About a month ago, I read a FB post by a friend in the UK about “this stage of our life” which focused on the parenting role, along with the toll it takes on our lives (physically, emotionally & mentally) and the needs that we have as women. Those needs included asking for help, learning to accept the help offered; needing friends (and family), prioritizing quality time with your partner, embracing contentment, learning to say “no”; needing to pray, enjoying a glass of wine, etc.
And it rang so true that it has been on my mind for weeks and months. And was completely fitting with a blog post idea that I had last year about “how it takes a village” to raise a child. Even more so when you are an expat living thousands of kilometres (or on a different continent) from supportive family members. How your friendship base becomes your “new” family and how the smallest acts of kindness (sometimes even from strangers) can ease the load.
The Village concept is not just about “raising a child”, it is also about community spirit.
Thank you for connecting. Sometimes a mom needs a girls night out, sometimes she needs a girls night in, sometimes she needs a glass of wine in the bath and an early night and sometimes she needs a date with her partner. Sometimes she has time to talk on the phone and sometimes she takes 2 days to respond to a message. Sometimes she can attend events alone and sometimes she can only attend with a child firmly attached to her hip. Sometimes she can’t attend at all but the best village is one where the invitations don’t dry up completely.
Thank you for giving parents a break. At a recent party, I watched as a 7month old baby was carefully passed from one lap to another in order to give the parents an opportunity to sit down and enjoy a drink, some food and uninterrupted conversation with the person next to them. Granted, the baby is one of the most adorable, sweetest and most content infants that I have ever encountered, but the fact that people were more than willing to “hold the baby” for a few moments (without being prompted), said more about them than it did about the young one. It made me proud to say that they were part of “my village”.
Thank you for helping hands. Not everyone is a fan of drooling, pooping, milky breath miniatures. But when a friend steps in to stay with your child for 40minutes while your husband needs to leave for work and you are rushing back from the airport after a business trip, they become a lifesaver. Same can be said for the friends who arrive at your front door with a ready-made meal and no intention of wanting to “visit”, knowing that your world is currently in absolute chaos and only wanting to ease the burden.
Thank you to fellow moms. You have become the lifesaving jacket on what sometimes feels like a sinking ship. Whatsapp conversations trading stories, advice or just providing a listening ear & support is the glue that helps me keep it together. Sharing fears & worries, but also rejoicing in the funny & joyous moments together. It doesn’t matter if we have differing parenting styles or opinions, there seems to be zero judgment, 100% support and the Village mentality is strong. Plus “moms night out” has become a monthly affair to keep our sanity in check.
Thank you to family members (near and in our case… very far). You may not be able to pop over to visit or step in to help at moments notice, but you are always there to listen and provide virtual hugs and support.
Last, but definitely not least… enormous gratitude to amazing partners. Providing physical, mental & emotional support to the mother of your child(ren) is what really makes this village tick. Hats off to single parents because without my amazing HIM, I would fall to pieces most days… so you ladies are truly super-heroes! And my HIM… well, he knows how much I appreciate everything he does!
A shout out to all of you for being a part of MY village! There are no words to describe how much your influence, presence and understanding is appreciated. I might not always be fully present but I am fully aware of the effort that YOU put in.