When we moved into our new home two and a half years ago, it was considered our “5-7 year home”. We’re close to halfway through our allotted time frame, and I’ve completely thrown that decree out the window. I’m never leaving. The number one reason why? I love my neighbors and the “village” of amazing people that surround my family and me.
Each individual in my life brings something new and unique to the way I view other people and the world in general. I recognize that not all people are extroverted social butterflies, but to simply reach out in the slightest form, generally reaps the benefit of others reaching out in return. I like the idea that what we put out into the world we receive back. So, why not put out as much good as possible?
I’m at home and I’m able to do so much to help others throughout the day that I wouldn’t be able to do if I were working. So I make it a point to say yes as often as possible. Simply because I’m able to.
Watching a neighbor’s kids while they attend appointments, or run into a crunch of any kind is pretty much in my job description. Why? Because I occasionally need help too. I never know when I’m going to run into a predicament that I’m going to have to rely on a neighbor or friend to help me out spur of the moment. So, of course I’m going to say yes when I’m asked, and of course I’m going to have kids over for playdates when I know they are needed on another parent’s part.
There’s a bit of an unspoken comradeship between parents. We need each other. We need each other’s service, kindness, and selflessness. We need each other’s love, support, and understanding. We need each other’s advice, suggestions, and opinions. We need validation. We need reassurance. We need a hand when things get rough. We need companionship.
We need other villagers.
How refreshing is it that we are not the first, last, or only moms going through what we’re going through? There have been decades of frustrated mothers when a freshly folded basket of laundry gets knocked to the floor. I’m positive our ancestors grumbled under their breath when their two year old defiantly and deliberately disobeyed. Meltdowns in grocery stores? I think that’s a given. People like me who refuse to do the grocery store outnumbered by children? I think so! And there’s no way I’m the only mom who pulls out the iPad at 4 p.m. because sometimes I just can’t do one more hour. I bet our grandkids will frequently be fed to sleep because there’s not a single other way to calm them down. And years and years from now, I can guarantee there’s a mom who hasn’t slept in days who takes comfort that so many women before her have been through the same thing.
That’s kind of just how parenthood goes. You win some and you lose some. And when it feels like you’re losing a lot, maybe it is time to utilize the village around you. Ask for help, even if it’s hard and uncomfortable. Serve someone else to step outside of yourself and your own problems for a second. Observe and realize that you’re doing exactly what everyone else is doing: the very best you can.
There is SO much beauty in the messiness of parenting! Why else would we still be having babies and more babies? The peace and innocence a newborn brings into a household is a tangible thing. The satisfaction of a toddler learning new things every single day is overwhelming. The LOVE children bring into our lives is just about as rewarding as it gets, so of course we want to participate in parenthood, even with the hard times. Thankfully, the good outweighs the bad exponentially.
Some days I feel like I have it figured out, and other days I’m grateful to see another mom down the street struggling to get her kiddos into the car, just like I am. I’m not alone in this. So who am I to stay so very consumed in myself and my issues, when I could be reassuring someone else that they’re not alone in this either?