Reporting Sibila Vargas
HOLLYWOOD (CBS) — You probably have heard the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” and now a group of single moms are doing just that — combining families into “mommunes.”
Kristan Andrews and her 2-year-old, Madeliene share their Hollywood home with Dana McCants and her 4-year-old, Aubrey.
Andrews and McCants are two single moms, who decided in this tough economy to combine households and live together in a “mommune”
“In these days it’s a great option for people, who are having a hard time covering all the expenses by themselves,” Andrews said.
Advocates say “co-aboding” gives single moms the flexibility to split rent, utilities, food and babysitting.
These moms say they save $65 just on date night, when the other stays home to babysit.
“We call it monitor duty and it’s like get your own kid down and pass the monitor and, ‘I’m out’ and you can go and try and have a date and go and see friends,” Andrews said.
“We should do that more often though,” McCants added jokingly.
For McCants the low overhead of renting space in Andrews’ home has allowed her to cut back hours at work and devote more time to Aubrey.
“She was 2 and a half and it was either I go to work full-time or I have got to figure something else out,” McCants said.
“I was not looking for a roommate. I had just birthed one and that was enough to be dealing with,” Andrews said.
But after two years of co-aboding they could not be happier with their mommune living arrangement.
“It’s just an extended modern family,” Andrews said.
So how do you combine two families under one roof? Andrews and McCants say that sharing the same values is key.
Make sure you and the other mom are on the same page when it comes to religion, politics discipline and nutrition.
Andrews is a raw vegan chef and McCants is into juicing and they both feel their kids’ nutrition is a top priority
“I know that she’s not going to be feeding her junk food or watching a lot of television we have a lot of the same standards,” Andrews said.
When it comes to saving time busy moms, who co-abode, can share responsibilities like housekeeping, carpooling, bath time and meal preparation.
“But you don’t really have to be long-term friends to make this kind of arrangement happen. In fact, I know a lot of people who have moved in with their best friend and it was the worst thing that happened to their friendship,” said McCants.
Carmel Boss is the founder of CoAbode, an organization that matches single moms to form their own mommunes.
It all began 10-years ago when 18 single moms responded to her roommate-wanted ad. She picked one mom and matched up the others.
“I had 17 and this one has a three year old and this one’s got a two year old. I’m just going to call them and connect them and they were so incredibly thankful, that that’s when it hit me. I thought, ‘Oh my God, there’s got to be,’ I got to create this resource,” Boss said.
CoAbode is a free service and has 45,000 registered members nationwide – 7,800 in California.
The website’s extended questionnaire asks the awkward questions for you, like how much money you make, and…
“Drinking. How much do you drink? You know, do you have a boyfriend? How often do you have guests coming from out of town wanting to stay,” said Boss, adding co-aboding works if you do not rush into living arrangements.
She recommends spending quality time together before combining families.
Andrews and McCants are proof that it works if you follow your “motherly” intuition.
”It’s a fun thing to sort of explain to people, because it’s very modern and it’s very different. But it’s super positive and it totally works for us, Andrews said.
Andrews and McCants say their daughters’ fathers play active roles in their lives and are extremely supportive of their living situation.
For more information on CoAbode, visit coabode.org.