“It takes a village.” I’ve heard that so many times! At one point I was so sick of hearing that saying. My husband and I still joke about it. But in all honesty, we know how very true this statement is.
My husband and I are extremely lucky to have so many people that love our kids! I couldn’t have hoped for anything more than the support we have. Our children are so loved, and they love so many people. I never want to take for granted the village we do have, because I know there are so many people who have little or no support.
My biggest struggle sometimes can be relying on this village of mine, and asking for help. Let’s be real. It’s hard to be a parent, and doing it alone is so much harder. So why try to do something by yourself? There’s nothing to prove. Really. Unfortunately, I’m still learning this, and it’ll probably be an ongoing learning process. To those who have figured it out, you are steps ahead! Keep it up!
For those of you who read my previous post, you know I learned something about toddler development and bicycles recently from my mother-in-law. That day yielded a lot more in learning to share the load. There are so many things my husband and I want to do with our children, and we had big plans to introduce pretty much everything to our son J. We had expectations of ourselves to find time for all these firsts, despite our ever so busy schedules. We also had expectations that everyone who cares so much for our kids would know we wanted all these first time experiences. And then our eyes opened. Big time! We can’t do it all, nor should we! How selfish are we to not share these amazing experiences with all the people who love our kids?
Sharing doesn’t mean we can’t experience things with our kids. In fact, it means that we will actually be able to enjoy things more, because there will be less stress. J will learn to ride a bike. He will learn from several people. And he will have memories of these experiences that will carry him through his life. He will learn that there are people who love him, and will form strong attachments in life. And when it comes time for A to learn new things, such as bike riding, she will experience the same.
For a year now we have talked about signing J up for swimming lessons, and for a music class, because he loves music! I turned down a request for his grandma to take him to music classes over a year ago. I reached out a few weeks ago and asked her to do this with him. We want to get him started while he’s young, before it’s too late. He’s going to take guitar lessons! We may not be the ones to take him to these classes, but we will help him practice at night, and we will see his concerts. He’s also going to play soccer with other 3 year olds! My husband loves soccer, and will be doing this with him. We also will invite others who want to be a part of this, because J will want to share with everyone, and so will we.
In sharing the load, and asking for help, you might actually get some self-care in. It is so important to find a little time for yourself. And if you are in a relationship, it’s important to find time to nourish it. It’s true what they say, you must take care of yourself before you can truly take care of others. Whatever that may be, find a little bit of time. And rely on that village to help you with that. You can even do this by creating a bond with another family, one you can trade off with. My sister-in-law will come watch our kids when we need, and we take my beautiful niece when her and her husband need. And our kids win! They get Auntie and Uncle time, and cousin time! It makes my heart so full seeing the kids together, and getting to cuddle my niece.
Sometimes your village isn’t close enough to babysit, or take the kids to soccer practice. But the moral support is just as important. I can’t tell you how much just talking to someone who cares is a massive help! And having your children talk to these people on the phone can remind your children how big their world is, and how much they are loved. People who take the time to listen to you in tough times, and who want to share in your children’s experiences long distance, are so very important! And technology today helps us connect in ways that weren’t possible when we were children. We can FaceTime, or Skype, we can send text messages and share photographs online. And did you know there’s a video texting app? We recently learned about this, so now J can video text his cousins in Arizona! It’s so awesome!
So where am I going with this, besides all my recent self-growth? Well . . . It’s about the village. If you have people in your life ready and willing to be a part of your lives and your children’s lives, embrace it! Include these people, and relinquish some of your “to-do’s” to this support system. Discuss your hard times with others, so you can get advice, and really get reassurance that you are doing a good job. It is so empowering to ask for help, and create a healthier, more rewarding life, for your kids. Reaching out to those in your village really helps the growth of your child. It helps you grow as a parent too! And it gives you the time to rejuvenate and move forward as a parent as your best self. So if you have a village, big or small, reach out to them today. Tell them how much you love them, and let them know how very much you appreciate them. I know I will, because I know I don’t tell them enough.
To my village: I love you! You help me grow daily, and support me no matter what. You are amazing!