Monday, April 19, 2010


I had an interesting conversation about family the other day with a lovely Pakistany woman. She had 6 children of her own and grew up in a family of 16 children. When I asked her if she was going to have that many, she replied that our culture doesn't support that. In her country, generations live together, the 16 children were by 2 wives, and extended family is close by to help.

I was relaying this conversation to a few of my friends at play group and we decided we should all just get a big house and live together. All of our husbands travel a good deal and we have 8 kids between us. We laughed about how much easier it would be to share work and life instead of doing it all our own. Apparently we are not the first to think of this.

Cohousing. It was a new term to me. I think it goes past my current level of crunchyness into flat our hippy-dom, conjuring up images of communes and Birkenstock. Yet it actually appeals to me on some level, this idea of not doing life autonomously.

We were never made to do life alone, in suburbia, with our 6 foot fences, locked door and isolation. We are called to be in this world, making relationships and loving others. Ok, so maybe cohousing isn't for everyone, but the idea of living an open life where relationships take priority to things should be. Somehow we Americans bought into the lie that life is about stuff, the more and the bigger and the better stuff you have the better your life is. The problem with that is stuff doesn't fill the hole, there is no such thing as enough stuff to make you happy. A bigger house won't do it nor will a bigger pay check. Our hearts were designed for relationship with our Maker and other.

I am not packing up and moving on to the commune yet. My teva's are happily resting in my closet, but I am not adverse to the idea. If I ever disappeared from the great white suburb that is Littleton, look for me in one of the 12 cohousing community's in Colorado.


Valerie Ruth said...

I would totally co-house with you! Sounds great!

Raines said...

Congratulations on discovering cohousing! There are 124 established neighborhoods in the U.S. and more than that in development... including quite a few on Colorado's front range (including one in Littleton), as you noticed.

A great opportunity to learn more is coming up: the national conference this June in Boulder, linked at the national website you referenced. There are many tours and other events around it, with individual tickets available so you can pick and choose. Perhaps I'll see you there.

Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach
Planning for Sustainable Communities
Berkeley, CA

Honeycutt Family said...

Co-housing appeals to me on some level too. I am an introvert and enjoy comfort, so I have to force myself out of my comfort zone to be in relationships with others (especially new people).