Re: Work or Pay Systems
From: PattyMara Gourley (
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 12:25:01 -0700 (PDT)
Jenny's reply to this thread brings up a subject I've been mulling over

Sustainability.  How physically and emotionally sustainable is it when the
work of community consumes time that could be spent with our children, our
spouses, our livelihoods our selves?  Our original vision at Tierra Nueva
saw our shared life as one that would make things easier and more economical
(economy of scale) for families and individuals by sharing resources, living
lightly on the land, working together.

Alas.  The time required for all community work, be it chores or
committee/meeting time, as well as meal prep and cleanup teams, has been
more than many of us had imagined, and it has had  a detrimental affect on
our families/ourselves, our health.  Add to that conflict..... and the time
necessary for conflict resolution/clearings/mediations.  Add to that the
rigors of maintaining a rural orchard and lush parklike landscape.   Whether
I am a single mom, or an empty nest parent, or a senior "aging in place" the
stress builds up, rapidly cancelling out those hoped for perks of community
life.  How sustainable is this?

And, before you press reply to regale the list with stories of how parties
help relieve stress and burnout, think about this:  parties still need to be
planned, prepped for and cleaned up. Celebrations and Parties don't just
emerge from the seafoam like Aphrodite.  And it's a pretty good bet that the
same hardy folks will step up to do that planning, prepping and cleaning,
while the rest of the group can drop in and enjoy the benefits of
"Convenience Cohousing".  This is sustainable only as long as those hardy
folks stay healthy, engaged, appreciated (which goes a long way, but is not
a substitute for someone else doing the work occasionally).  But eventually,
it gets mighty old.   The importance of  taking time off to set better
personal boundaries is a necessary component for any discussion of "getting
the work done" and recognizing  the true cost of community living.

Personal boundaries, true costs and sustainability.  Interesting to think

Tierra Nueva Cohousing, central CA coast

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On Wed, Jul 23, 2008 at 11:33 AM, Jenny Guy <jenstermeister [at]>

> On Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 7:04 PM, Tim Mensch <tim-coho-l [at]>
> wrote:
> >
> > Remember, just because there's an adult member doesn't mean that the
> > member necessarily has free time. So why, if a household of three adults
> > wants to buy out of their share, should it cost three times as much as,
> > say, a household with one adult and four kids?
> Single adults don't necessarily have free time, either.  I agree, this is a
> deeply felt divide and, for the record, I am single. There are valid points
> on both sides, but I often hear this argument -- what if one of the adults
> in a couple doesn't have time -- without acknowledging that a single person
> might not have time, either.
> The above-mentioned household with one adult and four kids probably doesn't
> have much money *or* any free time, but the adult needs to pitch in and
> work, or pay -- that's the way it works, because most of us are not
> creating
> income-sharing communities. Most communities create some slack for
> individuals in difficult circumstances, but I don't see why the potential
> challenges of multi-adult households should be accounted for ahead of time
> in the work policy, in a different way than single folks' challenges.
> You're right, it is almost a matter of religious debate ;-)
> -Jenny
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