35 pm

In the righ scenario I think it is a good idea.

jmb

September 13th, 2011
1:40 pm

The devil himself couldn’t live with my ex husband.

Same here, jmb...

September 13th, 2011
1:42 pm

…except he couldn’t live with my ex-wife – maybe we need to get our ex’s together…

I here ya, Jeff...

September 13th, 2011
1:43 pm

…I wouldn’t mind living with 2 single moms, either, as long as they did not bring their kids…

Buster

September 13th, 2011
1:45 pm

The Devil herself couldn’t live with my ex-wife. My ex-wife is even more evil.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 13th, 2011
1:59 pm

A new story from the WSJ – basically reporting the same trend — but their saying it’s hurting the economy — From the WSJ –

Fewer households means fewer consumers for businesses desperate for demand. (You don’t need to buy a new TV if you can just use mom and dad’s.) At the same time, it continues to drag on a housing market that needs to burn off excess supply.

Meanwhile, the struggles of young adults can have a broad economic impact. Parents supporting adult children have less money to spend on themselves, not to mention less income to save for retirement.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/09/13/more-americans-are-doubling-up/?mod=e2tw

jmb

September 13th, 2011
2:03 pm

I’d bet both of you that mine’s the most evil. He hates everyone, even his son sad to say. We just got out of court with our youngest child whom tried to kill herself. I’m pushing for her to get help and he’s pushing to take her home. Even his attorney walked out on the case today realizing that he just doesn’t care about her well being. He’s a hermit other than work and hasn’t dated since I left him 11 years ago. He makes himself miserable and takes it out on the world. Oh yea, even his momma hates him.

jmb

September 13th, 2011
2:05 pm

Same here jmb: I’ll give you his name and address but she would hate him too.

sam

September 13th, 2011
2:07 pm

Thats all our society needs, more encouragement for women to think raising children outside of marriage is a good idea.

Denise

September 13th, 2011
2:17 pm

I’m not exactly sure HOW it happened because I was young but my mother lived with two of her single mom friends in this type of scenario. I don’t have many true memories of either situation other than that we had somewhere to live (not that I think we would have been homeless had we not moved in with them) and had other kids around. I remember being attached to one little girl (She died when I was 10 and I was TRAUMATIZED) but not really liking the other family’s kids. (That is something that should be taken into account when looking into this set-up. Sure, it is financially beneficial but putting your kid in a situation where they will be unhappy for whatever reason should be avoided if possible. Also keep in mind the age and sex of the children you are potentially mixing.)

Southern

September 13th, 2011
2:23 pm

“She says it’s not like their single and she’s handling it all on her own.”

I do not understand this sentence. Aside from the obvious grammatical error, what is the writer trying to say?

Southern

September 13th, 2011
2:27 pm

“A new story from the WSJ – basically reporting the same trend — but their saying it’s hurting the economy — From the WSJ –”

How to Use There, Their and They’re

Use there when referring to a place, whether concrete (”over there by the building”) or more abstract (”it must be difficult to live there”).

Also use there with the verb BE (is, am, are, was, were) to indicate the existence of something, or to mention something for the first time.

Use their to indicate possession. It is a possessive adjective and indicates that a particular noun belongs to them.

Remember that they’re is a contraction of the words they and are. It can never be used as a modifier, only as a subject (who or what does the action) and verb (the action itself).

Test your usage. When you use any of these three words, get in the habit of asking yourself these questions, but remember that they will not work in all cases though:

If you wrote there, will the sentence still make sense if you replace it with here? If so, you’re using it correctly.
If you chose their, will the sentence still make sense if you replace it with our? If so, you’ve chosen the correct word.
If you used they’re, will the sentence still make sense if you replace it with they are? If so, you’re on the right track!

Recognize incorrect examples and learn from the mistakes. By looking over others’ work with a critical eye, especially by offering proofreading or copyediting help, you can become more sensitized to correct usage and practice it yourself.

Wrong: Their is no one here.
Wrong: Shelley wants to know if there busy.
Wrong: The dogs are happily chewing on they’re bones.
RIGHT: I can’t believe they’re leaving their children there, alone!

Practice, practice, practice! Get your English teacher or friend to say several sentences aloud that include one of these three words and write down which version they are using. Hire a private English tutor if you’re still having trouble.

lurker

September 13th, 2011
2:28 pm

@jmb that is so sad for your daughter! I sure hope things turn around. Perhaps he should realize that part of her problem might just be HIM! Girls need their dads in their lives!

Gary

September 13th, 2011
2:30 pm

@Southern…THANKS! I love you. My sentiments exactly.

cbomb

September 13th, 2011
2:31 pm

@Sam….I’m not a single Mom by choice . My husband walked out on me when I was pregnant with our second child……..I have yet to even find a man to date that I would want around my kids….. In my case raising children out of marriage is way better than jumping right back into marriage! I really don’t have time to even think about dating. It has been 6 years…..I really think that this could be a great idea for Mom’s in my situation.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 13th, 2011
2:32 pm

Southern – sorry — I know the difference but I typed it fast. I am literally working on about four things at once and have a 4-year old running by for me to open yogurt and check out her drawings. I do know the difference but thanks for the very long explanation!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 13th, 2011
2:33 pm

Guys — read the link and think about the implications to our economy, to the way in which we rear our children. Don’t fixate on the their/they’re that I took 2 seconds to type!! The content is very relevant and interesting. Focus on the big picture!!

cbomb

September 13th, 2011
2:38 pm

@ Southern, can you take a look at my 3rd sentence? ” I have yet to even”…. Maybe I Should’nt have used the word “even” …lol Thanks for being tasteful:)

Southern

September 13th, 2011
2:42 pm

Cbomb, the apostrophe replaces the dropped letter:

Should and Shouldn’t – Use

——————————————————————————–

We use should and shouldn’t to give advice or to talk about what we think is right or wrong.

You should means something like I think it is a good idea for you to do it.

You shouldn’t means something like I think it is a bad idea for you to do it.

Should is used to express the opinion of a speaker and often follows I think or I don’t think.

Sorry Theresa, your topic is important but I love good grammar and spelling.

buckheadgirl

September 13th, 2011
2:43 pm

TWG- please check your grammar… always.

Christina

September 13th, 2011
2:45 pm

Sure it is bad for the “economy”, meaning, where there once were 2 households, there is now one. So yes, the people who own the apartment complexes and the utility companies and the daycare centers are all raking in a little less money. BOO HOO! That is more money a single mom has to put toward saving for a child’s education and spending on private health insurance rather than overloading our government with medicaid claims. I think it is a great idea, if the two families can work it out.

me

September 13th, 2011
2:52 pm

Southern = Laid Off Teach Going Through Withdrawal

Southern

September 13th, 2011
2:54 pm

HaHa me. I’m actually an employed Financial Analyst with good grammar and spelling skills.

Yeah, Southern & buckheadgirl...

September 13th, 2011
2:54 pm

…Theresa are a prowd gradiate of the University of by God Georgia Skule of Jurnalism and is dang prowd of it…she knowed betr but just has two much on her plait…

Southern

September 13th, 2011
2:56 pm

Alright, enough. I’m no grammar bully. Just pointing out a little error.

me

September 13th, 2011
3:00 pm

@ Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

I think its funny that when we do things that are good for us, its painted as being bad for the economy. As people move in together and become more responsible with pooling their resources, cutting costs, paying off debt and saving money, they feel the need to point out that this is what’s holding the economy back. Is it to be assumed that in order to have an economy that’s striving, we as families need to be in a state of debt and financial insecurity?

Oh, and to the grammar police… bite me.

Hey, me...

September 13th, 2011
3:02 pm

…I love it when you talk dirty…you little vixen…

me

September 13th, 2011
3:03 pm

Ahhh… but wait…. what came first, the chicken or the egg?

They say folks are hurting the economy by rooming together but if the economy wasn’t in the toilet, would more people be moving in together?

My brain hurts.

Andrea

September 13th, 2011
3:17 pm

It is a great scenario, but choose very carefully. My mom and I lived w/ her sister and kids until my mom remarried. My aunt used to whip me (beyond spanking) whenever my mom was working. So like I said, choose carefully and set boundaries. Strangers tend to get along better than relatives. Beyond that, financially it makes sense.

jarvis

September 13th, 2011
3:24 pm

The writer of the WSJ article is a fool.

He missed Census Chief David Johnson’s point, and then seems to claim that the young people that are avoiding the poverty line by living with mom and dad are the same individuals not buying new TVs because they can just watch mom and dad’s. There is poor circular logic in that assumption.

john smith

September 13th, 2011
3:25 pm

hi guys im a pregnate woman

Stacey

September 13th, 2011
3:25 pm

I think this could be a great solutions and work well with the right people and circumstances. I have a friend T) who tried this with another friend (M) of hers and it didn’t work out. (I actually side with M in most of the disputes). Since T was buying a house and M was renting, they agreed that M and her two daughters would move in with T and her son (the kids were around the same age and playmates already).

T confided to me that she felt that M should pay more than 1/2 since M had 2 kids. She also felt that M should ask her permission before she or the girls had friends come over but since T was the homeowner, she didn’t owe M the same courtsey. I told T I felt that she got the better end of the arrangement since she & her son had the two biggest bedrooms (M had a bedroom and the girls shared the 4th). Also, T and her son shared a bathroom while M and the girls shared the hall bath with guests. T had night classes two nights a week so M watched her son both nights and got him to and from music lessons one of those nights. M did all of the cooking during the week since she was a better cook. I told her in my opinion, M was her roommate and not her houseguest and was therefore had the same rights. They only lived together a few months and there friendship has never been the same.

of course.....

September 13th, 2011
3:25 pm

great idea! i am a single dad and would gladly share a house with several single moms….hehehe

@me…. good point. of course the folks on wall street and in d.c. these days think it is more important to sacrifice personal well being for the “good of the economy”. back in the good old days saving money was considered a good thing. but now we are expected to spend, spend, spend for the good of the economy…or in reality the good of a few overly paid executives and politicians.

jane doe

September 13th, 2011
3:26 pm

fail blog…. booob\

jane doe

September 13th, 2011
3:26 pm

bbbbbbooooooooooooooooooooooobbbbbbbbbbbbs

markie mark

September 13th, 2011
3:28 pm

Southern, you need to hang around Rodney Ho’s blog……badly…..he needs you…..

JJ

September 13th, 2011
3:30 pm

Where are the single Dad’s living?

Bella

September 13th, 2011
3:34 pm

I think this will just lead to a more screwed up society. Some people keep putting their children’s emotional needs dead last and this is just the latest example. Bets are the lesbian community is grinning ear to ear. that might lead to a new lifestyle for woman who hate men!

Hey, JJ...

September 13th, 2011
3:41 pm

…with their baby mamas…

And, Stacey, couldn’t you have labeled your friends as T & A….

MM

September 13th, 2011
3:51 pm

All the baby mammas will live together, save money, help each other out, raise their children together, etc.

All the baby daddies will live alone, savings tons of money because they don’t pay child support, and will continue to make more baby mommas (single moms)…….

jarvis

September 13th, 2011
3:52 pm

Rodney wears a “dress hat”. Some of the women on here said they think it’s a good look.

jarvis

September 13th, 2011
3:55 pm

As long as we’re talking about the various other blog writers, I have a crush on Lauren Davidson. Thrifty and cute…what’s not to like?

Techmom

September 13th, 2011
4:05 pm

We lived with friends when I was a kid temporarily. My parents had a nasty split and dad was a deadbeat so the only way we could live was to room with someone else. I was 5 and my brother was 7 and the other kids were 6 & 8 so close enough to play with but seriously, have you ever been in a house with 4 kids ages 5-8? Good lord it was a zoo. The hardest part was that the ‘friend’ and her kids were slobs (as in disgusting slobs who never did laundry or dishes). Took my mom about 8 months to save up enough money for a deposit and rent on an apartment. Even at that age I was happy to be out of there. Surprisingly enough my mom and this lady have remained friends over the years. I can’t imagine it working long term. I just think someone is going to feel taken advantage of at some point (i.e. Stacey’s story above).

As for the effect on the economy; I can’t imagine these people are making the economy that much worse. Perhaps they’re paying off debt and getting into a better situation so they can actually help the economy improve later. But spending money you don’t have now is not going to help our economy in the long run. If it means being fiscally responsible by sacrificing living space and privacy while you get your act together, then that is a good thing in my book.

Kay

September 13th, 2011
4:33 pm

Funny enough, I recently separated from my husband and my sister (with no kids) and I (with twins) decided to move in together. Although, my sister doesn’t have any kids of her own, my children are her family and she has been so much help. Now, my soon-to-be ex husband is still very involved in our children’s lives so I also have his help but there is a difference with him being outside of the same house.

I believe that I’m able to do this because this is my sister. And my sister and I were roommates before marriage and kids, besides the fact that we have always lived together, of course so I don’t know if my situation is considered the same concept. But so far so good.

catlady

September 13th, 2011
5:48 pm

Don’t have a sister; can’t speak about how it would work. I know I would have a hard time finding someone I agree enough with on morals and discipline to make it work with a stranger (male or female).

amateur economist

September 13th, 2011
9:18 pm

how exactly does the WSJ think that people living below the poverty line are going to fuel housing growth if they can’t afford to buy houses? Why should people be extending their credit to buy TVs just to fuel the economy? The moms who are figuring out how to share expenses and chores are smart. The main fuel behind the economic expansion between the 50s and the 90s was the rise of the dual-income household. That’s the way that Americans keep their heads above water. To blame single mothers, many of whom are below the poverty level, for engaging in this behavior is just typical of the WSJ, and bad economics.

Jack

September 13th, 2011
9:42 pm

I’ll never understand why single young women want to bring a child into a world of grief.