“It takes a village.”
We’ve all heard this adage, right?
It takes a village to raise a child.
After becoming a mom, I paid a lot more attention to this concept.
And as I was in the thick of raising young boys as a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM)…
As I was getting interrupted sleep nursing them…
As I was held hostage and feeling isolated during the nap-trap years…
As I was slowly losing my mind…
- Reading the same kids’ books
- visiting the same child museums
- changing the never-ending parade of diapers
- Preparing and feeding the never-ending meals and snacks
- (insert less-than-glamorous SAHM tasks here)…
Where in the hell is my village?
Where are the peeps that are supposed to help me and be a part of raising these cute little balls of boy energy?
Where are the folks to provide me some small break from all this SAHM action?
Now don’t get me wrong.
I did have some help in the very beginning.
My mom helped so much for those first few weeks after bringing each boy home from the hospital.
But then she had to go back home…. Across the state.
As with a lot of us SAHM’s, I didn’t (and still don’t) live in the same town as either set of parents.
Or aunts and uncles.
Or anyone I or my husband share DNA with.
We live where my husband’s job is.
So, no built-in local village lady – deal with it.
Looking back, as my boys are in elementary school now, I see that I was shortsighted on the concept of “the village”.
I assumed the only card-carrying members of “the village” would be family.
And you know what they say when you assume something.
Instead of setting the pity-party table for one, I should have been like a city planner and create “my village”.
I could have cultivated deeper local mom friendships to really be there for each other – where you are comfortable reaching out and asking for help, receiving that help and providing that help to others.
I should have pursued a strong connection with a trusted babysitter, or a few babysitters for that matter, to not only allow me more free time (for that all important self-care), but to expose my boys to someone outside of me and their dad that they could have learned from, trusted and enjoyed.
In contemplating where my village had gone, I realized I had totally sabotaged my village and it was more like a ghost town.
Looking back, I see that my thoughts drove my actions to not pursue the development of my village.
My thoughts to myself were…
“You are a stay-at-home-mom. It is your job to be every and anything to your kids. You are not allowed to delegate any of that out! Nobody would do it better than you anyway.”
“We are down to one income so that you can stay home and raise the kids. You shouldn’t spend any money on child care – you provide the child care. That is your job.”
I also didn’t really let my husband be as an integral part of “the village” as he could have been.
My thoughts were…
“He’s worked hard at work all day. I shouldn’t ask him to help just because I need some me-time. I’ll just power through.”
“I can’t take off for a few hours on a Sunday. He won’t know what to do with this baby!”
These thoughts lead me to overdo parenting.
To refuse his help.
To never ask for it.
To in effect, shut him out.
Yep. Total self-sabotage.
I didn’t know I was doing it then…
But I know it now.
So, I encourage all of you SAHM’s to examine your village.
It is healthy and robust?
Is it filled with a diverse mix of family and friends?
Do you reach out and connect with them frequently?
If your village isn’t thriving to your expectations, I encourage you to take steps to bolster it.
Having that village will not only help you and allow you some vital self-care time; it is also such a positive thing for your kids, your marriage and your life.
So, start cultivating your village.
Because it does, in fact, take one.
I’m here to help. Contact me.