Monday, April 11, 2011

Co-Hab Project: Week One


I hardly know where to begin.

Things are humming along in my corner of the world, sometimes with a few more RPMs than I can handle. All in all though, I am feeling most excellent about our days here in our new abode with the Bears.

I will try to get blogging more often, because every day is an adventure around here and there is a lot going on. How could there not be, with no fewer than 6 young, active boys running around all day, 3 (sometimes 4) dogs, 2 cats, 2 vibrant mamas, 1 Dad working (mostly) onsite and 1 Dad in and out at odd hours. Throw in a perpetually evolving full slate of projects and a near-constant stream of visiting friends, and you might begin to form an idea of life in La Casa de los Osos. My dear friend Mo is a blogger too, so you can read about some of our shenanigans over at Five Bears A-Blogging.

Our first week of co-hab went very well indeed. Our families mesh amazingly well, and even the dogs (because I had to bring our Gypsy with us) settled in together with very little fuss. Household rules and schedules, chores and study time are being assimilated pretty well. I only have a couple laundry baskets' worth of stuff left to unpack. The kids are delighting in a greater freedom, which I can afford to allow because there are other responsible eyes helping me keep watch. And I have had to adjust quite a bit to accommodate this newfound sensation of having other adults (and older kids) to help me accomplish everything that needs to get done in a day. It's pretty damn wonderful, actually.

This week has been a week of finding rhythms, of learning our place in a larger system and how best to work together for mutual benefit. It's an exercise that our small nuclear families often never get the opportunity to fully engage, and one that I think is extremely valuable. It's also eminently sensible: I continue to be amazed at how much I can get accomplished with the simple addition of a few more responsible caretakers who can help carry the load. With other folks around to answer questions, take care of Babyman's needs, keep an eye on creative activities, help with chores, help keep kids on task, and stay home if I need to run an errand, my days run SO much more smoothly than before. When I think about all the things that the other adults and the older kids are helping with, and consider that I used to do all those things by myself, I am impressed that I ever accomplished anything at home before.

Now, this doesn't mean I have turned into Supermom, nor did I accomplish everything I set out to do last week. But there have been many, many times that I completed a task and looked around with a strong sense that I was forgetting something. . . only to realize that I hadn't forgotten it, it had simply been taken care of by someone else. Thus I was free to move on to the next task, whether it be mopping the kitchen, reading out loud to the kids or baking some cookies for bedtime snack.

In addition to my new ability to accomplish things, I am thrilled with the effect this has had on my kids' daily activities. They are engaging in very creative projects, and playing outdoors a lot. It's the sort of thing I couldn't afford to allow before, because there simply wasn't enough of me to keep an eye on things and still keep our days moving forward. I love that every time I give the boys a bath they are filthy. They've been doing things. It's great.

So, I officially declare our first week to be a success. I could definitely get used to this co-hab thing. It may not be for everyone, but if you can hit on the right chemistry of folks it's a divine way of raising families.


Michelle Roebuck said...

How most extraordinarily EXCELLENT! Sounds like you've been gifted with a lovely growth opportunity that will have a rich, lasting impact on both of your families.

Now we just have to sneak in some time to do some visiting ourselves, whatever the venue might be!

Grace said...

Glad its going well! (Of course, I had no doubts!). See you soon.

Five Bears A-Blogging said...

I have to agree that, at least in our case, two Moms are better than one! I never would have gotten (1/2) the garden dug in and planted without you! <3