I remember my first few months of motherhood like it was yesterday.  Everything was new and it was a colossal foreign realm — a mix of frenzy, fear and elation.  Then and now, do I still hear the well-intentioned words from people around me : “You need a break!” or the ever so famous: “It takes a village!”  Yes, it does take a village.  I can agree with that.  But what exactly is the village?  Only after my second child and a move far away from the most vital village I had, did I realize what the village meant.

“I felt alone. I didn’t have a village.”

Admittedly there have been many moments in my motherhood years that I felt so alone.  I envied the mothers around me with such a huge village.
The ones that were able to easily call up a friend or family member to watch their child for the evening or the one whose pal pops by with a large latte and some freezer meals.
Even the ones that could so easily get on the phone and pour themselves out to another that just understood them without any judgement.
I never related to other moms that were Instagramming their cheerful smiles, wine in hand surrounded by girlfriends on a Friday night or gathered together for stroller runs.
I was just never that mother.

Sometimes I felt like this was yet another thing I may have failed at in motherhood.  That fact that I didn’t build that village that I should have had.
I grew up with a smaller circle.  A small but a very mighty one.
I have a small family and my parents and my sister were my only real, true circle… my village.
When we moved to a new town, my village became a mere shadow in the distance.
It wasn’t as easy as it use to be to have a night alone with my husband or simply run out and pick up groceries without the children in tow.
And ME time?  If that meant getting in a quick bath or scoring a weekend hair appointment, then yes, that is the closest I could get to my me time.  And oh how I cherish those me times.  

I remember a mother at my daughters school telling me one time that she was so upset that she had to head out to run errands with her kids because her husband wasn’t available and nobody could babysit.  She was dreading it with every fibre of her being as if it was the most terrible thing in the world.  She told me she couldn’t last being alone with her kids for too long.

That was hard to hear.  I don’t know what she’s going through personally, and I’m never one to judge but really?  I’m with my kids almost 24-7 and although there are days they drive me up the wall (okay MANY days), I’m their mother.  It’s part and parcel of this very important role we play. I always remind myself that they are only little for so long and that one day they will not want to be around me so much.
Besides (and realistically speaking), I’m even lucky if I ever get to coordinate an agreed upon date for my parents to babysit for a few hours.  *sigh*
Maybe I was a little jealous that she was able to get that help very easily, but mostly, I was quite sad for her.  

“Not every mother I met could be a friend.”

What I learned about not having a village was how very lonely it could be.  That not every mom you meet can be a friend.
I also learned the importance of creating your own village.  A village that you trust.  And that a village doesn’t have to be big to be sufficient and valuable.
I learned the value in the people that you trust and that love you and your children as much as you do.  I also learned to truly treasure the quiet moments alone with my husband and the times I do get to be alone (because yes, it is necessary and healthy).  

I may not have a village, but I have love, lots of it.  And I’m happy.  My kids are happy.  
That’s what matters the most.

Dear Mom without a Village:

Your village is there. You power it and it’s great because you make it great.
Your strength is immense and even greater than you could imagine because us village-lacking mama’s are mostly really doing it on our own. And what a self-respecting and honourable feat!
One day your kids will grow up, and maybe or maybe not build their own mighty village, but will learn to admire you for the way they were raised. They will know strength and fortitude like no other, thanks to you.  

I know what it’s like to sometimes wish you had the village that others have, but I also know what it’s like to grow through it.

9 comments on “Dear Mom Without a Village”

  1. This is such a lovely post. Different seasons can make a difference in your support group and I can relate.

  2. I’m glad that you had your mom and sister to help you. I agree that it does take a village to raise children. I don’t have a village. My mother rarely watches my boys because she doesn’t drive and doesn’t live nearby. My MIL lives 4 hours away and refuses to get on a train to visit her grandsons. The only time I see her is when she comes for their birthdays and Christmas….3 times a year. I have a very good friend that watches my boys so that my hubby and I can go out for dinner once in a while, but it’s rare too because I don’t want to be a burden on her. I’m a SAHM so it’s really hard for me right now. My 3 year old hasn’t napped in over a year. He is very high energy and I rarely get a break. Yeah, it sucks sometimes.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your own personal woes, Cheryl. Life definitely can throw some really rough punches sometimes but we got to roll with it, right? I really believe though that it makes you incredibly strong. I admire you for that. I really don’t have much support at all these days except from my husband but I feel like it’s helped me to become more involved in my children’s lives as well as learn how to navigate this parenthood thing truly the way I want to.
      I think as the kids get older and we slowly build trust with one or more folks, we can finally get a bit of a break to catch a movie or dinner! 🙂

  3. Oh how I cam relate to this post, I really felt like I was the only one . I love your raw honesty. My mom is also mom existent in my life so I couldn’t even go to her. So I hope that I’m providing a different outlook for my daughter and if and when she decided to become, e a mom I will be a part of her village

    • Thanks, Jamie. My friend grew up without a mother figure and she is one of the most amazing and strongest women I know. She is know a fantastic mother and so supportive and loving. It’s hard not having the “village” as a mom, but I believe that village is inside and around us all and in different forms.

  4. Finding a community of friends is so important when one becomes a mother. Being a new mom can be super lonely, so having other adults to talk to is valuable. Old friends may not be able to relate, so new friends can lend a sympathetic ear. Thanks for your heartfelt post!

  5. My husband and I moved across the country when my oldest was 2 years old, leaving behind our large village of friends and family. It was such a big change to not have others to depend on when it came to childcare. I couldn’t find a way to trust strangers alone with my kids so we adapted our lifestyle so we didn’t need a village. It may not work for everyone but we are happy with how it’s worked out.

  6. This was touching to read and I’m sure will be a reassurance and comfort to many mothers out there.
    I was raised by a single mom that had zero village. I saw firsthand her struggles, her triumphs, her good and her bad moments. My respect for her and all mothers is immense. It didn’t take me becoming a mother of my own to see the sacrifices. Thanks for this. You are inspiring and one of the most transparent and authentic bloggers I follow.

    • Thanks so much for reading, Ashley, and for the touching comment. You truly made my day and I’m so happy to have you as a reader.
      Your mom sounds exemplary and amazing. Definitely every mom is a gem but I do find a special place for those that had less support.

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