on parenting in community


article: Parenting in “Utopia” [the latter being Twin Oaks ecovillage in Virginia]

Raising kids in America can be, by design, crushing. But what if it weren’t?

By Kim Brooks

(this is the first part of the article … you have to have a New York Magazine subscription to read the rest)

For years, whenever I was feeling exhausted or overwhelmed or underappreciated, whenever I began contemplating the number of dishes I’d scoured or meals I’d prepared or loads of laundry I’d washed and folded and sorted, I would say to whoever happened to be listening, “Maybe I’ll run away and join a feminist commune.”

It wasn’t a threat so much as a fantasy. Well, maybe it was a threat, albeit an ineffective one. I’m not exactly “commune material.” I have a stubborn, contrarian streak, and I like central air-conditioning. Still, it comforted me: the idea that one day I might live in a place where the burden of domestic labor, both waged and unwaged, would be borne equally by all who benefited from it.

While the dishes festered and the dog stood longingly by the door, I Googled “Are there still feminist communes? Can I move there?”

Many of these parents had lived here for years; they had lost touch with the fact that on the outside — or “the mainstream,” as they call it — parents often have no one and nothing to rely on but themselves.

Birth and death were not meant to be borne alone, and the main difference between Twin Oaks and the rest of the world was that its members shared things in a way and to a degree that had become unusual.

A co-editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a Green movement activist for almost thirty years.