Life in Community

Work, Life, Kids

February 23, 2021 by

When it comes to the rights and claims of children and parents in a working world – rights that should not have to compete, but are all too often in full-bore tug of war – no one writes like Leah Libresco Sargeant, whose New York Times op-ed from last week is a case in point: “There is no intrinsic value to labor outside the home that raises it to a higher dignity than the work of parents or other caregivers within the home.”

child playing

This parenting tension is familiar to my own family, as we’ve lived by turns in suburban Americana and as part of the Bruderhof community movement. For the Bruderhof’s centennial book, Another Life Is Possible: Insights from 100 Years of Life Together, editor Clare Stober asked me about the most significant differences I saw between those two frameworks for family-raising while balancing work and home life:

My husband, Jason, and I took a three-year break from the community when our children were young. During that time we lived in rural Connecticut and decided to homeschool the kids. Jason found a good job so we had the means. I loved it, but I really missed my job and the adult conversations that are part of a normal work routine.
Now that we’re back, one thing I love is that a good work–life balance is built into our daily schedule. Whether you’re working in the communal kitchen, the workshop, or the publishing house, it’s a given that if your children need you, that comes first. If it’s time to nurse the baby, or if an older child is struggling and needs some time with mom or dad, off you go. You can really just leave.

Read the rest here.


About the author

Maureen Swinger

Maureen Swinger

Maureen Swinger is an editor at Plough Publishing House and lives at the Fox Hill Bruderhof in Walden, New York, with her...

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