Julie Cole: The Baby Machine


Sibling Room Sharing

A Parent’s Dream or Nightmare?

When we were looking to buy a bigger house two years ago, there were a few things that topped the “requirement” list—a big mudroom, green space behind the house, a court and an eating area that we could fit in. Many were surprised that “more bedrooms” did not make the list. The conversation came up again recently when I mentioned on Facebook that Cousin Matthew was staying in the spare room of our house for a few weeks. Spare room? Six kids and four bedrooms—how could there possibly be a spare room? Well, there is!

My love of kiddo room-sharing goes back to the days when my parents also had an empty bedroom because my sisters and I all bunked in together. No one wanted to miss out on the late-night giggles and sleepy chats in the dark. The first time I had my own bedroom was when I was 20 years old and in second year university. 

My kids began their room-sharing early. My daughter was 4 months old when she moved in with big brother, who’s 15 months older. We have spent the better part of the last 12 years with two cribs in our house, regularly with both in one room.

The room-sharing benefits are many—those late-night giggles and chats, hearing the big kids read to the little ones ‘til they’re asleep, knowing each has someone close by to provide protection from the boogeyman or next zombie apocalypse. I also like that it forces us to be efficient with space. If I went crazy buying kiddo clothes, we’d be featured on the next episode of “Hoarders.”

Some people think kids need a lot of privacy, but I’m not exactly sure what for. There are plenty of places one can go to be alone and have quiet time. Perhaps I’ll get more requests for solo bedroom space as they get older, but I’m not banking on it. With Cousin Matthew staying in the spare room, each kid was taking turns bunking in with him. Two of them anxiously awaited their turn and then bailed after five minutes to go back to their own rooms, claiming “homesickness” for their regular sibling companions.

But don’t think that room-sharing is all the land of milk and honey. There are some shenanigans that can drive a mama wild. For me, having to deal with these is a small trade-off.

What are your thoughts on room-sharing? Have you given it a try yet? Has it been a dream or an absolute nightmare?