As a student you live with parents, in the students’ dorm or in the shared flat. Then, as a couple or fresh married couple – it also happens to live with friends (especially here: in Germany). But once the girl become pregnant – fast fast fast – everybody is moving in to their own place. A little family nest. We didn’t do it. Why?
We live in so-called WG – Wohngemeinschaft, a shared flat, with three more people from Greece, Germany and Singapore. Living in the WG is super-popular in Germany. Until you start the family. – Do you really live the WG with the kids?? Isn’t it super difficult? Do anybody wants to live with a family? – we are used to those questions.
When I moved to Berlin, to Tom, I was very positively surprised. Those WGs here was something totally else than I knew from Poland, where students just rent a flat together only because of the lower costs. WG has a soul, people are real friends and they truly live together with each other: sharing time, kitchen and worries. Like a big family. There are conflicts (like in a family), there are birthdays, there is mess or order, depends on the people.
I grew up in Warsaw, in a tiny apartment, with my parents, granny, brother, dog, few little rodents and a lot of love. There were always neighbours coming by, grandma’s friends, my friends. And I loved it. I was never able to study in the library afterwards, because it was too silent for me. Having a lot of space, having private space – was somehow not a value for me.
Tom grew up in quite big house, as the only kid. He always liked to have people around and starting a students’ life in Freiburg and then in Berlin – was a relief. When he moved to Berlin, together with 3 friends, they found the flat, we are living in right now. A good team, good vibes. But then – the girl got pregnant and… the girl and the guy moved out.
I loved living in the WG: always something is going on, always somebody has some visitors. If you want calmness – you go to your room. If not – you open your doors or go to the kitchen, where we have a couch and which serves the role of our living room.
When I’ve got pregnant we also moved… to another room. A very big one, half-circle wall on one side, and four windows into three different sides of the world. A bit like few rooms in one. A lot of space, a very bright space, it’s our perfect, family place until now. – You have to explain the readers that rooms like this don’t exist in Poland for example – told me a friend, who a bit inspired me to write this post.
So yes, we do live in our one room. And it is totally enough for us. The girls have their corner, their closets and their mess to clean up. Once they sleep, there is no reason to be quiet, so often we are sitting on the couch with friends, listening or playing songs. In another part of the room – there is a big desk, behind a big library. But there is also another five rooms in the flat for active living.
Our flatmates are like our family. I was always jealous about those few-generations-families, living together. One can help another, one can learn from another, you are never alone. This is what we have here. I remember this time, just after coming back from the hospital with tiny Hanna, and then with tiny Mila. Oh god, how good it was to have people around during days, when Tom was in the office! To meet people, to take part in some social happenings, without an effort of going out. Not talking about those little-big moments of help, when you can leave the baby with your flatmates to run for few minutes to the shop or for another kid to the kindergarten. Or when you can leave your kids to go out! Not always easy for the couples, whose parents are far away.
Our flatmates are like our family. We know each other very well, our girls know them very well, they know the girls very well. The girls have also more (than parents) examples of behaviour, examples of spending time and doing things. They also know boyfriends or best friends of the flatmates (because they are often here), so the family is even bigger. It’s always funny to see what Hanna is drawing when she has a task to draw home.
They know they can play ukulele or keyboard in one room, they know they can play some more logical games with our friend engineer, they can try preparing some cool food with our friend from Singapore. Maybe I am naive but I see so many of those advantages (and I can hardly find disadvantages!). But don’t mix it up with some collective bringing up kids. No no. They know what mama is and what papa is, and – still surprisingly for me – every time any flatmate offers them chocolate or chewing gum, they would first come to us to ask for a permission.
What about getting used to too many people, who are then leaving (getting job somewhere else, moving to the boyfriend)? Girls take it somehow naturally. – She is leaving for 8 months to Argentina – I was trying to prepare Hanna for the time without one of the flatmates, one of her best friend! – Ok Mummy, but why? – Because she has a boyfriend there and she is missing him. – Aha. That’s ok. She will be happy.
Of course then they miss people, who left or who are travelling. But we also miss! Like we miss grandparents and other friends. The sweet thing is that they miss the girls too. Sending them presents or postcards. The Greek guy coming back after some Christmas time or something – first is running to say hello to the girls. Lucky them they have so many people, who care, no?
Already quite a lot of people are calling our flat „home“. This makes me very happy and proud. There are always few mattresses and tons of blankets and pillows for everyone. Last week I was laughing, because I wanted to eat ice-cream with the girls in the kitchen, and there was not much left in the box. So I put it into 3 cups. Hanna looked at me with this disappointed look, Mila run through the flat and counted people, they both took more cups and divided the ice-cream between all. – They for sure also want ice-cream! Sharing, Mummy, sharing!
There is also often something going on. We host couchsurfers (one day also post about it, promise!), we host friends and friends of friends. Lately it was mainly musicians, so we had nice concerts in our room. We cook together, we do the weekend trips together. And no worries, when we want to be alone or alone as the family – we just close our doors!
We never had a problem to find people, who „wanted to live with the family“ (when somebody was leaving for good or for a while). Why? Probably you would have to ask them. And why few kids from the kindergarten always want to come to our place in the afternoon? Maybe because we have a biiiig corridor, where kids can bike and run. Maybe not only because of this ;)
Our first book is out!
We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
See, read and order here »