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Kate Hawkesby: A creative idea to help single parents

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Thursday, 19 September 2019, 9:17AM
Would an online matching agency for house shares - for a specific group of people, single mothers, work? Photo / Getty Images

Surely this is a great solution to our housing shortage.

I interviewed a fascinating woman yesterday out of the States, who’d come up with a concept which is proving a winner with single Mums.

It’s known as the Mommune, a commune for single mothers.

Founder Carmel Boss decided to create this co-abode living arrangement website, to connect single Mums after her own marriage ended and she needed to find a place to raise her son on her own.

She felt lonely in need of the ‘village’ it takes to raise a child, and wanted more than just a one bedroom flat in a dodgy area.

So she advertised in the local paper for another single Mum to share a home with, she got 18 replies.

Turns out other Mums were craving the same thing, the emotional support as well as the pooling of resources that comes with banding together with others.

Off the back of that, she created a website for house shares for single Mums and 17 years later, hundreds of thousands of Mums have signed up. They love it.

So could such a concept work here?

Would an online matching agency for house shares - for a specific group of people, single mothers, work?

What about single Dads?

We already do it for students and flatties, so why not single parents too?

I like the idea. Especially given our housing shortage.

Critics have said it’s strange, that it's a bit weird.

Why though? The Mommune concept founder cites the benefits to the families involved which has been huge.

She said it was better for the kids to have buddies to play with, better for the Mums who got more support.

The support wasn’t just emotional either, Mums got more financial relief being able to share the load, they got extra time given they could share chores, they got to live in better bigger houses maybe even with a backyard, they got to feel safe, and for many it curbed the feelings of isolation or loneliness after a divorce.

The other reason I like the idea is because it further challenges our stigmas around what the family structure should look like, it breaks down barriers and it promotes connection.

If we’ve learnt anything, it’s that isolation and loneliness is a huge contributor to negative mental health stats.

The struggle for many single parents is real, not just women of course, also men.

But the idea of a Mommune makes sense to me.

Previously isolated parents sharing the very real and raw journey of raising kids.

Sharing not just the load and responsibilities but also the joys.

It depends I guess on who you’re house sharing with – but it seems like a good idea to me.

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