Holly Harper and Herrin Hopper have been making a running joke about building a ‘mom commune’ (buying a home and living together) in Vermont and allowing their husbands to come on a regular basis.
However, after they divorced and were confronted with the high costs of living in Washington, D.C., as well as the COVID-19 outbreak, the idea didn’t seem so crazy.
“‘Why not do this?’ Holly and I said.” Harper recalled something.
They located a four-unit house in a weekend and christened it the “Siren House,” after the fabled animals who live beneath the sea’s surface.
Jen and Leandra, two additional single women, were introduced to the two single mothers, and the three of them bought the house and moved in together, sharing everything and raising their children together. It’s neither a commune nor an extended family living situation, yet it’s worked out well for everyone.
“Every day here is almost like a spiritual safety net.” “I can be my worst self or my finest self, and they will accept me for who I am,” Hopper remarked.
Harper has never been one to stray from the path less traveled, but the opportunity to live with her buddy came at a crucial juncture in her life. Her marriage had just ended, she’d turned 40, and her father had suddenly passed away.
She recounted, “Just like my life was burned to the ground. I could look Herrin in the eyes and tell him, ‘I literally have nothing left. Let’s just get this over with.’”
Harper has found something quite liberating when they began communal living: “You can do whatever you want. Burn the rulebook of life and look at it from a different perspective.”
The family have been able to save money each month and even live beyond their means thanks to the co-housing arrangement. Food, cars, babysitting responsibilities, dog walking, and hugs are all shared among the women. Harper claims that co-living saves her $30,000 a year.
The Siren House is even larger and more affordable than Harper’s previous residence. She rented a 750 square foot one-bedroom apartment for 18 months after her divorce. Her rent, parking, and utilities totaled $2,550 per month at the time.
Having multiple people in a house might get dirty at times, despite the fact that they have a lot of fun.
“We have no idea whose socks are whose… socks all over the place,” Hopper added. “IPads, dishes, and cups,” says the narrator. There is a great deal of swapping going on. “It’s not usually planned.”
The children, who range in age from 9 to 14, have become friends and have created a cousin-like bond. They enjoy living in a Siren House because it is a children’s paradise, with a parkour slackline, a garden, a gym, a 15-foot trampoline, a big-screen TV, a creative studio, and, in the summer, an inflatable pool.
Co-living has provided single moms an additional level of independence. If a parent needs to leave the house, they can do so with confidence, knowing that other people in the house would care for their children.
The moms hold frequent “homeowners meetings” to discuss concerns such as yard bills, roof repair, and the like in order to maintain everything in order. They typically do it over a bottle of champagne to make it more enjoyable.
Many single parents who wish to try a similar co-housing arrangement have contacted them with questions, and the four ladies simply hope to spread the word to others who are in a similar situation.
“Doesn’t Siren represent some kind of feminist power?” Hopper remarked. “We’re forming a community; we have a sort of siren song that draws people together.”
Their home isn’t perfect, but it provides the best opportunity for these four families to enjoy the true joys of life.
“The objective of life is to create an atmosphere where we can pursue happiness in every moment, not to reach some level of happiness,” Harper wrote.