It’s a big night for Polygamy, what with the [upcoming] finale of Big Love and the season premiere of Sister Wives. I’ve been watching Big Love for all 3 [no, 5] seasons—partly just for the guilty pleasure of seeing Chole Sevigny looking so aggressively un-hot—and while I’ve felt many emotions: pity, anger, disbelief…when imagining the plight of the sister wives, I consistently felt one thing when watching scenes about parenting.
Talk about having a Village. Other Mothers? Sure, I could imagine the competition is fierce. You think you feel bad when your kid loves on the babysitter? But polygamy requires a sort of shift in the idea of a single supreme connection in a marriage. Maybe that spreading out of love translates to the mother-child connection, too? It’s a scary thought, but think about what comes along with it. A network of women who truly are almost as invested in your children as you are.
I’ve had a few moments of communal living I’ve had as a parent, on vacation with other families, mostly. The vibe was always chaotic, but there was something that just made sense about it, an ease. There were always enough adults to go around, to cover all the bases and get everything done. And there was, therefore, no bickering about who was doing what and who had time to take care of whatever it was they needed personally. In a two parent family, self-sustenance is always in conflict with the conveyor belt of kids needs. Clearly a family with more parents has more responsibilities to divvy up. But knowing how it’s usually no harder to care for a group of kids than a single kid—and not much harder to make dinner for 16 than for 4, I do think polygamy might have some real perks to offer in the mothering department. Plus, think of the opportunities for the children. Forget playing Dad against Mom. With this many parents, there’s always someone you can manipulate!