Their raucous house in Seattle, Washington, is rich with the voices of girls and women. There is mom, Brooke, and her two young daughters Ava and Rachel. There is aunt Danielle, who is in the midst of a divorce and has helped raised the children from birth. And there is friend Victoria, who does what she can to hold together the organized chaos, when she's not studying to be a therapist or working as a nanny.
People sometimes balk at their arrangements, and claim they're not giving enough structure and boundaries to the kids. To that, Victoria scoffs, "I swear, these children certainly have a better understanding of relationships, community and love than I ever did as a kid. In an ideal world, our home would have a stronger male presence, but I'm so proud to be a part of this family."
The adult women jokingly call themselves a "virgin partnership," meaning that they glue their home together with platonic love and a commitment to make their family work. And I have to say that as a single mom who often feels the crushing responsibility of managing on my own, a virgin partnership sounds pretty amazing. The house has rules that are hard and fast, and each woman and child is given freedom to pursue their interests wholeheartedly. "Danielle is an artist, Brooke is a mom of two young kids and I'm in grad school," Victoria explained. "There's no way we could live the lives we want — with our limited incomes — without working together towards a common cause."
So, what is their common cause? Ultimately, it's providing stability and love to two little girls who wouldn't have financial or relational stability without each woman's influence. "Each day of the week is assigned a POP — or a "parent on point" — so the girls know who is in charge and responsible for fun, discipline, dinner and bedtime," Victoria said. "The girls know exactly what to expect. If we ever think that they need more masculine fun than we can provide, we schedule group play dates with our guy friends or Danielle's ex-husband."
Quirky? Sure. But this kind of arrangement, complete with silliness, community and shared responsibility, sounds like a breath of fresh air to the dreary world of single parenthood. Now, excuse me while I go find a virgin partner.
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