Like many moms, when I had a newborn and a toddler, I held on to the hope that, as people told me, “it gets easier.” I also held fast to my village, to the friends and family who helped me when I was exhausted. I remember specifically when I was so exhausted from a newborn that would. not. sleep that I felt like I wanted to go lay down in the middle of the traffic on our busy street and let nature take it’s course. Of course in my rational, well-rested, non-hormonal mind, I would never have said such a thing.
But I did, out loud, to a friend. She grabbed her own toddler, came over, brought me Christmas cookies, and sat with me ’til I was sane again.
Without my village, my mom life would have crashed and burned a decade ago.
This same village of friends and family helped me years later when I had yet another newborn, a preschooler with significant developmental delays, and a first-grader. Yes, I had a helpful husband, but he worked long hours to provide for our family financially while I provided…everything else. Those were hard years, but our village of parents, siblings, in-laws, and fellow parent friends with whom we could have playdates and swap babysitting with carried us through.
Over the years, our village has changed. Some people have come and gone.
As our kids have gotten older, we’ve added some wonderful people to our village, and we’ve become part of others’ villages as well. Now that I have a teenager, I find that I need a village more than ever. Coordinating rides to their extracurricular and social activities as well as required school stuff can be exhausting. I can’t be in two places at once, but between me and my mom-of-teens mom squad, we cover it. Same goes with my tween’s friend group – her friend’s parents are part of my village as well. I NEEEED these people, especially now that I am working (and so are many other village moms!!)
Long ago, I held on to the fact that “it gets easier,” and I’m glad I didn’t know it then, but…that was a lie. Sure, my kids can all dress themselves and sleep through the night now, and that tooootally rocks, but in many ways, being a mom is now harder than ever. The sheer logistics of having three kids seven years apart with various and sundry extracurricular interests and school requirements is crazy-pants! Not to mention the teen and tween emoooootions, friendship drama, and online safety precautions.
Parenting older kids is complicated. And also, they try to act like they don’t need you (or even like you!), and that can be super rough, too.
All this to say, my loves, if you’ve got a village, hold tight to it. Be as vital to it as it is to you. Parenting doesn’t get easier, it just gets different, and almost 15 years in, I’m finding I need my village more than ever.
Do you have a tight-knit village to help get you through the rough spots on your parenting journey?