Parent and Participation
From: Frost, Morgan (
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2019 09:59:30 -0800 (PST)
Hi all,

As a new parent (babe is 14 months old) I have not been able to meet 
participation requirements since having a baby, and I would like to explore how 
other communities handle this. I love my community and I hate feeling like I'm 
not meeting expectations. I have heard other communities expect "household" 
participation rather than individual-so I'm curious about this. I'd like to 
gather more information from other communities who have worked through this so 
I can have ideas for solutions to bring to my own community. We have more 
babies on the way so I would love to pave the way for improving expectation 
management and helping parents have less guilt and feel more valued as 
community members even when they cannot participate at the level they did 
pre-children. We may be able to remedy some of this with structural changes, or 
perhaps we need to investigate deeper cultural change work as well.

More Context: Here at Vashon Cohousing near Seattle, WA, our participation 
agreement defines that all adult residents attend all business meetings (2 
hours each, 16x/year), all adult residents serve on at least one committee 
(meets monthly), and everyone age 9+ attends all work parties (10-12 per year, 
3 hours each).

There is no childcare provided for any of our meetings, and babies attending 
business and committee meetings is generally frowned upon (this isn't written 
but it's clear from body language and even verbal statements that the children 
are too distracting). If I were to setup care for all business meetings and all 
work parties and all committee meetings expected of me in a year on my own I 
would be paying at least $1,500 in care costs plus the EXTREME mental load of 
booking caregivers and rearranging schedules when they can't make it. Not to 
mention all of the time away from my little one while participating in a 
community that says we value children. Even with childcare setup, a nanny 
cannot breastfeed my son and neither can my husband, so it usually falls on me 
to miss all or part of meetings to care for my baby.

  1.  How do you handle participation generally-individual basis or household 
  2.  What is expected of parents in your community regarding participation?
     *   Children at meetings
     *   Arranging childcare individually or through a committee?
     *   First year baby is born are there different, lower expectations 
defined for participation?
     *   Is anything in particular talked about or defined for nursing mothers 
in particular?
     *   Do you have any specific policies or agreements for parent members?
     *   Etc.

Thank you!

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