The question I get most often from people is, “why do you want to pursue raising a family in a co-op? Why not hold out to meet your life partner, and buy a house, and do it that way?” It’s a fair question. I don’t have one clear answer, but here are some of the reasons I have for why I am doing this co-op thing:
- I challenge the notion that the people with whom we share the most fulfilling romantic relationships are automatically the people with whom we will be most successful building a home life and raising children. This may work out for some people (and if it does, that’s great!) but I personally am excited to be intentional about choosing those with whom I will share a domestic life without the requirement that we develop and sustain a romantic connection. Love comes in many forms, and I think that the love we will share as a co-op to be a familial type of love, which works just fine for me.
- I believe that building a support network is critical to successful parenting. When I grew up, the support of extended family was always available; I spent nearly as much time with my grandparents as I did with my parents. Because I now live several states away from the family who raised me, I don’t have access to that support on a regular basis, and so I felt it important to build this network before considering having children of my own.
- I think adults and kids benefit greatly from being exposed to and surrounded by a variety of ideas and perspectives. I grew up in a fairly homogeneous suburb of New Jersey. I learned stuff by reading books and asking questions of the adults around me, but it really wasn't until adulthood that I came to learn about and grapple with the great spectrum of ideas and points of view that are out there. I want any kids I might have to see that there are lots of different ways to understand the world; living with a variety of people with a variety of perspectives is a first step to that goal.