In a world where everyone has their own phone, own car, own toys and independent everything, I'm making my children share a bedroom.
I was hanging out at my yoga studio recently, talking mom talk with the other ladies who take the 9:30am class (seriously, there isn't a man in sight at that time). One of the moms I chat with regularly was complaining about how her 5 year old now wants her own cell phone for her birthday, since her sister, who was just slightly older at 7 years old, recently had gotten one. The mom was actually going to ATT after class to pick it up for her young child. I was shocked. Not only is that insanely young to "own" such an expensive piece of technology (iPhones are nearly a grand!) but that the mom felt like what the older one had, the younger one "needed" too, just to keep jealousy at bay. This, my friends, is part of the reason my children are sharing a bedroom.
Doesn't make sense yet? Hold on. It will.
We have a decent sized home in Dallas. This is Texas, after all - we do things big here! We've got plenty of bedrooms to have each of our kids have their own. But when we found out we were having another boy, I knew instantly that I wanted my kids to share their nursery. My husband thought I was crazy. "We have plenty of bedrooms! Why wouldn't they have their own rooms?!" He asked.
Call me crazy. But I remembered when my sister and I shared a room growing up. We had bunk beds and made a fort out of it, regularly playing that we were lost at sea and the bunks were our ship. I had the bottom bunk, and we'd drape a large blanket around it so it was like a private room. Or, sauna. The bunks were up against a heat vent, and wrapping a blanket around my bunk created a sweat-lodge-like effect.
|I don't think I've shared a single pic of our boys' double nursery! Here it is :)|
There was a time when we didn't have to share a room, too. I was really young - in first and second grade. My sister had a double sized bed in her room. Every night, I mean every. single. night, I would cry and beg her to let me sleep with her! I wanted nothing to do with sleeping in a dark, scary room by myself. Every night, she would tell me no. Nope. No way! And when I hung my head in defeat, she'd change her mind at the last minute and scoot over for me to join her in bed. I think she just liked having all the power. It was cool. I got much bigger much more quickly than she did, so I took that power back reeeeeal quick!
I could reminisce all day, but what I'm trying to say is that by sharing a room, my sister and I learned how to have a relationship together. We learned how to play. We learned how to fight (I'm still sorry about the time I punched her in her face for the remote control, catapulting her into instant, pitiful tears!) We learned how to share, and we learned how to take turns. One of the biggest treats growing up was who got to ride in the front seat of the car. My sister and I had that down! We simply took turns. Every other trip the other sister got it. There was never a single fight about it - we had worked out our system! How many parents can say that of their children these days?!
*I realize 7 year olds no longer sit in the front, but are regaled to car seats and boosters until they're about 18 years old*
|Only one changing station necessary in a shared bedroom!|
I don't want my children thinking that whatever the other one has, he can - nay, SHOULD - have too. That sense of entitlement disgusts me, and it's very much learned as opposed to part of one's nature. Guess what Otto, you're younger than Henry, so Henry will get to do things and have things before you. That's how it goes. That's life. I don't care if you don't think it's fair. What's fair has nothing to do with who "deserves" what, and who deserves what has nothing to do with who's earned what. The earlier my kids learn this, the better off they'll be.
Will having my children share a room make them great people? Will it teach them every life lesson they need to learn so they can be wonderful adults? Will it mean that they'll fight less and love more? No. But it will help them to learn to share. It will teach them that just because we have a house big enough for everyone to have their own room, it's still nice to be together. It might teach them that just because something CAN happen doesn't mean that it WILL. Just because I CAN buy them their own iPhones doesn't mean that I WILL. Because I wont. I want to foster a sense of togetherness that's inclusive, not separate exclusiveness. That's why my children share a bedroom.