Re: Benefits of Cohousing for single parents
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 08:14:01 -0700 (MST)
On 1/06/2003 9:15 AM, "Maggie" <mdutton [at]> wrote:

> Have there been any
> problems with having single parents or having too many single parents?

The problem may be better phrased as what is the ratio of adults to children
that a community can handle comfortably.

Is one to one comfortable? Two adults to one child? What?

Children need constant care and attention. In some ways the attention gets
trickier once they are no longer infants and are running around "on the
loose" and then again when they are teens and pre-teens. Teens resent having
a 'babysitter" but are not quite ready to be completely unsupervised. How
can working parents handle this, much less one working parent?

If everyone in the community works outside the community from 8 to 6, this
is a lot of childcare to produce. If the ratio of income producing adults is
not high enough to hire childcare, it is big problem.

As has been previously noted on the list one of the conflicts in cohousing
is differences of opinion about child raising -- meat, no meat -- freedom to
play with other children unsupervised by an adult -- watching cartoons or
not -- watching TV or not -- playing war games -- possessing toy guns --
eating sweets -- sitting at the table until a meal is finished or heading
for the kids room. All these things create big conflicts in the community
and shared childcare intensifies them.

And as wonderful as the commonhouse is, it is also a big unsupervised place
for children to think up all sorts of stuff that they would never be allowed
to do at home.

Today is an unexpected snow day for many parents, following one to two weeks
of Christmas vacation during which childcare was hobbled together. Since his
bus never arrived today, I have a nine-year old again. I love him but I do
have a life that has been on hold for two weeks -- and two adult children of
my own who need some attention from time to time. And two babies for whom I
provide back up care.

The issue of single to two or three or four parents isn't directly the
problem. Two parents can be just as busy and preoccupied as one and in some
cases more so since we have parents who are "single parents by choice" and
devote more of their time to their children than two parents.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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