It Really Does Take a Village

Be part of someone else’s family, and they will become part of yours.

There was a time in the not-so-distant-past when we lived less independently.  I don’t mean we relied more on government or schools, but on our extended family. 

Sometime after the industrial revolution the “nuclear family” became the norm as people moved away from extended family for economic opportunities.  Mothers stayed home to rear children while her male counterpart went out into the world to earn a living.

There was a time though when husband and wife worked the farm together, grandma rocked the baby between nursing, grandpa bounced the toddler on his knee while auntie taught the older girls to knead bread and big brother milked the cow.

This type of shared living rarely exists in modern times. The village available to help raise a child is dwindling. In many households both mom and dad work to make ends meet, grandma and grandpa live in Iowa, auntie is a photographer downtown, and big brother is at soccer practice. 

So now mommy goes to work, cooks meals, washes laundry, guides and disciplines the children, budgets the money, grocery shops, takes the kids to practice, does the laundry and cleaning. Tasks that were once spread throughout a family now rest solely on the mother and father. 

But we weren’t meant to “do it all”. Wanting, even needing help is normal, expected and altogether necessary. There will be times when you are not capable of tolerating another sleepless night. There will be days when the laundry pile is too daunting. There will be weeks when you forget to vacuum until you are crunching on dead leaves drug in from outside.

During these times, days, and weeks do not despair that you aren’t doing enough. Do not be afraid to call in for back-up. Just because your village isn’t family, isn’t living in your home or hasn’t offered doesn’t mean they aren’t willing. Often times grandpa is chomping at the bit to bounce that baby. Auntie would love to spend the weekend shopping with your girls and it’s about time to teach big brother how to use the lawnmower. 

Rally the troops, circle the wagons, ask for help. And if you have no built-in village comprised of family, make one.

Be part of someone else’s and they will become part of yours.  

Traci December 09, 2011 at 06:36 PM
your column is so refreshing and honest. I look forward to reading it weekly.
prettyflower December 09, 2011 at 08:00 PM
I am so thankful for MY village. :)
Emily McEntyre December 09, 2011 at 08:12 PM
Zombie Mommy Saves December 14, 2011 at 04:14 AM
Great post. I had to run an errand after the kids were in bed tonight. I called a neighbor. It takes a village!


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