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'Mommunes' bring moms together to share the burdens (and joys!) of raising a family

"Like ... a marriage, but without the romantic piece."

"Mommunes" are an old solution, with a new twist, for single moms seeking financial help and emotional support in raising children.

If it takes a village to raise a child, Carmel Boss is the somebody to bring the village together.

Boss is the founder of an online matching service called CoAbode. The nationwide organization connects single moms so that they can shoulder the responsibilities of a household together. She says traffic to her website is skyrocketing.

Speaking to Maria Shriver for an interview with TODAY, Boss explained that her idea grew out of personal experience. She found a match for herself after her divorce. She put up a notice and interviewed 17 single mothers, matched with one and decided to help the ones she’d turned down.

“I thought one’s got a 3-year-old, one’s got a 4-year-old, they live in the same neighborhood. I’m just going to call them back and introduce them to each other,” she explained.

According to Boss, CoAbode members have reduced household expenses by an average of 40% through sharing costs. More than the financial gains, the mothers gain companionship as well as more time to themselves — an average of 56 additional hours per month, she said.

“Two pain points that it resolves: the economic struggles that people are having, and then just the emotional, the disconnection that occurred the last three years in particular,” Boss explained.

According to CoAbode’s website, its youngest member is a teenager, while most are between 25 and 44 and come from a variety of different races, faiths and economic backgrounds.

According to a 2022 press release from the U.S. Census Bureau, 80% of one-parent families are headed by a mother, and 23% of them live below the poverty line.

"It can be a lonely and challenging time," Shriver noted on TODAY.

On social media platforms like TikTok, the term "mommunes" — a play on the word communes — has transferred into a hashtag featuring videos with millions of views, as people are fascinated by single moms banding together to raise their families under one roof.

Kim Naff and Crystal Terry are two single moms who live under one roof. They’ve lived together since 2019 and tell TODAY that they were inspired to move in together after going through divorces around the same time.

Naff tells Shriver that the emotional support she receives from Terry has made all the difference in raising her kids since her divorce.

“I didn’t realize that would be such a big benefit of it,” she explained. “There’s another adult here that understands what I’m facing, what I'm going through, like the component that you have in a marriage, but without the romantic piece. That has been huge.”