When it comes to motherhood how often do we hear the phrase “it takes a village”? I used to think that that was a load of rubbish to be honest, I mean, all my kids need is me right? I still think that to an extent – I remember my mum, doing it alone, no help from anyone really and she was awesome. Now, however I’ve come to appreciate the village thing in a totally different way. While all my children need may well be me, having the extra people in their lives is a blessing – for all of us.
Let me just elaborate a bit further. No mother is, or should be, an island. Motherhood is tough, it’s exhausting and rewarding in equal proportions and on occasion totally unequal proportions. Sometimes it down right sucks and it’s a day to day struggle. That is when the “village” comes in from a mother’s perspective. Earlier this week we had a blow out with the tyre (thankfully there wasn’t even so much as a swerve) but I called my husband, who stayed with Edith and called my mum who came to help out and stay with the car while I took the boys to school. It meant not having two frustrated kids sat at the side of the road while I waited for the AA to come and collect me, and I was incredibly grateful that it happened on a day when they were both around… but I was grateful for something else too. My friends. I immediately got on the old blower and told my mama compadres that I had had a blown tyre on the way to school and although help was on the way, I was annoyed. Instant replies flooded in from our little group, suggestions, what they did in the same situation and “oh no, that’s shit” galore. It’s the same when the kid’s are poorly, mine or theirs, sometimes you just want someone to text who understands. To feel less isolation.
Funnily enough, this isn’t my only little group of mama friends, I have a few that surround me (though in fairness a lot of them are also bloggers who I only know in the virtual!) and I am eternally grateful for their support, even when they don’t know they are giving it. I think every mother goes through the phase of feeling lonely, and like they need to be that island – strong, unyielding and everyone’s safe haven… but it is one sure fired way to drive you to insanity. I think back to having my miscarriage before I was pregnant with Edith and I turned to my mum, my best friend Kate. Kate doesn’t have children but she is a certified member of my “tribe” and I felt that she would understand my heartbreak, my despair and my need to talk it through. She did, and though in that situation a problem shared is never really halved, it does help – it’s like comfort food for the soul to share and ask for support. At the time I didn’t have school mum friend’s like I do now, I didn’t have the baby group friends that I know I could talk to even though we aren’t close… but what I did have was people who loved me and wanted to help. So I let them.
I also think that the importance of the tribe is understood on more than just a personal level nowadays, especially with the power of the online world. The village becomes more, surpasses the ocean even and we have support networks all over the world through Facebook groups, whatsapp and so much more. Even the way that we shop has changed, with companies like The Baby Cubby taking a more parent – friendly, tribe approved style of shopping, with places to sit and have a cuppa in store with your friend’s while the kids play, or easy internet ordering with real people to talk to if you have a problem.
I really love the fact that, as mothers, we’re accepting that we aren’t islands and that we can make use of the social networks we have, whether they be virtual, filled with mum friends or just family members. Asking for help and sharing the stresses of raising another human being.
On top of the benefits of having a “mother tribe” allowing the proverbial village into the home can often feel like a slide of control for a mother (maybe that is just my control freakish-ness?). If you are like me then learning to co-parent with your partner and his different ways of doing things probably gives you a neurotic eye twitch from time to time, so adding in additional ways of doing things sounds like a nightmare. Grandparents, family friends, other parents, can all have such a wonderful impact on your children and their upbringing. Let the village in, just consider yourself the mayor when it comes to your child’s upbringing.
What are your thoughts on the motherhood tribe, the village and asking for help?