Re: Parent and Participation
From: Muriel Kranowski (
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2019 11:08:22 -0800 (PST)
As I've written before, we're much more laissez-faire at Shadowlake
Village. We have a general expectation that *households* will provide 6-8
hours per month of workshare effort but it isn't monitored or enforced.
People come to plenary meetings if they want to; some are well attended
because there's an issue widely seen as important on the agenda, and some
are sparsely attended.

We also have a budget for child care for plenary meetings and a Childcare
Coordinator who makes sure there is a child minder (often one of our teens)
or does it himself if he can't find a paid person. Households with very
young children are usually represented by one parent while the other stays
home with the child/children.
   Muriel at Shadowlake Village

On Thu, Jan 24, 2019 at 12:59 PM Frost, Morgan <frostm [at]> wrote:

> 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 basis?
>   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!
> Morgan
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