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When my son’s daycare announced they would close for a week for all rooms to undergo professional disinfection, I almost had a mental breakdown. “One week? They want to close for an entire week? How are we going to manage with all of our work schedules and meetings?”
But the daycare didn’t open up again after a week. 11 weeks later, it still hasn’t reopened, and it remains uncertain if children’s daycare facilities will open again at any point in the future.
The initial week that made me incredibly nervous at first has turned into 11 weeks, which have worked surprisingly well after all. We are neither broke nor divorced, nor has David suffered any trauma.
But the one thing we aren’t anymore: a family living together. At least temporarily.
Because for the whole month of May we’ve rented a house in the Cyprus mountains taking turns with one of us staying up there. 5 days at a time, one of us would spend time there, and then we would spend the weekends together in our home by the ocean; and then the next 5 days the other person would get their turn again.
That way each of us had two instances of being completely alone for 5 days at a time. With plenty of time to work, relax, reflect, and just spend time thinking.
It’s a system that’s worked so well for us that we want to continue with it in the future, and meanwhile, we’ve started looking for a second house on a long term lease or possibly even an opportunity to buy.
A family with a small child that doesn’t live together?
Admittedly, our new family living concept isn’t what’s most common in society. Couples are meant to live together, especially when they have a child together.
But in our opinion: Everyone should find a way of living that works for them. And so we’ve decided to live in two houses at the same time. David stays in our main house by the ocean while we rotate time in the house in the mountains.
At the beginning of May, I was still skeptical of how this living experiment would affect all of us. I had a lot of fears and reservations. But most of them haven’t become reality.
There are only three negative or unusual aspects that come with it:
Of course, living in two houses is a double burden when it comes to financial implications. Double rent, double electricity, water, and internet. In addition some additional petrol expenses for the commute between the two houses (luckily, we already had two cars before).
A constantly changing routine
Because we’re switching places every week, we have to get used to a new structure weekly. Just when you’ve figured out a new system, you’re about to move house again.
Being on your own
One thing that I feel is pretty extreme for me: Even though I often crave being alone, the more difficult it becomes when I find myself in the situation after all. I notice that I’m a little nervous when I’m all by myself in the big mountain villa, and I keep running around from one place to the next because I can’t seem to sit down for an hour and just work by myself. I’m curious to see if this will change over time.
Things I was worried about that didn’t happen after all:
Insecurity for David
My biggest concern was that David would find it strange that one of us is always gone and we only spend the weekends together. That the switching nature of just one main parent at home would confuse him. This isn’t the case at all. Quite the opposite actually: David enjoys that he gets the undivided attention from the one of us that is home. It’s become normal for him that one of us leaves on Monday for work and doesn’t come back till Friday. Generally, I feel like my relationship with David has become a little more precious thanks to our solo time together.
Living apart as a couple
Having a relationship that takes place only on weekends, even if only temporary for now, also made me feel a little insecure in the beginning. But let’s be real: We really had to change something up in our relationship: All of us were together for 24 hours a day. Because we all get to have some more space now, everything has become more relaxed, and we’re looking forward to spending time with each other again.
Things I had wished for that didn’t happen after all:
Increased productivity at work
I assumed that I would get a lot of work done during the five days while spending time alone in the mountains. Creating new products, recording videos, building funnels. But the reality is that I’m not getting more work done than before. During the first two days, I usually have to catch up on things that didn’t get done during my week with David. In addition, I usually schedule all my meetings during that week. And then I might end up with one day to focus on creating something new. Days when I sometimes just want to chill out and have some time by the pool. Hence, I haven’t done all that much for my business. However, I’m a lot calmer than before, which in return really benefits my productivity after all.
Meanwhile, we’re on the lookout for a long term solution, respectively a longterm rental in the mountains. It would be nice to have something that was ours, and we wouldn’t have to resort to renting on Airbnb. Because then we could really settle in, and create a proper second home for us. Keep your fingers crossed that we’ll find something amazing!