The living arrangement sees them share chores, expenses and even help each other with duties such as babysitting and dog-walking.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 18, 2022. It has since been updated.
It is understandable that humans build their lives around their partners, but it is also a lost opportunity to not live with our best friends. Of course, there are a lucky few whose partners also happen to be their best friends, but it's a fair assessment to say they are in a minority. Buying a home, which was once a middle-class aspiration, is now more of a distant dream for the majority of people. Setting an example to many, four women have joined hands to buy a home in an urban area in Washington DC, reported TODAY. They are now reimagining the core concepts our society is built on—family and child-rearing. People have built families, had children, and invested in assets with their partners, and now four women are showing that maybe it's not such a bad idea to rework how we view these concepts to find happiness, especially if one's current living situation is not working out.
Holly Harper and Herrin Hopper had always joked about living together in Vermont. It was a fanciful dream. They were good friends and enjoyed each other's company but of course, they were both married. After they both got divorced, they took the joke a little more seriously. They wondered, "Why not?" They joined hands with two other single women, Jen and Leandra, and bought a four-unit home. "Within a weekend we found this house," they said.
With their resources pooled in, they live a life of comfort that extends to their children, with various amenities that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. They have also been able to save money as a result of their shared expenses. “We've unlocked the power of sharing, and our baseline expenses decreased, allowing us to experience abundance,” wrote Harper for Insider. “This living arrangement is a kid's paradise, complete with a giant trampoline, a parkour line, a garden, a gym, a big-screen TV, and a craft studio,” Harper wrote. “Our kids—who can use the buddy system for a walk to get gelato, and who have playmates during the quarantine and homeschool months—are thriving.”
The children of the women, aged 9-14 years, are now experiencing a whole new perspective on what constitutes a family. They view each other as cousins. It also sheds light on dating, marriage, divorce, sexual orientation and the importance of seeking out happiness, even if it may fall outside of the core tenets of society such as marriage and a family. Having a group of children at home to play with is always a win and not to mention they have a 15-foot trampoline, parkour slackline, hammocks, sleds, and an inflatable pool in the summer. It feels like permanent summer camp to them.
Having four people to share not just expenses but other duties such as babysitting and dog-walking are helping them manage their time and resources better. Harper notes that she saves roughly $30,000 a year as a result. “We don’t know whose socks are whose ... socks everywhere,” said Harper. “iPads, dishes, cups. There’s a lot of exchanging that occurs. Usually not planned.” They also have regular homeowners' meetings to plan their week and discuss repairs and yard work and it always happens over a bottle of champagne. A huge relief for all of them is that they live with women, which sees so many of the responsibilities in a home being shared.
One thing that they cherish more than anything is safety and happiness. "There is almost a spiritual safety net every day here," said Harper. "I could be my worst self, I could be my best self, and they see me for who I am, and it's OK." The idea is to always pursue their happiest selves. “The goal of life is not to reach some plane of happiness but to create an environment where we are safe to pursue happiness in every moment,” wrote Harper. The "pursuit of happiness" is a right written into the U.S. Constitution and it might not be the worst idea, even it means abandoning society's age-old concepts of marriage, partnership and family.