Should You Join a Mommune? A Modern Solution for Divorced Moms
It takes a village, so they say. And when you’re a divorced mom with limited resources and childcare options, co-housing could be just the sort of village to help get you on your feet again.
Today’s newest trend in co-housing for single parents is the mommune. What is a mommune? Is it an option that would work for you as a newly divorced parent?
What is a mommune?
Although the name is new, the concept isn’t. Not so long ago, we were brought up in extended families, and before that, tribal communities. As part of a large family or community, each individual contributed what they could and shared responsibilities that best suited their abilities and the needs of the family or community. Mommunes are a modern take on living in a community with others.
According to research, 80% of households today are headed by single women. This sets many modern families up for economic and social vulnerability. For some, a mommune could be a solution for combatting those vulnerabilities.
A mommune is a co-living arrangement of single parents who share housing costs, pool resources and talents, share childcare responsibilities, and provide emotional support to each other. With the rising cost of housing and lack of affordable childcare, communal living can benefit single parents who would otherwise be isolated, overextended, and overwhelmed.
While today’s mommunes often stem from financial necessity, they also provide physical and emotional support. These kinds of communal support systems can be particularly beneficial for newly divorced moms.
What might a mommune look like?
Mommunes and co-housing, in general, are a twist on intentional communities and hippie communes of the 60s where people of like minds lived and worked cooperatively while sharing resources. Especially after the economic uncertainty and social isolation of the coronavirus pandemic, co-housing and mommunes are filling an important economic and social void. In fact, co-living options now exist for many different populations, from retirees to young professionals and single parents, offering many benefits their separate lives can’t offer.
Mommunes, in particular, offer financial and social support to single moms who often struggle to keep up with the costs and responsibilities of living independently. Parents often share housing costs, household responsibilities, and childcare, depending on the arrangement. In a mommune, each resident typically has a separate, private space while sharing communal living space with others.
Today, mommunes can run the spectrum from sharing a single-family home or apartment rental to sharing the purchase of a multi-family property with separate living quarters for each family. There are now even multi-generational co-housing complexes with separate and communal areas and park-like settings.
Potential benefits of living in a mommune
For many divorced single moms, living in a mommune represents the best of living options, providing financial benefits and privacy coupled with a sense of community and support. Depending on how you structure your living situation, it may offer the following benefits:
- Shared costs of housing (rent, utilities, upkeep, and even food): The costs of a household can be overwhelming, especially for newly divorced moms who are used to living within a two-income household. Sharing these costs can take the burden off having to provide enough income to pay for this on your own. How much or little you share can be a matter of personal choice, and your co-housing arrangement can reflect that.
- A division of household chores: Sharing household chores can be a lifesaver when life gets busy.
- Cooperative childcare and adult surrogates for the kids: Affordable and trustworthy childcare is not plentiful. A mommune allows you and your co-resident to share in childcare and adult supervision instead of relying on costly institutional childcare or babysitters.
- Built-in friendship and emotional support: A co-living arrangement can provide essential human connection and support as a natural outcome of sharing space.
- Friends for your children: When your kids have ready-made friends in the same household, it lets them socialize in a safe environment and allows you to know exactly who they are with and what they are doing.
- Emotional support: Life can be stressful, especially after a divorce. Living with other parents who understand what you’re going through gives you a built-in support system.
Potential drawbacks of living in a mommune
While sharing financial responsibilities and built-in social support can be invaluable after your divorce, the wrong co-housing arrangement could be just as difficult as living in a bad marriage. An unfortunate co-housing choice can lead to the following:
- Personality clashes: Personality clashes are inevitable, no matter how well you think you know the other person. Each of you needs to be able to address differences cooperatively and maturely. You will also need to agree to an exit strategy if the co-housing relationship doesn’t work.
- Not enough privacy: When your co-resident oversteps their boundaries, privacy may seem in short supply, and resentment can set in. This can be especially true when one or both of you begin to date.
- Clashes in parenting styles: Differences in parenting styles, discipline, and behavior expectations can quickly become apparent when families share the same place. It can be difficult to discipline and address behavior issues when one set of kids is allowed certain behavior while another isn’t.
- Your co-resident can no longer pay for their share of the expenses: Whether due to job loss or a lack of responsibility, if your co-resident can no longer keep up their end of the financial obligations, it leaves you scrambling to make up for it.
Creativity and need have fueled new industries around co-sharing, from work to living options. There are now multiple co-housing platforms for people interested in some form of communal-style living. These include platforms designed to bring single parents together for co-housing opportunities like mommunes.
If you are a single mom coming out of a divorce situation with limited resources, finding affordable housing while managing work and childcare responsibilities may be a struggle. A co-housing or mommune living arrangement may be the right safety net for you.
At Hello Divorce, it is our passion to support people through the legal and emotional hurdles of divorce so they can move on to a happier and more fulfilling future. We offer DIY divorce plans, flat-rate professional services, and a library of resources to support you throughout your divorce journey.
If you are navigating a divorce, we can help. Schedule a free 15-minute informational call to learn more.