Re: Single Mothers / Proximity of HH's
From: stronier (stroniermail.slco.lib.ut.us)
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 1996 14:42:29 -0500
  .........
>   One of the main advantages of cohousing is the close proximity of
>households who are developing intentional community.  Being close
>greatly simplifies and eases logistics of doing things together.  In
>practice it allows more frequent interaction. Rob, what is the geographic 
>distribution of the participants Solo Parenting Alliance ?  
>Also how many families are involved?

>Fred H. Olson  fholson [at] tc.umn.edu

I agree.

I'm a single parent, a member of Wasatch Cohousing in Salt Lake, and 
a former member of Solo Parenting Alliance in Seattle for several 
years.  Solo Parenting Alliance is a great organization for bringing 
people together, but with several exceptions (some successful homeshares), 
it does not do what cohousing does.  The (hundreds of) members of Solo 
come from all over the Seattle area, which is large, and to drag young 
children to meetings at night after working all day is a real effort.  When I 
organized a support group through Solo in the University area, it took 
months to find people within this very large organization, who lived 
anywhere close to me and/or were willing to drive that far.  A major problem 
with such support groups is that they require that we step away from our 
daily activities (which can be overwhelming for single parents), find 
childcare, find a way to pay for it, find a place and time to meet, 
and seek common ground when we may not have that much to begin with.

I did try a homeshare in Seattle through Solo and it was a disaster 
and a major source of stress for a long period of time.

What cohousing can offer through proximity and a shared neighborhood 
is a way of integrating our lives through shared interaction over 
basic activities that are fundamental to our lives: designing and 
inhabiting living space.  I imagine that living in cohousing (still 
far away for us here) will offer a kind of natural support by  surrounding 
me with people who know something about me and my life on a 
daily basis (because that's where most of life takes place); people who 
are there to share some of the work, lend a hand when needed, and make me 
feel useful and connected by needing me.

One of the things I love about backpacking is that in setting up a 
camp, life comes down to bare fundamentals: one creates a sleeping 
place, a place to prepare food and wash dishes, a place to hang wet 
clothes.  Food becomes central: planning it, preparing it, eating it, 
keeping it away from other animals.  There is something healing about 
stepping away from a world of distractions and coming down to this.
In a similar way, cohousing presents the same kind of appeal to me.  
It's a way of life that focuses on the basics of community and what 
we need as social animals.  And one thing we need is a scale that 
fits with our way of perceiving daily experience, and the 
neighborhood seems to be the right scale.

Suzanne Tronier
stronier [at] mail.slco.lib.ut.us 

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