Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is it really a Village?

So the kid bus service wants a deposit of $300, by Friday. Um, I am going to Story Land. Hullo?

I work. I want and need to work. We don't live close to family, well we do, but not that close. I don't live in a neighborhood where I know every neighbor and where all the other kids are also going to pre-k. Our babysitter keeps telling us to skip it, "He will go for two years, after all," she says. "But he is READY and I have told him all about it. Plus I have already paid the first two months of tuition," I respond.

There is a new housing development being built in my town, a co-housing development. I have a fantasy about such a place. We would all take kids here there and everywhere. Cook dinners together and give each other space. And then I wake up and think, "Oh my, I couldn't handle everyone knowing my every move, my every awful disgusting habit."

But right about now I would take that fantasy!


KathyLikesPink said...

Hang in there girl, I'm putting out feelers for other moms of preschoolers immediately!!

Raines said...

Yes, it really is a village. For a given value of "village".

I've visited 80 different cohousing neighborhoods across the U.S. (including most of the many in your fine state, where I grew up), and while they differ in size, scope, housing type, and degree of support and connection, they all provide a supportive environment for both raising kids and growing old. You don't have to love all your neighbors, but if you have a physical environment that makes it more likely to run into them frequently and do things together, and a social structure, intention and meals together, it's easier to like enough of 'em to get the work done and live more simply with less stuff and more caring.

Yep, research has found that people in cohousing drive less -- no small amount, I believe, because they don't have to go on playdates when the space is there. Doing trips together and carpooling also helps.

Part of the reason cohousing is the fast-growing sector of the communities movement is because it lets you keep your privacy. You can go in your own private home and close your door and lower the blinds and have whatever habits you like. But it is more like a small town, where people see eachother coming and going and watch out for one another.

You may want to go check out that new cohousing neighborhood.. last I heard, they had openings in both communities there.

As the saying goes, it takes a village...

Raines Cohen, CohousingCoach
Planning for Sustainable Communities
at Berkeley (CA) Cohousing

Burgh Baby said...

Good luck figuring out the transportation issues. Maybe $300 will just fall out of the sky . . . we can hope!