A Hippie I suppose

Well, I’ve recently come to the realization that I’m a hippie.  A modern day hippie.  How did I come to this conclusion?  I was researching communes and the “hippie communes” kept popping up.  And I was like yea, I guess this is kind of a hippie idea.  That and I don’t agree with most conventional “rules” and thoughts in society….but that’s a different story.

 I have really gotten interested in the idea of living in a community, a cooperative, or a commune.  I think it’s brilliant to pool resources and work as a community to take care of each other.  It seems so much more effective and less wasteful than everyone living in their own private home, paying their own bills, making or buying their own food, taking care of themselves and keeping to themselves.  How many people nowadays, especially in suburbia, do not even know their neighbors, and they live only a few feet away from each other?  Several things have led me to this excitement for a community:

1.  I think it’s unnatural to raise kids in our own private houses all day.  Yes, socialization is good.  But I don’t think daycare is THE (only or best) solution.  Preferably, I’d like to see my kids running around with other kids and families while the other women and I are having fellowship by working on a garden or helping each other clean or cook.  (If we all chose to stay home).  If a mother from the commune did need to work (but could still contribute in some other way to the commune), I’d be willing to help watch and take care of her children if some of the other moms could help out, too.  After all, taking care of each other and helping each other out/sharing resources is what a community is about.  As is mentioned here, in the old days women had hired help if they were middle to upper class or had inter-generational living situations if they were poorer.  In either case, they didn’t have to do all the housework and childcare by themselves and I think that was a benefit to their kids as well.  It seems to me that if I were to spend the time I should to keep my house clean (and I don’t even mean sparkling clean) and have healthy home-made meals on the table every night, I wouldn’t be able to give my kids much attention.  And If I were to focus on entertaining them and stimulating them, I would be even more dreadfully behind on home management.  At this point, I choose to do both; so at least a couple days a week we go out and do something fun or meet up with friends for a play date.  And my house is pretty messy and doesn’t get deep-cleaned very often.  

2.  I’m envisioning a commune in which people pool their resources and strengths.  If one family raises chickens, then the whole community gets healthy pastured eggs and chicken meat/stock.  If one family has grass-fed cows, the whole community gets healthy beef, raw milk, and homemade beef broth.  Etc, Etc.  A large community garden could be worked on by many.  Herbs could be grown and used medicinally, cutting back on the need for doctor visits.  Women (or men) could get together and socialize while canning, baking, cooking, cleaning.

I know this is a Utopian ideal, and the reality would be occasional discord, differing opinions, and some members not wanting to work as hard as other members.  However, I think it might be worth a try.  I grew up in a religious community in Baltimore, MD.  It had a lot of families that lived in somewhat close proximity in the city.  Their main point was taking part in the religious activities, and it didn’t have any type of farming connected to it.  My parents loved it because they had an awesome network of friends and support, especially since we had no family in town.  My mom had a lot of friends with kids the same ages so they took turns watching each others’ kids and even cleaning the school we all went to when the school was trying to save on expenses.  I enjoyed growing up in this community for the 8 years that I lived there, but I would want an even tighter community that shares more duties and resources.

What do you think?  Have you ever been in or known anyone in communal living?  I’d love to hear about it.

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