Aah... posting from my computer. Much better. Whew, it's hard to keep up with you ladies.
Jaimee, what you said about the village was right on. This is pretty much what I have been longing for, and trying to build, or find, or whatever, since emerging from the fog of PPD with Mirabel. What I have learned about tribe-building is that it takes a lot of work. In a lot of cases/places, if you want a village, you really have to work at it. It took me a long time to find my people, and when I finally did, I moved. Ha ha. Sigh. But that was the benefit of living in a progressive West Coast city - it may be pretty much unaffordable, but there was a lot of amenities, a lot of support, a lot going on for mamas, and a lot, and I mean A LOT of fucking amazing women raising babies in rad and radical ways all around me. My neighbourhood was full of arty, AP mamas working at the community centre and running into each other at the park and making coffee runs to the hipster market for each other, and trading child care and having playdates and running craft workshops and lectures and doing yoga and canning together etc etc etc. (OMG, why did I leave again?) but it was still a lot of work to be there in all that and still I wanted MORE of a village, and MORE of a connection with these mamas. (Plus it was unaffordable, and an inner city neighbourhood with a lot of addiction issues, and we had housing issues)
But then my bestie and I started hanging out more and more with our kids, and cooking meals at each others' houses for both families, and doing chores at each others' houses while we were there and I thought, yes, this is it. And that pretty much led to us living in this farmhouse with both families (minus her ex) here at the Ecovillage. Which really is a village, really and truly. This intentional community that I live in, their guiding principles are pretty much to live in the way that you guys have been talking about, and it's really awesome. I'm still integrating though, and I definitely don't yet have the connection with the other parents here that I had back in Vancouver, but I think we could get there. There are 30 kids here, and most, if not all, were raised with some kind of AP-ish philosophy. They are all the sweetest, most curious, passionate yet respectful bunch of kids that I know.
I'm laying it out like this because I think I'd taken for granted what I had, and have, and thinking about NOT having these parents in my life, well, I don't know where I would be. Kind of like working it out on paper message board. There are definitely lots of other kinds of struggles once you really start participating in community (boundaries, emotions, differences to name a few) and you really have to do a lot of TALKING, a lot of hashing things out and it can be exhausting. But so rewarding. I feel like I am learning more about myself every day, and growing. Being a better me. But it is sometimes easy to let these things overwhelm, and overshadow the benefits, because it really can be a lot of work (sometimes I just would like to go a day or two without having to delve into the depths of my feelings, you know? Or to not have to talk Ecovillage politics, or neighbours' business.) And well, living here with another family, I have been learning a thing or two about the need for space. This is why we are possibly moving out of this house, and into our own family home. Nearby.
And I have one suggestion for those of you looking for other like-minded mamas - just before we left the city, we were going to a nature-based outdoor playgroup called the Vancouver Forest Nursery (http://vancouverforestnursery.org/), and there I met the most amazing group of women (and men) yet. There is something about meeting together in the forest or on the beach or in a meadow or a garden that really brings the best of mamas (and papas, though mostly mamas) together, to be powerful together, and to make a community together. I really encourage you to search out something like this, and if there isn't one like it near you, to start one. It isn't hard. Just a Facebook page and maybe a weekly visit to the forest. Sonja, I sent you a link to the one my friend started in Victoria.
And hey, if Abra's South American village isn't your thing, how about an Ecovillage in Western Canada? We have 20 acres of farmland....