In a culture that glorifies being able to “do it all,” parents have been left to wonder if it still “takes a village” to raise a child. If so, does this “village” still exist in today’s world? I’ll save you some time here and get to the point. Yes, it takes a village to raise healthy and happy families. For those who have yet to experience it, there is a village out there waiting for you. The difference for the 21st century “village” is that you need to put intentional energy and effort into building your village. This village can be created to meet the unique needs of your family. I’ve found that these categories below is a great place to start.
- Passion Partners: These people are your go-to partners in crime in whatever is your thing. They aren’t necessarily parents but share your interests (fitness, activism, work, etc). These friendships will feed your soul and be a reminder of your identity outside of being a parent.
- Parent Pals: These are the fellow parents you spend child-free time with over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. You are able to vibe over parenthood (amongst other things) and know you are not alone. I find that these friendships help to put things into perspective and remember this is truly just a season in life that will pass you by all too quickly.
- Playdate Parents: Your kids can play well together while you chat and enjoy the company of another adult who gets it.
- Community Crutches: These are formal organizations that offer supportive programs for families such as mom groups and play groups. Luckily, we live in a community with many of these available. Check out our guide here!
- Caregivers: This is your “line up” for who you contact when you need some adult time or date night. Even if you do not utilize them often, knowing that they can be counted on is mentally beneficial.
There is SO MUCH information accessible via the internet. It is easy to click or follow content that feeds negative perspective. Opt for content that inspires you, shares positive messages, and provides a supportive environment. Whether it be an Instagram account, podcasts, or Facebook GROUP.
Building your village absolutely cannot be done without being vulnerable. Think back to the people who are closest to you. It’s likely that your deepest connections are with the people who have been with you through some stuff. Makes sense, right? Vulnerability is required in tough, strange, or intense shared situations. Opening your heart allows space for someone else’s warmth and love to seep in. Through vulnerability, you can connect with someone more deeply in a matter of minutes than surface level relationships that last years.
It is just not realistic or enjoyable to “do it all” by ourselves and, if anything, it’s lonely. The need for connection and belonging comes from a place deep down within ourselves. Have you ever seen a friend struggling and gotten the urge to do something but didn’t know how? That’s the feeling I’m talking about. People yearn to help one another and want to help you. Leaning on others makes you a healthier individual and parent. It also frees up your energy to pay it forward and help others who need you.
Resources: For more information and resources on the importance of connection with others check out these books:
For more on the importance of being vulnerable, check out Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead