“It takes a village to raise a child”
We’ve all heard the quote and probably uttered at some time when seeing a throng of friends and family surround and support their band of children. I’m not sure I really understood the quote until I had my own kids, and promptly realized… I am village-less.
As a working woman and an older mom I never quite got the time (or the rhythm) of making “mom friends”. I was disconnected from that world until I entered it and by then, it was probably too late. I tried, but always fell short and sort of decided I was better off on my own. I’m not sure I still stand by that decision, but… why is making adult friends so dang difficult?! That’s like a whole other blog post right there.
I was born into a small family and married into a small family. We are spread across the state and now, even across the country. The grandparents are still working for the most part, save for my father who is ill and not capable of care. A few short weeks after I had B, the hubbs went back into law enforcement and so commenced the long shifts, opposite schedules and physical and mental exhaustion. So it has been left to me. To mother, to parent, to raise, rebuke, correct, educate, cook, clean and every other task that composes life. And it is hard. Immeasurably hard and lonely.
I don’t have a sister to drop off the kids with so I can get a quick hair cut. Grandma isn’t around the corner to snuggle the boys while I get some room to breathe. There are no play dates, park outings or coffee dates with girl friends. There are long hours of work which are immediately proceeded by chaotic daycare pick ups, a wrecked home, empty fridge, endless To Do lists, frenzied bedtime routines, collapsing in exhaustion and starting all over again at 5:45 the next morning. The hubbs fades in and out like a ghost who can sometimes lend a helping hand, but more often then not, is headed to bed or out to work himself.
Weekends are not filled with rich family time, but instead attempting to re-set my wrecked home, about 100 loads of laundry and dirty dishes and entertaining the little monsters long enough to squeeze in an overdue shower. There is no free time. No hobbies. No interests. No me time, or “self care” as it is now being called. Oh, how I desire some self care time!
Though this is not meant to be a long, feel-oh-so-sorry-for-me post and I am sorry if it’s coming off that way, it is my commentary on this village concept we are so quick to throw around but so short sighted to accomplish. Motherhood is part of that American Dream thing that everyone talks about. It was that thing that I longed for and that our society told me I needed in order to really accomplish anything in this life. But was it meant to be alone? Was it meant to be so lonely.
I read an article fairly recently that summarized what I feel on a daily basis, “Having It All Kinda Sucks.” Though my day to day experience is a bit different, the sentiment is very much the same. Except, I’m a lot less organized in my thoughts and I pretty much think this having it all stuff is complete BS. Yeah, I have a job, but we still have no money. I have a great husband, whom I rarely get to spend time with. I have two beautiful kids that I adore, but have lost my identity as I have tried to enrich theirs. I have a loving, wonderful family, but they are all managing their own crises’. I have a career, but don’t have the ability to dedicate myself to it because the greater responsibility of holding my family together. From the outside, I may look like I have it all. But having it all sure can seem empty at times.
I do think it takes a village to raise a child. It should take a village. I think that’s how God designed it to be. It’s just really hard to swallow that proverb when the actual model is not available to you.
I beg you, if you have the time, the availability and the compassion, lend a hand to a mother bird you see alone in her nest. She could really use a village. Be her village. And don’t ever take your village for granted.