A small hesitation that many new moms and Mission Corps have about living at Maggie’s Place is the challenge of sharing a house with so many other women. I grew up as the oldest of 8 children, 7 of whom are female, so in some ways, I was prepared. We strive to create an environment in our homes that makes everyone feel like part of a big, loving family. Here are some of the similarities:

Sharing bedrooms. And closets. And bunkbeds. In a big family, sharing space is the norm, even if your house has lots of bedrooms! At Maggie’s Place, we are able to accommodate 6 or 7 moms at each house, and give most of the parenting moms their own room, because Mission Corps share bedrooms, and so do pregnant moms. It is admittedly more difficult as adults to fit 4 people’s stuff into one room, but the late night chats from the top to bottom bunk definitely make you feel close to your Maggie’s Place “sisters”.

Family Dinners. Growing up, my family made an effort to eat together every weeknight. This was not a “picture perfect” situation– it involved lots of spills, toddler tantrums, and raucous laughter when someone told a crazy story. When the Maggie’s Place community gets together every Monday to catch up over a home-cooked meal, it’s similar. We’re loud and a little chaotic, but we’re all together in one room and it’s beautiful.

There’s always a baby (or babies) around. The youngest sibling in a large family is usually referred to as “The Baby” until the next one comes along and takes over that title! At Maggie’s Place, it’s “The Babies”- plural. They bring so much joy to our lives!

Frequent Celebrations. I ate so much birthday cake as a kid that I don’t really care for cake much as an adult. Just about once a month, we were celebrating either a birthday, holiday, First Communion, graduation, or some other special event. At Maggie’s Place, we celebrate birthdays and holidays, as well as achievements like “Sober-versaries”, reunification with children, a new job, or completing a GED.

Waiting for the shower. With three bathrooms, most of the time it’s not hard to get a shower when you want to. But when it’s time for a big event or church on Sunday, there’s a line, and you’d better claim your spot if you don’t want to be the last one out the door.

Juggling Cars and Rides. As each sibling started to grow up and get our driver’s licenses, making sure everyone could go to all of their activities, appointments, and jobs became a complicated puzzle. On any given day at Maggie’s Place, there might be 2 moms needing rides to doctor’s appointments at different locations, a meeting that one Mission Corps needs to attend, and a flat tire on one of the vans. Somehow, it all works out (a testament to divine providence!)

There’s always someone to hang out with! With a crowd of siblings, or a bunch of women at Maggie’s Place, it’s pretty rare to find a time when you’re alone in the house. When you’re bored, there’s someone to talk to, tell jokes, play games, watch a movie. When you have good news, there’s someone to share it with. When you’re struggling, there’s someone who will support and maybe even pray with you while you vent or cry.

You will always be connected with the people you lived with. Just as you will always have your family bonds, no matter how far away you move from one another, the Maggie’s Place family will always be there, even when you move out of the house. Alumni moms can always come back to The Fiat House to receive support and be reminded of the time they spent in the homes. Alumni Mission Corps often stay in touch with both the moms and fellow staff that they lived with. Lifelong friendships are formed here, many of which are as close as family!

By Bonnie Pratt, a MissionCorps