March 30, 2017 Jameela 0Comment

Right now, I am sitting in my kitchen writing this post. The children are sleeping and I am the only adult in the house. I AM THE ONLY ADULT IN THE HOUSE. This is a rare occurrence. My husband has gone out, my sister is somewhere unknown, and of course, my mom is in Jamaica.

I now see how people with little or no family in the city feel. Normally, my husband and I could go out on the same night because we had babysitting (mom!). Tonight was different. There was an event I wanted to go to, but because no one was around to look at the kids I was forced to stay home!

Yeah, yeah, boo-hoo Jameela, but seriously, how do people do it?! I wonder how people raise kids when they are the only two adults in the city or their closest family is a 20 minute drive away. A couple would have to get a babysitter, just to go out together! That sucks.

Family First – Multi Generational Housing

I think that one of the issues is this obsession in this culture of single family homes. Who said it was a good idea to mass produce single family homes? I would argue that single family housing is bad for the family. I’m not going to write an essay on this topic, since this is a blog, and no one really wants to read more than 500 words in 2017. Also, I want to get to eating my pie and drinking my hot chocolate.

I will highlight in nice, neat bullet form why I think single family housing sucks and why multi-family homes are best when raising kids (or getting old).

Oh and by multi-family housing, I am not talking about some large apartment complex where you live with strangers. I am talking about a property or building that houses many members of the same family in separate dwellings. Think Laneway housing or basement apartments for the family.

  1. Cost
    • The cost of living in a single family home is horrendous. You bear the ENTIRE burden of the cost of the home: property tax, heating, waste and recycling. I could go on. If our entire family lived in a fourplex, or a house with a legal basement suite, then we could share the cost of living. I could easily save $300 dollars a month. Imagine how many kinder surprise eggs, dance classes, or new clothes I could get with that extra money :p
  2. Child Care / Elder Care
    • Right now, we just bring our kids next door. Sometimes we bring them without shoes. When it is warm, I make my oldest walk through the “gate” we created in the fence that divides our properties. She can walk alone to grandma’s house. If my mom lived 15 minutes away, it would be pretty difficult to drop off my kids for 30 minutes while I folded my laundry in peace.
    • When my mom is old and needs help, we will be there to make sure things around the house get done. Actually, I am hoping that by the time my mom gets older we will have moved into an apartment building with side by side units. A girl can dream right? When my Nana was in the later stages of her life she was surrounded IN HER HOME with family. There were always enough rooms (and another building in the back) for people to stay.
  3. Community
    • There is a closeness and community that cannot be discounted when you live close to your family. There are certain little moments that you share together that you just can get when you have a planned 4 hour visit. There are small joys that you all get to experience together Not only that, but there are struggles that you all go through together that make you a stronger, closer knit family. It is hard to explain if you don’t live the life!


Anyway, this week has been pretty decent. I have been forced to get all my work done before 4:30 and I have made it a habit to make my kids play outside while I drink my tea and prepare for the mental task that is dinner and bed time.

We are starting to have a routine, and it is pretty awesome. I suspect that is how most parents cope–with a routine.

Additional Reading:

Avenue Magazine – Housing for Multi Generational Families in Calgary.

Forbes Magazine – Trends in Multi-Generational Housing