I will be honest I did not grow up with a village. I was the kid that moved around and everyone else already had thier friends and support system (usually in the form of family all around). I honestly did not know what that phrase meant until I had kids, then I realized I wanted a village, because raising kids is hard work and lonely with no village.
It took me a while to write this post because I had such a negative feeling about the “village”. For me poeople that would say that already had support. They were are blessed to come by that support from a child on up. I had people tell me with my kids….”.it takes a village”…..only to ask for help and/or advice and have them look at me and shrug their shoulders. I was beyond frustrated, but slowly I realized I needed to change 1. My perspective and 2. Ask the right people.
I had read an article in the popular “scary mommy” posts on facebook about another woman who was envious of “the village” and I could just feel the anger pouring off of her in her post. Rightfully so folks, it is a scary, hard, lonely place to be when you do not have anyone to turn to but yourself. And, damn it, sometimes, just sometimes, something should be easy, right?
So I had to ponder on this for a good 6 months to put this in perspective for me and maybe just be a little forgiving of myself and others (because after all there must be something wrong with me because I have no village, right?).
This is what I concluded, I have to make my own village….easy ….no…..do I need to ask for help?…..yes….do I like to ask for help?….um no, not this self reliant chick (lol). So to all you Moms out there, it will not be easy to build a village, but here are some pointers on how to start.
ASK FOR HELP. Yes, asking for help does not mean you have failed in some way, it means you just need freaking help. We all do, get over it and ask. And FYI do not be offended if someone says no, it takes a strong person to admit when they are unable to help, because - guess what we all really want to help!
HELP others. Yes you may be struggling, but you are not struggling in everything, something that comes easy to you, fill that gap for another Momma. Be each other’s strength. Forgive your weaknesses.
ACCEPT help. When some one offers, good God momma - say yes! And dont be ashamed! I had to learn to do this when my husband had to be gone for months. I accepted help from other momma’s in the forms of meals. It was so amazing and meant so much more than those mom’s could possibly know.
LEAD. Sometimes you have to get the ball rolling. Believe me there are other Mom’s out there just like you. Check on each other, help, show up. Doing something for someone else helps your sanity too, believe me.
REALIZE we can not all help each other in the same ways. It is NOT a quid quo pro system. Your strength may be in organizing , another in follow through, another on wrapping up. Focus on what you CAN do, not what you or others CANT do.
FORGIVE yourself for the things you can not do and move on. Let go of the fact that you do not live close to a built in support system and be honestly happy for those that do.
Build your village Momma and be proud of being the self reliant person you are. However do not let self reliance become a crutch. You know you can do it if you have to, but accept help when it comes. We are all in this together!
And realize Mommas people WANT to be your village you just have to let them. Even if they have to do it from 3 hours , 6 hours, or half a world away away, they are doing what they can for you!
We all struggle with something, just be there, have an open heart and be the awesome Mom your kids love.
April of Running Mom Photography