Taste of Utopia

Raise your hand if you want to join my commune.

Right now, my kitchen is a mess, my dining room is worse, I’ve mopped the floors 2x’s and cleaned up many more sticky spills, there are toys EVERYWHERE, and the driveway is cluttered with bikes, skates, I don’t even know what else. Normally, I would be feeling frantic, overwhelmed, and grouchy. But today, I spent the day with my friend Pammy; between us, we have 7 children under 8 years old. It was a lovely day, and my cup is full, and I am sated.

Today was, for me, perfect. We made lunch and dinner together, we held each other’s babies when they needed it, we allowed the children to return to their god-given state (filthy, wild, and free to do what they wanted), we walked to the lake and let the kids throw rocks and make little “boats” out of twigs and weeds and wildflowers. We talked and sang and listened and sat in quiet. We were a tribe.

See, that’s just it. Families used to live in tribes. Chores were shared, children were taught by a variety of adults, and babies were collectively supervised. I may be romanticizing it a little bit, but that’s basically how I’d love to live.

Since it looks like an actual commune is out of the question, I would settle for community dinners each night. My day would be so very different if I knew that at 4pm someone would be coming to cook dinner with me. Think of it- the witching hour would suddenly transform into an energy charged bright spot, with new blood in the house, and the smells of different foods cooking, and laughter, and lightness of the load.

Instead we are each in our own little boxes, doing the exact same chores, using the exact same tired voices with the children, watching the clock tick-tick-tick until dinner can be served. I find this completely unnecessary. I can make dinner, you can check on the kids and set the table. I’ll wash the lettuce, you can cut up the other veggies. I’ll band aid the ouchie knee, you can call the others to come and eat. When the men come home, they’ll find a houseful of happy moms and smiling children. Deal?

(We had such a great day that Pammy is returning tomorrow, to spend the night. Her husband is out of town, so this is a lovely, tribey way to pass the time).

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