Parent and Participation
From: Karen Gimnig (gimniggmail.com)
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2019 05:18:17 -0800 (PST)
Morgan,

Motherhood is such a busy and precious time.

It sounds to me as if there is a disconnect in your community between the
intention of the participation policy and its impact.  This is a common
thread in all kinds of relationships and in the end, I believe the best
solutions come from communication.

I imagine that your community does intend to be supportive of children and
is genuinely glad that your little one is part of the community.  What I'm
hearing you say is that the needs that you have around parenthood and
participation aren't being well heard and incorporated into expectations.
I suspect that others in the community may feel like their needs around
business meetings and work days aren't heard either, simply because it
tends to go that way. And I suspect that the "miss" in communication shows
up in other ways in your community as well.

Adopting really good listening structures can make a huge difference for
communities in all kinds of ways.  You may need professional support to
make that shift.

Regarding your work days, I would suggest a conversation about the
intention of work days.  For most communities the primary reason to have a
work day, where everyone is together doing the work, is to foster closer
relationships through togetherness.  The work itself is the secondary
reason.  If this is the case for your community (and it may take some
reminding - we live within a very task-oriented culture) you might consider
a policy that invites all community members of any age to participate.
Yes, it is true that an adult working with a toddler will accomplish far
less work than the same adult working alone, but the payback in
togetherness, laughter, and relationship is well worth it.  Adding a
toddler to a wheelbarrow full of leaves can bring joy, as can a toddler
with a wet sponge.  While I realize that some toddlers won't leave Mom's
side, that phase tends to be short in community and there is no reason it
has to be mom or dad that is multitasking toddler-engagement with the work
of the community.  I believe this approach teaches our children about the
values of community - all are valued and welcome, working together is fun
and meaningful, you matter.  Why wait until they are 9 to show them that
they are a needed part of the community?

Meetings are another story and while some communities do manage with a fair
bit of kid involvement, which is great, I think it is more common to
arrange childcare in a way that does not put that burden (either financial
or the work of arranging) only on parents of young children.

If your community can find a way to have the conversation in which the
underlying needs can be heard, I'm sure you will find that creative
solution that works for all of you.  If having that conversation is
difficult or unsuccessful, it is a sign that a process consultant may be
needed.    These are the conversations that make cohousing such a powerful
space for social change, but we generally don't arrive in cohousing with
the ability to have them.  Training helps.

Good luck!

In Community,
Karen Gimnig
Professional Facilitator
678-705-9007
www.karengimnig.net



>
> Message: 2
> Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2019 17:59:25 +0000
> From: "Frost, Morgan" <frostm [at] seattleu.edu>
> To: "cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org" <cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org>
> Subject: [C-L]_ Parent and Participation
> Message-ID:
>         <
> CY1PR04MB2203AD76A78097F3695EEB0FBA9A0 [at] 
> CY1PR04MB2203.namprd04.prod.outlook.com
> >
>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>
> 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
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2019 14:07:21 -0500
> From: Muriel Kranowski <murielk [at] vt.edu>
> To: Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org>
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Parent and Participation
> Message-ID:
>         <
> CALynfviaY3Vss4ptZ27PVgmUdmJsAnsN6A0_cmEgN8Nw_va1WA [at] mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
>
> 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] seattleu.edu>
> 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
> >
> >
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> > http://L.cohousing.org/info
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
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>
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> ------------------------------
>
> End of Cohousing-L Digest, Vol 180, Issue 15
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