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.’