Monday, June 13, 2011

Community and Children

It's the last week of school here, and summer looms on the horizon. The eternal whinging cry of, "I'm bored!" is likely to fill the air soon. The early weeks of summer don't have many programs or activities planned, are spendy, or involve that weird 2-3 hour segment of time that gives the parents exactly enough time to drive kid, drop off kid, and have no useful space to do anything before heading back to pick up the kiddo again. Whatever is a parent to do?

Well, it turns out that we aren't the only parents in the local poly community! In fact, when one parent posted for help with this on FB, several of us banded together to get some activities and social time on the calendar, sharing the joy of planning! We have several girls within a couple year age range that get along well, so that's helpful. One occasion will even involve social time for the kids while the adults are enjoying a poly discussion group! Another will free up S and I to have dinner with his parents prior to our wedding. A third will involve me taking a day off to enjoy my child and her friends socially.

The really wonderful part of this strategy is that it helps to diffuse the "My family is so weird, and no one else understands what it's like." idea by demonstrating that, not only are there other kids in other poly families, but that the concept of extended family and community isn't just something we talk about, but is actually happening. That, in absence of local family, programs etc, we are choosing to step up for each other, for them, to create a (hopefully!) fun and supportive environment.

I'd encourage each of you to plug in where you're at, with or without kids, to find some way, however small, to support others in your community in a practical way, socially or otherwise. Having gone from feeling daunted by the vast swathe of unplanned summer break stretching before me, to knowing that there are resources that I can both contribute to, and benefit from, has put me in a very optimistic frame of mind. Thank you to my co-conspirators in poly parenting!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Shared Time

For years now I've noticed that my happiest poly experiences involve partners who are comfortable with and enjoy sharing time with others important in my life. Yes, I absolutely enjoy and prioritize solo time as well, but someone who really likes to do things together with my child and my other partner(s) has a significant leg up on gaining additional levels of intimacy and access to my heart, among other bits. ;)

One of the things I've been enjoying lately has been watching the new HBO series, Game of Thrones with S, D and S's other partner, A. We'll do some BBQ, talk about things of import in our lives, and snuggle on the couch together while enjoying the complex storyline of the show, along with the T&A often found in such HBO originals! There's a bit of racy energy, but it's more a companionable vibe that is building appreciation of each other as individuals, the ties shared with mutual partners, and that extended family thing that is so deeply satisfying to me.

Some conversations are deeply personal, and the openness and trust shown is intimacy-building for me. While I have many community connections, letting people in closer feels more risky, so being able to take these little steps together, one meal, one episode, one hug, one discussion at a time, eases those fears.

People wonder how to build compersion? This is where it's at for me! Expend the time and energy to get to know your metamours. Start with happy healthy relationships, find something enjoyable for everyone to do together, and enjoy the fallout. Shared time isn't for everyone, but for those of us who like a more extended family or close community model of poly, it's an important building block.