A number of months ago, I mentioned online that our three kids share a bedroom. A lot of people were shocked, surprised, or even bothered by our decision to have all three of our kids in the same bedroom.
I personally was surprised at how many people said the picture made them feel so much better. Many people wrote in and told me that they had no idea that our house wasn’t huge and spacious and perfect. They said that seeing that picture helped them to realize that just because we do have a really spacious kitchen and living area, that doesn’t mean that our entire house is huge and perfect!
Let me be clear: We do have a great rental house — it does have a great kitchen, it has a wonderful backyard, it’s in a really convenient location, and our rent is very low for this area.
Compared to many places we’ve lived, this is a really nice house. But it pales in comparison to our previous house. The floor plan is not set up well for our family, it doesn’t have a basement, it’s not conducive for hosting big groups, and we’ve had leaks and termites and A/C problems and ear wigs and a host of other issues while living here.
We rented this house sight unseen because we were living in Kansas when it was available and there was no way we could make it to TN to check it out with Jesse’s work schedule. Plus, it just didn’t feel like a wise use of time or money to drive or fly out to check out a house before we signed a contract on it.
So we asked some of our TN friends if they’d go look at it for us and make sure they felt it was okay to rent. They graciously agreed to do a walk-through and sent us a video tour of it and said they thought it would be good to rent.
We talked to the landlords at length, did as much research and investigation as we could from afar, and both felt this was the house we should go with. So we signed a two-year lease on it, because that was what the landlords were offering.
It was a little crazy to pull up to the house the day we moved and see the area and neighborhood and house for the very first time knowing that we’d signed a contract to live here for two years!
Many people have suggested that we should have purchase a house here when we moved instead of renting. We only briefly considered that option, but we knew that it wasn’t a good option for us for a few different reasons.
1) Housing prices are MUCH higher here — so there was no way we could afford to pay cash for a house at the time.
2) We didn’t want to mess with having to try to sell our house + find a new house + pack up everything and move our family across the country all at the time same.
3) We didn’t know if we were even going to stay in TN long-term.
So we decided renting was our best option — and it’s been a great option for us, despite the drawbacks of the current home we’re in.
One of the biggest drawbacks is that, due to the limited bedroom space, all three kids are in one bedroom. Some people would say we are terrible parents for living in a house where they all have to share a room and don’t have a lot of their “own space”.
Honestly, even though they are 11, 9, and 7, we see so many blessings and benefits for the three of them sharing a bedroom. Here are 3 of those blessings and benefits:
1. It Helps Them Learn to Get Along With Each Other
I grew up in a family of 9 and I remember my mom always telling me that if we can learn to get along with our siblings, we could probably get along with just about anyone. We like to remind our kids that sharing a bedroom with two other people who are very different than you is a valuable life skill!
You get to learn how to be gracious when other people are “in your space”, you get to learn how to keep your area more clean, you get to learn to work together to keep the room clean, and you learn to share your space well with others.
(And honestly, most of the time, they really love being together. Last night, they were all in their room talking and laughing together for at least 30-45 minutes before they fell asleep. It’s not always like that and there is plenty of arguing that goes on, too, but I think they actually do really enjoy the closeness that sharing a room provides!)
2. It Teaches Them Contentment
When Jesse and I were first married, we lived in a basement apartment. Our budget was very tight and we did everything we could to stay out of debt. Those sacrifices are — in big part — what has allowed us to be where we are today.
But here’s the truth: Our kids were little when we made a lot of financial and personal sacrifices to get to the place where we are now. They don’t remember those days.
We want our kids to have the same opportunity we had to learn that happiness is not based upon where you live, the car you drive, or the room you have. You can be content no matter what because contentment isn’t based upon your circumstances, it’s a state of your heart.
3. It Helps to Prevent an Entitlement Mentality
We now have a lot more wiggle room in our budget than we had 10 years ago when the kids were little (or not even born yet!) They get to enjoy things we never imagined we’d be able to afford for them — like swim team and figure skating and even an international trip to South Africa. However, we don’t want them to grow up thinking that everything will be handed to them. We want them to experience short-term sacrifices for long-term benefits.
One simple way we’re teaching them this is through having them share a room right now. We don’t want them to grow up thinking that they can just get whatever they want without having to work for it, save for it, and/or make sacrifices for it.
So we’ve chosen to continue to rent a house that has less than ideal sleeping arrangements (along with a long list of other “less than ideal” things) because it is not only teaching us all good lessons, but it’s allowing us to be able to save more aggressively and give more generously.
By the end of this year, our goal is to have saved enough to pay cash for a house here in TN and we would like to buy a house that has enough space for them to each have their own room (especially since they are getting older), but in the mean time, we’re learning contentment in the house that we’re in and are choosing to be grateful for the many things about it that we love — like the wonderful neighbors, a beautiful kitchen, and a great backyard.
Our hope is that these lessons in contentment will be something our kids will carry with them for the rest of their lives — no matter where they live.
Please note: Do what is best for your family and please be careful if you are putting boys and girls in the same room. This is something we have seriously considered and it is the reason we are planning to move in the next year. We know that these types of sleeping arrangements will not work long-term — especially as our children reach pre-teen age.
However, we have strict modesty rules at our house (Such as: Never change in front of another person. Bathrooms are for changing in, not bedrooms. Always knock on a closed door. Always leave the door open when you are in the room playing with another child. Etc.) and our children have always been very respectful of each other’s privacy and respectful of our modesty rules. I think it’s important to have these types of rules and precautions in place no matter what the sleeping arrangements are at your house.
Ultimately, when it comes to sleeping arrangements, you know your own children and what would best best in your own family. As I always say, it’s so important to do what is best for your own family and your own children!