Yes, you read that right… I want to live on a commune. I know that communes haven’t had the best reputations over the years and no, I’m not crazy… well maybe just a little… but hear me out. This isn’t about religion or politics and I am also not talking about some crazy hippie off the grid type of thing either. None of that cult stuff or shared dwellings or shared partners. Just imagine if you lived in a community of families that actually worked together to support each other in day-to-day life. Wouldn’t that be amazing???
These days so many of us live away from our families and lack support systems and we are going it alone. We feel isolated and stressed out and it stresses our family life, our relationships and our sanity. We are scurrying around trying to fulfill our daily responsibilities and neglecting to make time to connect and interact which at the end of the day is of no benefit to any of us. We are overstressed, over worked and over medicated trying to keep with the current pace of life. Am I the only one that feels this way? Is this only endemic in American life? I don’t know the answer but I know I crave much more connection and support for my family and me.
So, indulge me for a moment as I fantasize about what could be… I imagine a small, park-like community where everyone owns their own houses but the land and all other property is considered communal. People feel free to leave their doors unlocked and everyone actually knows each other and interacts on a regular basis. There are shared responsibilities such as grass cutting, leaf raking, building maintenance, maintaining a community garden and even a community cooking schedule for dinners. What would it be like to not have to think about dinner most nights of the week?
Just knowing you are not alone in all these responsibilities can make such a difference. I want to be able to walk next door to my neighbor’s house and share a cup of coffee and a conversation while we fold our laundry together and watch our kids play outside. And when I am sick or maybe another mother has just given birth, we get the time we need to rest and recover because there are other people there to pick up the slack and take care of things for us. Or if you just simply don’t have the mental strength or patience to make it through the day of parenting, your neighbors are right there to back you up whether you parent together for the day or they just take your kids off your hands till you can pull it together.
Wouldn’t it also be great to have a built in social life for both you and your kids right there in your own community. There would be a ready-made clan of neighborhood kids to play together in one large communal “backyard” where they could run their little hearts out and create all kinds of games and adventures. No packing kids into a car to drive across town for a 2-hour “play-date.” And parents would actually get the opportunity to have adult time and conversations with each other because our children are so busy playing with each other. There would also be weekly opportunities for date night or just a quiet night at home because there are a myriad of choices for childcare right there at your fingertips. If you can’t take off work because your kids got 2 days out of school for some random holiday or your kid got the most current version of the flu on the day you launch a huge project, no worries because your neighbors will take care of your kids.
Maybe it’s not a commune but a utopian version of a community that nobody seems to have time to work for anymore. This idea of a “commune” use to exist and it was simply called a neighborhood. We use to talk to our neighbors and have a built in village to look out for each other’s kids and keep each other company. But these days this is mostly a fantasy that I think lots of mothers like me not only crave but need. I truly believe to have any part of this feeling of community or “village” mentality could very much so improve anyone’s quality of life. We could call it an HOA with shared benefits. Simply put, I want to live in a community of people I feel connected to and supported by…I want my village. Call me foolish, but this tired momma can dream.
Elisha Beach is a stay-at-home mom to four kids and four step-kids…Yes, you read that right—eight kids. She is a wife, home cook, taxi driver, herder of children, terrible housekeeper and founder of The Mom Forum.
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