How Big is Your Household?

How many members are in your household?
@Ruby3881 (2000)
Canada
April 9, 2016 4:35pm CST
Did you know that the nuclear family is a relatively new thing? Until a few hundred years ago it was quite common for a household to consist not only of members of the extended family, but also servants, slaves, apprentices and other underlings. Family size was also bigger because people had more children. My own uncle, for example, had ten children. My grandfather was one of thirteen kids. The single family dwelling is also a fairly new innovation. Our ancestors lived in cramped quarters, often with several children sharing the same bed. Go back far enough, and even the adults' beds were shared by several. And over the centuries we've lived communally in everything from caves and castles to longhouses and tipis. Some discussions about bathroom use got me thinking, just when and why did we get to be so concerned about our personal space and privacy? And why do some regions of the world seem much more at ease with the human body and its functions than others? Is there something it's tied to, like population density? I am an intensely introverted person, and would never want to live in a sorority house or a college dorm. But I do live in a large household (we are 6 now, but have been as many as 7 or 8 in recent years.) And I have a handful of people who treat my home as a second home, coming and going without first calling or knocking. I'm usually quite happy with all the activity, and I'm very open minded about things like bathroom and locker room use, when I'm out in the community. How many are in your household? Do you think that being in a larger or smaller household has an impact on how you feel about privacy? [Image: OldieFan/Pixabay/CC0]
21 people like this
23 responses
@cindiowens (3840)
• North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
9 Apr 16
2 adults, and two children. I have about as much privacy as I would with five families living here, lol.
2 people like this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
So your family is four people, but there are other families living with (or near) you?
1 person likes this
• North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
10 Apr 16
@Ruby3881 Not with, but very near. Our Front yard is the neighbor's back yard, lol.
@Gina145 (3974)
• Johannesburg, South Africa
9 Apr 16
I'm an only child, so when I was growing up it was just the three of us. Now that my Dad is gone there's just Mom and me. I always wanted to be part of a bigger family, but sadly I never even had cousins who lived close by.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
I always wanted a bigger family too. My sister and I really didn't have much in common, and I had no grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. living nearby. Even today, I barely know my cousins...
1 person likes this
@Gina145 (3974)
• Johannesburg, South Africa
10 Apr 16
@Ruby3881 I don't know most of mine too well either. Most of them don't even live in South Africa any more.
1 person likes this
@Gina145 (3974)
• Johannesburg, South Africa
10 Apr 16
@Ruby3881 I had the age barrier too. My Mom's sister had three children, the youngest of whom is 8 years older than me. Those were the only first cousins I had as my Dad was an only child too. When it came to more distant cousins there were one or two of around my age on my Mom's side of the family, but I very rarely saw them and haven't seen any of them for years. I don't think I'd know them if I saw them in the street. On my Dad's side there are two more distant cousins, both several years younger than me, who still live in the same city as I do, but if I see them once a year it's a lot. Thankfully I've never had a language barrier to contend with though.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (164047)
• Switzerland
10 Apr 16
When I was a kid, my family was composed by 7 people, my parents, my brother and I, my grandparents and a brother of my grandfather who lived in our home. Even if we were 7, we had privacy, there were 4 bedrooms in our home. Now we are only two, of course I close the door when I use the bathroom. I do not believe that this is something to share.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (164047)
• Switzerland
11 Apr 16
@Ruby3881 The parents of my father lived with us because my grandfather was very sick and my grandmother would have been unable to take care of her husband. At those time we had a maid who came every day to help my mother to keep the house clean and took care of my grandfather.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
11 Apr 16
@LadyDuck This type of situation is becoming more common again today. A lot of people are in that "sandwich generation," raising children and caring for elderly parents who are sick at the same time. We can only hope there will be more of a focus on help for home care, as keeping people in their own homes as long as possible is often the best solution for both the individual and the family.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (164047)
• Switzerland
12 Apr 16
@Ruby3881 I know, my Mom is 95, we do not want to move her from her house, she loves to live there and she would die if we moved her. For the moment she does not even want a help. My brother lives not far from her and this year he retires. As he lives alone, I hope he can keep an eye on our Mother.
@RussTeed (1510)
• United States
10 Apr 16
I had five children, and I am still recovering, lol. My neighbor as a child had 14 brothers and sisters - yikes!
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
Five, really? Were they all born by natural childbirth? Can't imagine how you got through it!
1 person likes this
@RussTeed (1510)
• United States
10 Apr 16
@Ruby3881 All but one was born natural. I was 9 pounds 8 ounces at birth and it was natural - yikes!
1 person likes this
@TheSojourner (17442)
• United States
9 Apr 16
I am the eldest of five children. Today I live alone. There was no privacy in the house that I grew up in, and I was on able to close my doors and have any time by myself. I had only one child, and for a good portion of our time I was a single mom, until I married the second time. Because we were military, we did not have as close and extended family, and even our nuclear family was small because of people on temporary assignments. I like living alone, but I like interaction with people. I find my interaction by traveling and by going out and doing things with people.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
I really loved living alone when I was single, and I think one day I'd like to just be with the Wolf. But we'll likely have our Bug with us until we die, unless we can find a better living arrangement for him...
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Apr 16
@Ruby3881 How old were you when you married?
@Lucky15 (33750)
• Philippines
9 Apr 16
Smaller for me now. And before, i can relate with the getting in and out of the house like...it was crazy.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
How many were you, at the biggest?
1 person likes this
@Lucky15 (33750)
• Philippines
10 Apr 16
@Ruby3881 around 13. Three families
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (109784)
• United States
9 Apr 16
My parents taught us that privacy was a must even though we were a family of five. They were probably influenced by our very way-beyond-proper grandparents. We had a lot of ministers in our family too, so maybe that was a factor. I did not do well living in a sorority house due to lack of privacy and moved out as soon as that quarter was up. We only have one child, a son, but he has a home and family of his own now. My husband's family is a big one, and privacy is not a big deal to them. My husband knows my private nature, and he does respect it. I believe if parents do not make a big issue regarding the necessity of privacy, then the children most likely will adopt that behavior.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
My parents were big on privacy too. But once I had my own place I realized that, while I need personal space and to separate my private life from my public, I'm not overly concerned with other kinds of privacy. We don't mind too much about closing doors, and when the kids were little we had a family bed. My youngest still prefers to sleep with someone else, which is fine with me.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (109784)
• United States
10 Apr 16
@Ruby3881 Our son is our only child, but we made sure our home was the place where his friends could spend time. Our son had 10 groomsmen at his wedding. They were all what my husband and I called "The Boys in the Basement." One of "The Boys in the Basement" officiated the ceremony. Glad we were able to help raise all those "brothers" of his. I am glad my husband came from a much more relaxed environment so that our son had a good mix of open and private. Our son crawled into bed with us when he was little too, along with the two little dogs that decided to follow his lead. Glad we had a king-sized bed.
• United States
9 Apr 16
I have 4 adult children. My husband and I have had 2 of them plus our infant granddaughter living with us. Privacy was non-existent. Now that it is once again just the two of us we are more relaxed.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
It's a different story when an adult child returns to live in your space, isn't it? We lived with my folks for several months when we came West and were looking for a place to live. It was quite challenging!
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Apr 16
@Ruby3881 4 adults, one bathroom. Very challenging.
@GardenGerty (100502)
• United States
10 Apr 16
At this time we are just two. We have had as many as seven or maybe 8. For a year we were three having my older sister with us. Bathroom privacy was not an issue, but with my sister it was keeping her nose out of our business. I have a friend right now that is temporarily sharing her home with four generations. Ten people in her home.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
That's a lot of folks! How is your friend coping?
@marlina (75001)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
My husband and I have only 2 sons. But I grew up with 5 siblings. My grandparents had tons of children and they lived on a farm.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
When I was young, that was my dream: a big family and a farm...
@jaboUK (54517)
• United Kingdom
10 Apr 16
There are just the two of us now, but even when my two children were living at home we still respected each other's privacy. By that I mean one at a time in the bathroom.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
We don't usually have any issues with taking turns for the bathroom, but when the kids were little they used to follow us right into the bathroom (or sit outside the door) like cats do!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (126340)
• Bunbury, Australia
9 Apr 16
There are only two of us and I guess mostly we're pretty private. I think my husband is more so than I am but I don't really know why. I tend to think everyone needs to bath, go to the toilet, etc so you just get on with it.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
I'm the same way. If I'm in the bath and you need to use the toilet, just let me know! I've never minded about a housemate or family member walking in like that.
1 person likes this
@Tampa_girl7 (25868)
• United States
9 Apr 16
There are only three of us. I grew up in a family of six.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
What do you prefer, Marie? Bigger or smaller?
@Dragonairy1 (1414)
• Newcastle Upon Tyne, England
9 Apr 16
There's just me and my husband now, I enjoy the peace
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
I do look forward to the peace and quiet. Though I'm sure they'll be gone all of five minutes before I miss them!
@Platespinner (16783)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
9 Apr 16
There are six of us and bathroom privacy is sacred around here. All bedrooms are shared, and my husband and I actually use the open loft overlooking the great room as our bedroom. We seem to end up with house guests fairly frequently which at times doubles our population.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
Your house sounds like ours!
@annierose (17961)
• Philippines
9 Apr 16
We were 6 in the household before. It becomes 5 when my brother get married, 4 when my sister next to my brother get married. Last year, my father passed away making us just 3 in the household. Life becomes sadder and sadder due to few numbers in the house. Although my married siblings sti visit us,it is just on rare occassions.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your father. It's obvious you enjoy living in a big family
@Morleyhunt (19894)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
I grew up with five brothers and two sisters. My parents did not understand the concept of privacy. Somehow as a teenager I did not appreciate getting dressed in front of my brothers. I have five children, we have shared tight quarters, but we all respect each other's privacy and personal space.
@Ruby3881 (2000)
• Canada
10 Apr 16
I can definitely understand why you would want your privacy!
1 person likes this
@scheng1 (24755)
• Singapore
11 Apr 16
I prefer smaller household. In ancient China, the traditional house has many rooms for extended families. It is inevitable that a lot of quarreling and deep bond developed in such environment. Privacy is unknown in those days, and even today in many places, they still openly discuss about very private matter, such as salary and marriage.
@miniam (9236)
• Bern, Switzerland
10 Apr 16
I think it always depend on how much you trust and feel at ease with the people around you. I live far from my family, we only meet 2X a year and i can say it`s my happiest time, however as happy as i feel to be there,there are times i feel" i could use some privacy now" If l had it my way, I will have my house full with people l care about and love,there is nothing more fun than a house full of laughter or sitting down 6 or more people for dinner then settling down to watch TV. In my house now, it`s only me and my husband,the house gets quiet and lonely at times. Having said that,l still need my bathroom and not share with X peopel.
• United States
10 Apr 16
there's jest's 2 here now, though we've'd 's many's 9 livin' here'n less'n 1200 square feet. i grew'p with extended family comin' 'n stayin' fer months't a time. ne'er thought much'f it. the only arguments began when all the young'uns moved back home'n a 3 week time span, one with 2 grands. no tiffs o'er privacy, but the washer'n dryer, lol.