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What is it like to parent as part of a ‘pod’?
It has its ups and downs. We’re more than 2, so we have more adult supervision, if needed. Moreover, we have an option at date nights almost any time we wish, in most any configuration you could imagine. Date night doesn’t always have to be fancy, just being able to sit down and have an after-work glass of wine and a chat while someone else takes the kids to bed is balm for the soul.
On the other hand, it means to manage more parenting styles. I guess we’re the opposite of a divorced family where kids get everything twice if they play their cards right. We have to arrange a lot more (thanks, Google Calendar), and communicate more to be on the same side of everything when it comes to educating, safeguarding, and parenting them.
The kids love it. There’s always someone who will play with them, always someone to ask for help, always someone to explain things. Since we all have our distinct circle of friends, too, and those people like to come by a lot with their kids. It’s never boring in the lodge.
Tonight, I bathed them (my fault, I let them help me make cookies, they looked like a gingerbread nightmare movie) while the ladies played Guild Wars 2 together and got dinner ready. While we ate (and shared stories, it’s the best time of the day for me), we divided up the chores for the week, I got slapped with an extra “remove all cookie dough from various sites in the house” one, and later someone will go on a date while we’re doing laundry. We’re a normal, happy, slightly more social, family.
The thing about us is that we didn’t start into this polysyllabic world of highbrow polypod parenting. We just let it happen, worked with the kids to not feel different (and if they did to see it as an amazing thing), and our circle of friends and the kids’ school friends see it as a good thing — largely because they see how happy the kids are.
A few weeks into school, a teacher asked us about the whole setup. We explained it as gently as we could, she asked if she could come by and see it (we’re not the first poly family in the school, but the others seemed to be worried to be judged and have essentially construed it as a veiled welfare check), and we let her.
When she came over, I was in the middle of building a life-sized Angry Bird level in the dining room, one partner was working from home, the other one was in the basement hanging laundry. She stuck around until after dinner, and since then has had nothing but good things to say about our form of parenting (always prefixed by “I couldn’t do this, this wouldn’t work for me, but…”).
Jonas Mikka Luster is a former cook, now walking around aimlessly for fun and some profit writing. His writing has been published by Slate, Forbes, and the Independent. You can read more from Quora here: