“We’re not dependent in an unhealthy way. We’re interdependent.”
Holly Harper and Herrin Hopper always joked that one day they’d live together on a commune in Vermont, letting their spouses visit periodically. Yet after they both got divorced, the joke began to look like the next great idea, according to TODAY.
Honestly, the cost of living alone in a city like Washington D.C meant the two women would have to incur atrocious expenses, especially in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic but if they decided to live together, they could split costs.
"Holly and I said, 'Why not do this?'" Hopper recalled in an interview. "Within a weekend we found this house."
Soon, the two single moms found another two women, and they all moved into the four-unit house, sharing the ups and downs of life, along with raising their children together. While it's not really conventional, nor a traditional extended family living, the women say it's something pretty special.
"There is almost a spiritual safety net every day here," Hopper said. "I could be my worst self, I could be my best self, and they see me for who I am, and it's OK."
Harper, who was someone who always followed traditional rules in life, got the opportunity to start life afresh, with her friends, around the time she got divorced. Also, she'd recently turned 40 and her dad had died.
"Just like my life was burned to the ground," she recalled feeling. "I could turn to Herrin and say, 'I literally have nothing left. Let’s just do this.'" Well, after she moved in with her friend, she said she's realized that "You can do whatever you want. Burn the rulebook of life and just look at it differently."
Sure, it's not like they don't have their fair share of bad days. “We don’t know whose socks are whose ... socks everywhere,” Hopper said. “iPads, dishes, cups. There’s a lot of exchanging that occurs. Usually not planned.” But, by living together, their kids, ages 9 through 14, have built-in friends. They have a cousin-like relationship with each other, Harper said.
"There’s always someone to play a game with,” for the kids, Harper said. “It’s just the most fun.”
Also, the fact that there are other adults in the house to take care of their kids even if they are away, offers these single moms a sense of freedom and independence. On a practical level, they have regular “homeowners meetings” where they discuss issues like roof repair and yard work expenses, often over a bottle of champagne.
“We’re definitely like sisters, and the kids are more like our nieces and nephews,” Harper said to The Washington Post. “We’re not dependent in an unhealthy way. We’re interdependent.”
Of course, their magical home has a name; "Siren House." It is named after the mythical creatures known to lure sailors to their deaths with beautiful songs. Now that their experiment has become a success, they receive questions all the time from single moms who want a similar co-housing arrangement. These single moms now hope to expand the concept to other moms.
"Siren is a form of sort of feminist power, right?" Hopper said. "We’re building a community, we sort of have the siren song so we bring people together."
Cover Image Source: YouTube | TODAY (How These Single Moms Banded Together To Share Costs, Raise Kids)