Building Your Village
I read an article the other day that resonated with my very core. It is about how this mom misses the village that used to be so common for mothers of young children. I have felt the weight of mothering by myself and wishing that it was different. This article reminded me that it did used to be different. Maybe the fact that most mothers have to raise their children on their own is the reason for families choosing to have fewer children. They are overwhelming and when it is your sole responsibility to care for them, it can seem like a prison sentence. Then there is the fear of a stigma if you admit that that is how it feels. I met with a friend last week who had her second child three months ago. She asked me, in a moment of vulnerability, “Do babies make you hate your husband?” I laughed and admitted something out loud that I hadn’t before – babies make me hate my life.
Newborns are hard to deal with and when you have a toddler and a baby, phew, it is so exhausting. I am out of that stage now and can look back with more fondness for the baby stage than when I was in it but I think if I would have had a village, I wouldn’t have been so miserable.
America especially is surrounded with an air of independence.
“I DON’T NEED ANYONE!” we shout.
But we do. We need each other.
I have been a part of a group of women since February where we meet once every one to two weeks and discuss our lives and beliefs and where we want to go in the future. Most of us have similarly aged children and boyfriends or spouses that seem to be the same person. It has taken months to build but our relationships with each other are growing and life seems more bearable.
This past weekend, we had our families get together for the very first time. We as women tend to have a little bit of anxiety over how the guys will relate to one another and then we also had the children, ages 20 months to 13 years. There were 23 of us who hung out, had dinner together, then went to watch fireworks for the town.
It was WONDERFUL. Everyone got along fabulously, our children were entertained with each other the entire time and the adults got to know each other more. It was a village and I came home wanting to do it again the next day and the next day. It made me think that if I am to have another baby some day that I know I would be more supported and that I wouldn’t be alone. These people love me and they love my children, and I theirs. I fully believe that is how life was intended to be lived, in deep relationship, sharing life with each other.
As the fireworks went off and Oliver clung for dear life to me, I wondered how Maddy would handle me not being able to sit with her. However, she went from family to family, sitting with them, laughing with them, and just enjoying herself. That is what my children really need more than just me and their father. They need other kids and families that feel like their own and they won’t get that unless I make the effort to create our village right where we are.
We all need it. We need each other.
Do you and your family have a village? How did you create it?