Holly Harper and Herrin Hopper have been making a running joke about building a ‘mom commune’ in Vermont and inviting their husbands to visit.
In retrospect, the idea didn’t seem so crazy after they divorced and faced the high costs of living in Washington, D.C., along with the COVID-19 outbreak.
“‘Why not try it?’’’ Holly and I said.” Harper recalled something.
After locating the four-unit house in a weekend, they named it “Siren House,” after the fabled creatures who live beneath the sea’s surface.
Jen and Leandra, two more 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. Although it’s not a commune or extended family, 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 as I am,” Hopper observed.
Although Harper has never been one to take the path less travelled, the opportunity to live with her buddy came at a crucial time in her life. Her marriage had just ended, she had just turned 40, and her father had suddenly p.a.s.s.e.d a.w.a.y.
She recounted, “Just like my life was burned to the ground. Herrin could look at me in the eyes and tell me, ‘I have nothing left’. Let’s end this now.
Since they began communal living, Harper has found something quite liberating: “You can do what you want.”. Let go of the rules of life and try a different approach.
Thanks to the co-housing arrangement, the family has been able to save money each month and even live beyond their means. Women share food, cars, babysitting responsibilities, dog walking, and hugs. Harper claims co-living saves her $30,000 annually.
The Siren House is larger and more affordable than Harper’s previous residence. After her divorce, she rented a 750 square foot one-bedroom apartment for 18 months. At the time, her rent, parking, and utilities amounted to $2,550 per month.
A house with multiple occupants might get dirty at times, despite the fact that they have a lot of fun.
“We don’t know whose socks are whose… socks all over the place,” Hopper concluded. “IPads, dishes, and cups,” the narrator says. There is a lot of swapping going on. “It’s not normally planned.”
Children ranging in age from 9 to 14 have become friends and formed a close relationship. Their Siren House is a children’s paradise, complete with a parkour slackline, a garden, a gym, a trampoline, a big screen TV, a creative studio, and, in the summer, an inflatable pool.
Co-living has provided single moms with an additional level of independence. When a parent needs to leave the house, they can do so in confidence, knowing that other people in the house will take care of their children.
Mothers hold frequent “homeowners meetings” to discuss issues such as yard bills, roof repairs, and the like. They usually do it over a bottle of champagne to make it more enjoyable.
The four ladies have received numerous inquiries from single parents who are interested in co-housing. They hope to spread the word to others in the same boat.
Does Siren represent some kind of feminist power?” Hopper remarked. We’re creating a community; there’s a sort of siren song that draws people together.”
This home isn’t perfect, but it provides the best opportunity for these four families to experience the true joys of life.
According to Harper, “The purpose of life is to create an environment where we can pursue happiness at every moment, not to reach some level of happiness.”