It takes a village to raise a child.
It takes a village to keep a child safe. It takes a village to keep a child supported. It takes a village to keep a child healthy. It takes a village to keep a child educated, confident, and optimistic.
It takes a village to help a child grow.
There is no doubt that this is a principle that is understood and followed by many. Community programs, extra-curricular school activities, and sports campaigns alike are facilitated with one goal in mind: to help with the raising of a child in a positive way through experiences, examples, and education. Communities band together to ensure that their children are receiving everything that they need. Our society is becoming more and more conscious of delivering to our children the tools that will enable them to be positive, productive adults.
Taking care of children is a massive job, and should never be intended for one or two people solely. Having support from people other than the child’s other immediate caregiver is crucial to their development. It allows them to see the world from perspectives that the parents cannot necessarily offer them.
Society has proven to have an invested interest in taking care of our future generations. There is constantly new research focusing on how we can raise our children better; to help them reach their full potential by utilizing parental skills and abilities, as well as seeking out skills and abilities from members of the community. The passion that is being shown towards our children is incredibly heartening. Parents can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they aren’t the only ones who feel as strongly about the care of their child as they do.
It is simple to reach out and look for assistance when it comes to seeking what’s best for your child, as programs are advertised and easily accessible for the most part. However, what happens when it isn’t the child who needs to find support. What happens when it’s the mother? Who is responsible for her? Where is her village?
The transition into motherhood is quite possibly the most difficult transformation a woman will ever experience. From the moment she discovers that she is growing life inside of her she becomes forever changed. Her physical self experiences a change that is beautifully, awesomely incredible. Her emotional self shifts into the beginning of her role as a nurturer. Her mental self shifts and prepares to say goodbye to the woman she formerly knew as herself, for once she becomes a mother she can never go back.
The journey of motherhood is a challenging one. It is one that requires that a mother feels safe. It requires that a mother feels supported. It requires that a mother feels healthy. It requires that a mother feels educated, confident, and optimistic.
A woman cannot provide all of these things for herself.
It’s presumptuous to say that a woman will have the support of her partner and family when she has a baby. Difficult circumstances can dictate the help that a woman will receive from the people who theoretically should be closest to her, although that doesn’t diminish the necessity of her needing to find her foundation of support. Being a mother is a tough job. Actually, it’s a really, really, REALLY tough job that nobody should be doing single-handedly.
Children don’t come with any sort of manual. There is no one parenting book that has all the answers. What worked for one child may not work for the next. For a mother to effectively parent, and to be able to find the things that work best for her and her child she needs to be rested and healthy. This isn’t always as easy as that sounds. Mothers tend to be workhorses. They get up at night with the children. They wake up with them in the morning. They cater to their demands and needs throughout the day. They take care of the housework. They cook the meals for the family. They take care of the things on to-do lists. They take care of everything else but themselves, even though self-care should be high on their list of priorities. Eventually, she may begin to feel run down and overwhelmed. She may begin to feel alone, perhaps even hopeless. She might begin to think that feeling this way is the norm. She may even begin to question her abilities as a mother.
That’s when she needs her village.
Finding a village as a grown woman can be tricky. As kids it’s easy enough to find someone on the playground, go up to them, and ask them if they wanted to be your friend. Adults don’t have the luxury of such carefreeness. Our insecurities and fear of judgment keep us reserved. Fortunately, there are many options around simply approaching someone and asking them to be your new best friend. Just as there are many community programs oriented towards the development of children, there are also many community programs oriented towards the development of parents. Checking in with local elementary schools or a downtown association for community living (or the alternative in each city) can give insight into where one may find these programs. Joining social media groups that are set up for each city can help provide not only information regarding where some of these programs are available but also a sense of community in an online forum.
The relationships that come of either physical or digital interaction can become invaluable. For a woman who is trying to navigate her way through the day to day rollercoaster ride that is raising children, the relationships that she builds with other women experiencing the same struggles, joys, fears, excitement, and every other emotion imaginable, can be her saving grace. Having the support of other women who have advice to offer or can lend a helping hand or listening ear can be the driving force behind a very effective mother. Having a village can help a mother in learning the skills necessary to take care of her children the way she wants to. A village can provide childcare when that mother needs a break; whether it’s for a personal doctor appointment or some much needed time at the spa. A village can help a woman when she’s dealing with a hardship and needs a helping hand to get through it. A village can offer friendship, guidance, and, most importantly, long-lasting memories.
A village can raise a mother.
Raising our mothers. Helping them grow. Supporting them. That will cycle back to our children. Ensuring that the best care that they receive is coming from their own homes is the best thing that our society can do for the smallest members of our communities. Supporting mothers and their children establishes a foundation of love and nurturing throughout homes and communities. A foundation will develop over the years to come and will help strengthen the smallest members of our communities when some of them grow up and become mothers themselves.
A village can raise a mother, to raise a child, to raise a mother, to raise a child.
Find your village.
Cherish your village.