Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Communal Parenting

When I was pregnant with my daughter 13 years ago, my best friend and I were pregnant at the same time.  Since then, we both have had a 2nd child and we are fortunate to be able to spend time together.  From the moment the kids were born, we have always had an agreement that we are safe to co-parent our children.  When her kids need me, I am there and even if they don't.  And my kids know that they can call her anytime they need her.  I am so lucky to have her.  But we live about an hour an hour apart (in traffic - sometimes more, sometimes less) and therefore, moments together are cherished and filled with gratitude.

As my daughter grew up, I got lucky again and found myself with a great group of friends who were the parents of her friends - not just one or two, but five.   Over the past years, these women and I became close friends.  When one of our daughters has a problem, we work it out together.  When I have a problem, I check in with one of them.  

It became noticeable to me when I went to a class meeting for my son and realized I didn't have the same support system as with my daughter.  Luckily, two of the moms have sons the same age as my son so that trust is already built.  The moms in his class are nice and I am friendly with some, but the circle of women that I met through my daughter is special and has grown over time.

Communal parenting is powerful.  It takes honesty, trust, and a willingness to be parents together.  I am aligned with these parents, together we find solutions rather than blindly defending our children.  We are willing to hear the others, we are compassionate to the other children and parents, and we also really like each other as people.  

Communal parenting is what I call it, others have said, "It takes a village."  Recently, my mother, daughter and I took a trip to Israel and London.  At dinner one night, my mother told me that she thought my generation of parents have it so much harder because of the greater pressures to raise our kids, more decisions to make about schools, and the impact of technology on our behaviors.  I appreciate the acknowledgement that times have changed which is why communal parenting is so important to me.  As I continue to raise my kids, I call upon these women to help me, guide me and to love me and my kids.  

And thankfully, they always answer the call.

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