Monogamy is great. I like knowing that my man is mine and that I am his. But I won't lie; I have hypothetically considered alternative lifestyles as I've tried to deal with the pressures of this life. For entertainment purposes only let's explore my options:
Polygamy: one man married to multiple women. I know this would not work. How is my DrH going to find more than one woman to do this? The cat fights over what little available time he had would be deadly. But from the first wife's perspective (because of course I would be the one in charge) it would be nice to have some extra help around the house. There was a moment during my trip last week when I was visiting with my sister at another sisters house. It's a beautiful home with kids running all over the place. We were sitting in the living room (the three of us) with 15 kids (in all fairness two were the neighbors kids). I wondered if this is what it would be like, minus the man problems? Wouldn't it be great to always have someone in the house if you needed to run an errand without having to get a babysitter? Wouldn't it be fantastic to have another adult to talk to during the day that would know exactly what you are going through? Wouldn't it be awesome to share your household responsibilities so you didn't have to do them all? I can see it now: a chore chart with the cooking, cleaning, child watching, car pooling, and laundry divided between a few people instead of just me. Yeah, I might be able to do that... minus the man part.
Bigamy (I mean Polyandry:-): one woman married to multiple men. Now this might be something I could endorse. I already have it planned, but my version really is more like cloning the husband I have right now and infusing his clones with special skills and extra time. I need one to bring home a paycheck, I technically already have this one. But, he wouldn't have to be conflicted over the time he spends at work - stay as long as you need. I need another with handyman skills that can take care of the house, cars, and yard. That would take up a big chunk of time. Another with a sweet romantic side that will take me out and spoil me. This one would only need to show up for duty evenings and weekends. So really, I only need two more than I already have. That should be doable as long as they don't expect anything from me.
Communal Living: families sharing their resources and living in close proximity. This may be the best option with the highest level of viability. It could be a compound with several homes, or just a common street. There are places in the world where the parents and their adult children live not just in the same town, but on the same street, or even next to each other! I would love to be that close to my parents and my sisters. Right now, because they already live to close to each other, they probably wouldn't go for moving any closer. I'd have to really convince them that it would be in their best interest (rather, my best interest).
And here is where it all culminates. I want to share my life and my children with my family. I want my kids to know their aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. I want to feel the comfort of a safety net - the one that rises to meet you when times are tough. I want to know what it's like to live with a support system that is committed to being there for each other. My sisters who have lived in relative closeness for their entire lives, might disagree with my views. I know it wouldn't be bliss all the time, and that I would probably want to get away for a while, but that is what makes it so perfect! If I needed to get away I could because I could count on them (hopefully). They really don't know how good they have it. I see all the positives, they see the negatives.
We leave home and attempt to recreate our family with strangers and people we've just met. Some people are more successful at this than others. In the end, you cannot replace your family, and the only way you find that out is when you leave home. So what am I supposed to do?
If I were asking my mother that question her reply would be that having some extra money will take care of all the things I need. If I had the money I could hire a babysitter or a nanny. If I had the money I could hire someone to take care of the yard. If I had the money I could hire a handyman to take care of the little things that go wrong at the house. If I had the money I could visit whenever I wanted.
I am disappointed that money seems to be the answer to so many problems, but it is true. It is much harder being away from your family when you don't have much because you rely on them for the things you have to pay others to do. If we were near home and had a problem with our cars/house my father in law would be the first one to look at it, and in most cases would be able to fix it and we would pay for parts only. If I needed a babysitter or wanted to get out town for the weekend, my mother, mother in-law, or sisters would be able to watch the kids. If we lived near home and a grandparent passed away we wouldn't have to buy airline tickets.
I wonder if anyone has done a study on the cost-savings of living near family? It would be interesting. I am guessing that I could save a couple thousand dollars a year if I lived near them.