Friends and mothers Holly Harper and Herrin Hopper joked about forming a private resort for single moms.
Nobody was laughing at them when they and two other single mothers united to do just that!
Divorce Changed Their Lives Forever
After friends Holly Harper and Herrin Hopper went through their respective divorces, the realities of single parenthood loomed large.
A health scare and the rising cost of living in the Washington D.C. area were at the top of their minds.
Harper Had To Move On From 17 Years Of Marriage
Holly Harper's tale is no different from many other women dealing with divorce, but she was determined not to be another statistic.
Harper's marriage of 17 years ended in 2018, and she knew quick action was necessary for her and her children.
"Why not do this?"
It did not take long for Harper and Hopper to say to each other, "Why not do this?"
It took the friends barely one week to come together and find a house to share with their families.
The American Dream Almost Was A Nightmare
Traditionally, getting married, starting a family, and buying a home to raise them in was the "American Dream" for millions.
That middle-class bubble of an idea bursts quickly after a divorce, leaving the adults and kids to pick up the leftover pieces of their lives.
Holly and Herron, Meet Jen and Leandra
Struggling mothers Jen, Leandra, and their families moved in with Holly, Herron, and their families.
Together the four family groups have learned how to function as normally as possible, with all that comes with sharing the four-unit home.
There is an assumption that the ingredients of divorce, children, and the living arrangements of four separate families living together would be a disaster.
Instead, the women believe the unity provides, according to them, "almost a spiritual safety net every day here."
The Tradition Is To Be Non-Traditional
The combination of losing her father, turning 40 years old, and the end of her marriage signaled the end of living the way society says to.
Herrin said to Holly, "Burn the rulebook of life and just look at it differently."
The Women Had Playmates Too
Not only did the kids have live-in friends to play and do things with, but so did their mothers.
They helped each other out by car-sharing and carpooling. From potlucks to having someone to have an ugly cry with, the women made lemonade out of lemons.
Everything Wasn't Always Sunshine And Rainbows
Blending four families under one roof did not always go smoothly for the women.
Items like laundry, "iPads, dishes, cups..." go missing and, at times, unwillingly shared among everyone in the home.
Save $30,000? Yes Please!
Expenses like babysitting and spending money on gas every week also benefited from the living situation of the four mothers.
Being in a position to better manage expenses has allowed Harper to save roughly $30,000 per year, she estimates.
Kids Will Be Kids
The age range of the kids living in the home is 9-14. Harper says the children have formed a cousin-like relationship with each other.
The narrow gaps in age provide perfect conditions for playing and always having a playmate.
The Women Found Something New Together...Freedom
Despite the chaos that occasionally took place, each of the mothers found the living arrangements were a source of freedom.
Any one of them could make plans to workout or socialize outside the home and know their kids were safe and around trusted adults.
Decisions Were Made Together
For the four single moms, living together meant household decisions could be made together instead of struggling to figure things out individually.
The women often decided about repairs and yard work expenses over a bottle of champagne.
Welcome To The "Siren House"
Named after mythical creatures who lured men to their doom, the four women call their home the "Siren House."
Minus the original myth's gloomy ending, the concept of women coming together and being empowered is clear and present.
You Are Not Alone
While the story was unique when initially reported, the single moms learned they were not alone in their experiences.
They routinely answer questions from other women in their positions who are inspired to follow in their trailblazing footsteps.
Siren Became Equal To Feminism
The story outlining the lives of these single-parent families living together is not for their glorification.
To them, "Siren House" is part of "building a community..." that will "bring people together."
Divorce Is Not The End, But Is A New Beginning
Lives, memories, and assets are ripped apart after the divorce process has run its course.
Everything accumulated together with their partners was now their sole responsibility. Owning property and having children is enough of a challenge for married couples.
Siren House Is "A Kid's Paradise"
"Siren House" is not just where four single parents live together and raise their kids.
According to Harper, "...it's a kid's paradise, complete with a giant trampoline, a parkour line, a garden, a gym, a big-screen TV, and a craft studio."
Quarantine? Homeschool? No Problem
Although recent health concerns forced many parents to quarantine and homeschool their children, these four ladies got the perfect outcome.
All of the kids being trapped together during those dark days allowed for a buddy system. Teaming with others of similar interests led to getting gelato, playmates, and a million laughs.
The Pursuit Of Happiness...What A Concept
To the four women and their families in this story, the "pursuit of happiness" is all that matters.
They wanted to create an environment filled with peace and safety. The words are literally in the U.S. Constitution.
Holly And Herron Started With Modest, Not Lofty Goals
Neither Herron nor Holly had delusions of grandeur in mind when they planned to live with two other single moms and their kids.
They wanted a property suited for four families to be "within walking distance of public transit" and, according to Harper, "have our own separate units" with doors they can all lock.
It Worked For The Golden Girls
At first glance, the story around the four single mothers might lead people to believe it came from nowhere.
In fact, according to Harper, TV shows like The Golden Girls, Grace and Frankie, and The Facts of Life featured women coexisting under one roof.