housemates + newborn = ?

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dorkorama

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housemates + newborn = ?

Post by dorkorama » Mon Jul 16, 18:01 2018

Anyone here have roommates when they had a baby or know someone who did? What worked and didn't work? What surprised you about co-living and sharing space with non-parents?

Some background: My partner and I have had roommates since, well, forever. It's a lifestyle choice we intend to continue because we feel the numerous benefits outweigh most of the challenges that living with others present given good relationships with the people we live with. And hey, it has worked out absolutely beautifully so far and enriched our relationship a great deal. And now that we own our house, it helps us feel safer and more free financially. We believe it takes a village to raise a child, and sharing our living space is a great form of community. But I definitely have some concerns about having a baby in a household of ~6 and this being a very, very precious time in our lives. I don't want to look back with any frustration with others' habits or worries/anxieties about the baby crying, etc. It's not the traditional choice that most new parents take so we are totally winging it.

All our current housemates have expressed being excited about co-living as we start this new adventure in our lives, but any advice or stories you have would be much-appreciated!

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Sonic#
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Re: housemates + newborn = ?

Post by Sonic# » Tue Jul 17, 8:37 2018

As someone with a two month old who has had to worry about temporary couchmates and people in downstairs apartments, I'll only emphasize how much space babies can take up.

BabySonic has a room of stuff: a changing table, a rocker, a playmat, a place for the stroller, a crib, and other supplies. BabySonic also has a corner of our room (bassinet), a corner of the living room (rocker/swing), and a foothold in the bathroom (bath stuff). We had to get a storage unit to offset the space issues, and we're soon moving into a larger place (and paying a fair bit more for it) just to accommodate all the stuff. And this is before the kid is really old enough for tons of toys and books and other bric-a-brac.

Yes, BabySonic cries and fusses and we have to keep odd hours to be up with him, but I'd imagine the stuff to be a bigger issue, especially if roommates have expectations about cleanliness or clutter.

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octarineoboe
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Re: housemates + newborn = ?

Post by octarineoboe » Wed Jul 18, 12:31 2018

HOLY BURIED LEDE BATMAN

I admit I haven’t been around here a ton lately but I didn’t know babySonic had arrived! Congrats!!!!

Alas I don’t have any actual advice. My college besties (a married couple) and I fantasize about sharing a house, and they are actively trying to have kids, so we talked about that possibility a little bit, but right now we live in different cities and they don’t have a kid yet so it’s all speculation. But I think it could probably work - as the prospective non-parent I would want to make sure I had my own kid-free space in the house and we were really clear about responsibilities ahead of time, eg, I’m a roommate not an all-purpose babysitter, how will this affect the split of other housework, etc.

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melsbells
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Re: housemates + newborn = ?

Post by melsbells » Thu Aug 2, 5:57 2018

I live with my in-laws, and while there will certainly be a lot of differences from your situation, maybe there's enough similarities that my experience could be useful to you. I think the biggest thing is that everyone has their own space. Our house is sort of divided in two, so we can take the kid to our end during a tantrum. I think that distance helps, not just with in-laws not wanting to hear screaming, but as a sort of physical signal for the kid to calm down. We lived in an apartment when the kid was first born and our neighbors there probably heard more screaming/crying due to proximity.

My father-in-law spends a lot of time with the kid, mostly by choice. I sometimes wish we had more of a schedule, because at the moment, naps and bedtime are the only semi-guaranteed breaks for anyone. My spouse and father-in-law both work from home free-lance, so they don't actually have a schedule for when they need to be left alone, but at least my father-in-law has more warning with jobs scheduled out in advance.

There are also some things in the house that I don't want my kid exposed to too much, and that's been harder for me and spouse to manage. One is the amount of swearing picked up from the aforementioned father-in-law. Another is some of the television my mother-in-law watches. Sometimes it's the content, like when a character was shot in the head and then we had to figure out what the kid saw, what he thought happened, and talk him through that, or it's just so insipid that answering questions about it is impossible. More often it's the timing, like during mealtimes, which can take far too long without such a demanding distraction.

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