Have you ever heard the phrase, “It takes a village?” Until I became a mom, I never really thought about that phrase or the importance of it.
Before my husband and I were married, we talked about kids and what our plans for kids were. We decided that it was very important to both of us that if we could make it work, we would like for me to be able to stay home with our children during their early years. That was our plan, and when we had kids, we decided that was the best choice for our family. When our son was born, I resigned from my job as a teacher to start a new job as a “stay at home mom.”
While we knew this was the best decision for our family, my husband was a little concerned about me.
You see, I am an extrovert. I love talking to people, meeting people, socializing, etc. He was concerned about me not having the social interaction with others that makes me thrive. I assured him that I would be fine and would figure it out.
At the time, I did not realize how important it would be to have a “village” of other moms in which to raise our kids. No childbirth or baby class at the hospital tells you that. No one tells you how isolating it can be to be a stay at home parent. Don’t get me wrong–it is truly the best job ever. It is also the hardest job ever.
So how do you find your village? Where do you even go to meet other moms? Sometimes it takes the help of a good friend to introduce you to another mom. Sometimes it is going to a group or event where you know other moms will be.
If you want to find your village, sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone. As scary as that can be, the rewards can be so sweet.
As a first time mom, I began feeling sort of isolated. I really didn’t know anyone in the area who also had a young baby. When our son was two weeks old, I started going to a weekly breastfeeding support group at the hospital. This group was great to get help as a new mom trying to muddle through the art of feeding my child. Early on, there were times when it was just me who was there with the lactation consultant. I continued to go weekly, mostly to weigh our son to see how he had gained that week, but also to meet some other moms.
When my son was about two and a half months old, the group became bigger and I finally began to connect with other moms who were also going through the same feelings, struggles, and uncertainties as new parents. The same women continued to come week after week. With the consistency of the same people, I began to develop deeper interactions with these women. We laughed together, cried together, and supported each other through our struggles and triumphs of breastfeeding.
Before long, these women not only became people I saw on a weekly basis, but also became dear friends. They became my village.
We would meet for lunch at the mall, have playdates for our babies, and go to “Book Babies” at the library. We supported each other through all areas of being a mom and more.
The amazing thing about friendship is that one connection leads to another, and there is the potential to meet even more moms through them. When my son was about nine months old, a friend of mine also introduced me to a friend of hers who she went to high school with. Her friend (now my friend too) has a son almost exactly two months older than my son. Instantly, we became friends. We got our boys together to play. We realized that we were also struggling with the same sorts of things as moms. Now, we often joke that we were set up on a “mom blind date.” Through her I also met another friend who has a daughter a little older than our boys. All of these women have become my village.
In the past three-and-a-half years, I have learned so much as a parent. I have learned that it truly takes a village. I feel that with parenting, you may get one thing down and then something else comes up.
This village of moms can be a source of comfort, support, and reassurance as you deal with the art of raising kids.
If you are a first time mom, do not be afraid to reach out. Do not be afraid to go to mom events. As scary as that can be, the chances are there is another mom who may be there for the very same reason. They may also be going through the same things you are. When you can find that village, you can rest easy, knowing that you will not be judged or ridiculed. Instead, you will find support, love, and understanding, knowing that we have all been there. You are not alone. It truly takes a village.