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In Search of a Tribe

For the past few months, oscillating between front and centre and the back of my mind, I’ve been thinking about co-living communities. I happened upon LILAC in Leeds, a brilliant community with co-living areas as well as individual units to preserve privacy a few months ago. It’s focus is on eco living, sustainability and of course, community. I’ve considered that it would be an amazing way to live while having a new baby and think about potential “social experiments” in which I hypothesize a dramatically lowered, if not absent, incidence of post partum depression and anxiety. Of course, that would only be true if everyone got along well, but it would be worth the search for the right people wouldn’t it?

I’ve been having a hard time finding any semblance of balance recently, as my husband has been very busy with work for the past few months. That’s due to ease up next week for a while but then again it will get hectic again eventually and I’m not sure I can handle homeschooling on my own. When I don’t get enough time to myself I start hoarding it. I scrounge around for ten minutes here and five minutes there and I’m not present with my kids even while I’m with them but neither am I feeling like I’ve had that time to myself. And so goes the cycle: I feel overwhelmed; I decide we’ll have to send them to school, at least part time, at least for a few years; I start researching where I can send them; I decide there’s no where I approve of that we can afford to send them to; I decide I’d rather hire a part-time nanny to help me; I decide that’s it, we’ll just figure something out even if it’s hiring help somehow, even if it means I work and my kids stay home with a nanny. And THEN the next day, as if that NEVER happened, I see a picture or video of a baby or read a story about a family with three kids and I’m considering number three again! As if I’m not already riding the edge of sanity with just two!

And then there’s this idea of assembling a tribe. I found a house nearby that would be ideal for three families. It’s really only a fantasy at this point but it’s such a strong enchantment for me that I may just pursue this idea in the long term. I know that I need to assemble a group first and then find the property though, so this is not the house. How unfortunate, too, that there will be families who see the appeal but would never be willing to go that far out the norm?

I know that some people consider their extended family or friendship group their tribe and it works for them and that’s so great, but I’m just such a homebody I need something more. It’s such a huge effort for me to get us out of the house, both physically and psychologically, if I could live with my tribe I know it could be fantastic. My social butterfly daughter would have kids to play with her all the time. I would have people to talk to when I wanted. We could all take turns cooking and have dinner together. We could all help with the cleaning. We could all support each other.

Of course, I’m not unaware that often enough with more humans come more misunderstandings. I don’t think it has to be that way though, and it’s part of the reason that finding the right people would be so important. They would have to be non-judgmental and committed to accord and consensus just as much as my husband and I. Communication would be key just like it is in any relationship. It would not be easy but even as an introvert, perhaps especially because of it, I can see huge appeal.

So, this isn’t a call, just a conversation, who’s in? Talk to me on the Renegade Feminist Facebook Page.

Further reading:

A Guardian piece on co-housing groups.

Another piece about LILAC