months I lived the same sort of busy working-mother-life until my children were 2½ years and 16 months old respectively. During this early period of motherhood, I realised I was working from out of a combination of personal frustration with the marriage I was in, (where my occupation was a way of not having to feel house-bound and submissive), plus the financial pressure of big city living and saving for a house.
Between those 2 babies and the next, there was a break of nearly 5 years, during which time separation from their father gave me the oppor-tunity to start a different style of motherhood by moving to the country, of becoming self dependent, and of spending the time fully with my boys. For the first year I enjoyed total immersion in mothering but after a while financial concerns, along with a degree of domestic frustration, took me into the realm of 2 days a week work for the next 2 years.
By the time of my next pregnancy I was a single, self-employed, small businesswoman, with 1 boy at pre-school and 1 at primary school 5 days a week. 4 months before my 4th baby was born, I sold the shop and made the move to a yoga community. After my first homebirth there (and the moment of revelation to start writing this book), I decided that mothering and working away from my children were a mismatch for me.
During the next 6 years, in which I had 2 more babies, my life was de-voted primarily to the needs of my children, Between being heavily pregnant and newly post-natal, I managed to run the farm's produce distribution business and fit in some casual yoga teaching at home and around the local district. It was so lovely to have "the best of both worlds" where my kids were close by as well as to have a creative and satisfying job I did not have to commute for! More importantly, I am sure my home-based life benefited the children greatly. Over the years, the number of them at school and pre-school grew from 2 to 4, gradually allowing me more time to focus on my yoga teaching and writing endeavours.
Today, some 3 years after the disbanding of that community I am still in the country, sharing a property with some friends. I am still working from home, still teaching yoga in the towns near where I live, but I've now finished writing the book!
As mentioned in Chapter 6, I have made a major mothercare and life-style decision not to send my kids out to be minded when I need it, but to live with people who can share in my mothering life and swap favours for looking after my children in their own home. This has given us all enormous flexibility and preserved what I consider to be those important elements of closeness to mother and familiarity of environment in their early years.
For me, communal living has provided so many benefits over the nu-clear family model. From prehistoric times, parenting has always been based on tribal models and, up until only 100 years ago, the extended family model was the norm in all Western cultures. This way of life still exists in some areas of Europe, not to mention Asia, Africa, the Americas, and elsewhere. Small or large, group living seems to me to be the way nature has evolved us to best look after our young (and our old) - as well as to have opportunity for a life on the side. So, if you don't have a real extended family around you on a day to day basis, my suggestion is to set about making one!
Looking back on those different phases of my life, I can see now how the goals and priorities I set for myself all affected the way in which I set up my mothering model. When my goals were to escape the house, the crum-bling marriage, or to live the