A common sentiment among parents I know is that they had no idea what they were getting into before having a kid, and I am no exception to this. When I first heard about cohousing it seemed like a great way to address some of the isolation and pressure I felt as a single parent. I loved the idea of having other adults close by to provide support and love for my child but also to share perspectives and knowledge that I didn’t have. And that’s not to mention the appeal of having more time to myself by sharing childcare responsibilities, easier socializing for both of us due to proximity of other adults and kids, and owning less “stuff” by sharing resources.
I became involved with Richmond Cohousing in 2014 and since then the other members have become trusted friends who have seen my kiddo grow from age 2 to age 6. For the past few years we have worked hard to build our community, but it was challenging to find the exact piece of property we wanted – and could afford. When the group decided in early 2018 to pursue our cohousing development in Manchester in a condo-style building, I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue with the project. I hadn’t envisioned raising a child in a condo. This was a big departure from our earlier dreams of a grassy area and playground, fire pit, shared large gardens, and maybe even a pool. I spent a few months contemplating my future involvement with Richmond Cohousing and briefly decided to leave the group.
But after making an announcement at a Plenary Meeting that it wasn’t the right time for me and my kiddo to move into a condo, I got into my car and started crying. I thought about my life continuing the way it is now – coming home after work to our house with its yard and front porch and extra bedroom in the neighborhood I’ve lived in since 2002 and still feeling isolated and alone with all of the pressure of taking care of my child on my own.
Then I envisioned coming home to a cohousing condo building and walking through the front door, seeing a few people in the common space, saying hello and chatting for a few minutes, someone checking in with my kiddo about how the school day, and I felt a sense of relief, ease, and gratitude. The fact that it was a condo, that there wasn’t a yard, that it was a new neighborhood, and other unknowns seemed a lot less important than those things I had initially been seeking – community and support – when I joined the group. I knew what the right decision was.
The other members of the group may have been surprised to see my email early the next morning saying, “I changed my mind, I made a mistake, I do want to continue with the group”. Since then I’ve been actively involved and feeling excited (but still a bit nervous!) about this next adventure for me and my kiddo. Raising children in a multigenerational community enriches the lives of not only the children, but everyone else in the community. Richmond Cohousing will be a great place for kids.
Interested in living at Richmond Cohousing with your kids? We’d love to hear from you!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and stay tuned for our next Informational Session. We also know the challenges of nap/school/work schedules and the unpredictability of kids – we’re happy to chat via phone or meet at a local playground. Just let us know what might work best for your family.