Two Peas in a Pod

Posted June 16th, 2009 by Jonathan and filed in Issue 7: Living with other people
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Ok…more like two kids in a room, but more on that later.

It’s funny how the human mind can adapt and acclimatize to surroundings. I grew up in a 600 sq ft house as an only child. 3 people in a house this size divided to 200 sq ft per person. My college years were spent in a 300 sq ft apartment. Upon getting married, my wife and I moved into an 800 sq ft apartment (i.e 400 sq ft per person). We currently live in an 1120 sq ft house with our daughter (373 sq ft per person).

What will we do with our soon-to-arrive second child?!?!?! Over the past few months, we often found ourselves asking this question. One day we finally stepped back and really realized how absurd we were being. We both looked at each other slightly puzzled and simultaneously wondered aloud why the two kids shouldn’t share a room.

WHAT A NOVEL IDEA!!!

For some reason, the though of having kids share a room never seemed to enter our minds. We did have a 3 bedroom house, after all. Why shouldn’t each child have his/her own space? I think part of the problem was that I am an only child and my wife is the oldest child with the next oldest being a boy – NEITHER OF US EVER SHARED A ROOM!!! We knew tons of people who had, however, and they all turned out just fine. In fact, when we were children, my wife and I were the exception, not the rule.

Despite having three bedrooms, which would allow each child to have his/her own space, our hang-up was with the fact that the three bedrooms were on different floors and we wanted our kids close to us (reasoning here and here). The decrease in sq ft per person was never really the issue (even though each of us would now have a ‘despicable and lowly’ 280 sq ft, which is still more then I enjoyed as a kid!).

I think that as families begin to consider downsizing, “taking a step backward can really be a step forward” (Dervaes). Rather than following the typical American trend of upsizing with every life change (i.e. every 7 years on average), families might look back a few decades to the circumstances of their childhoods and even their parents’ childhoods.

The bedroom, even for parents, was not the size of another living space. It served the function of its name – to hold a bed for sleeping. With families nowadays often finishing basements and creating ‘outdoor living spaces,’ why is the thought of a downsized sleeping area so absurd?

My wife and I certainly feel as though we have had an epiphany (even though it was really a remembrance of times past.) Having children share bedrooms is not a terrible thing – it might even bring families closer together in this time of ‘social distancing.’

3 Responses to “Two Peas in a Pod”

  1. Jessica LucasNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you! We have almost the EXACT same situation (1100 sq ft, two small girls, two bedrooms on one floor, the third on the first). We did feel lucky that our second child was the same gender because now they can share a room until they move out.

    We are actually in the process of designing a small addition (raising the roof to get more useable space). We only have one bathroom on the first floor and it is becoming a problem. We purposely decided on a small but well designed room for our girls to share. They will each have a built in twin bed and a small closet of their own.

    I did not share a room but I do not feel this gave me any advantage. In fact, I think my lukewarm relationship with my sisters as an adult may have something to do with the fact we never shared anything as children. I want my girls to be close. So therefore they will share a room.

  2. NYC kidNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you. It amazes me how many middle-class people think it is child abuse for kids to share a room. I grew up in NYC and many kids shared a room or had half a small room with a bookshelf down the middle, or slept on Murphy beds in the living room. I’m a girl and shared a room with my brother for several years as small children. We all turned out just fine. Little kids do not need their own room.

  3. David O'KeefeNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for this writing!
    I am 24 now and I have a brother a year younger than me, we fought like cats and dogs. We lived in the same situation, 3 bedroom house. For most of our childhood we had our own rooms. At one point we shared rooms, and the coolest part was the bunk beds! We fought, but much less than when we had our own rooms, and I was never bored. That’s the time I remember, not when we had separate rooms.

    It sounds like you have a good idea.