"It's a community of moms living together under one roof … helping each other raise children together," Kristin Batykefer said explaining the meaning of "mommune."
Kristin Batykefer and Tessa Gilder, two moms, have been friends for several years and have shared some of life's most significant experiences, including living together as college roommates over a decade ago and even going through pregnancy at the same time. But the two went through one of the most difficult times of their lives together too: divorce.
Batykefer and her now-four-year-old daughter began living with her family friends and empty nesters, Cleta and Ben in July when Batykefer was going through a divorce. Gilder called her a few months after her move to tell her she was also going through a difficult time in her marriage and would be divorcing her husband. That's when she recommended Gilder and her two children, now four and one, move in with Cleta and Ben.
"At first, I was just like, 'No, I'm not. I can't move back to Florida. Like, that's insane. I'm in Colorado,'" Gilder recalled to Good Morning America, adding, "I had a very successful business, a salon that I had opened, and it just kind of felt like I was leaving behind a lot and it was really scary."
But the more Gilder thought about the offer, the more she realized that what Batykefer had—a supporting "village"—was exactly what she was seeking. Batykefer refers to her unusual living situation as a "mommune," a phrase she learned from a coworker. "It's a play on mother and community," Batykefer says, adding, "It's a community of moms living together under one roof … helping each other raise children together."
Like other single parents, Batykefer and Gilder said they had to think about their families' financial situations. In addition to its numerous advantages, living in a "mommune" has provided them with a financial safety net as they both struggle to complete their own legal divorce proceedings. "I just felt like I would have that support and that family unit and that village that everybody talks about, like, it takes a village [to raise a child]," the mom of two said.
Although the idea of sharing a home with your entire family may seem frightening, Batykefer and Gilder say it has worked out well because Cleta and Ben take the time to care for them and their kids. "We all help each other with the kids. We also all help each other with cleaning up the house or making dinner ... and we make each other coffee in the morning. We just love to support each other."
Living in a "mommune," according to both Batykefer and Gilder, has helped them move forward during a time of uncertainty in their lives. "In the midst of feeling so alone and so hurt in my situation, I was reminded that there are good people in this world and they just continuously, every day, show up that way," Gilder continued. "I feel very fortunate to know them."
Batykefer added, "Now I'm like, 'Oh, I don't ever want to give this up for anything ever again.'"
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @beachykefer