Obvious, right? I mean of COURSE, it takes a a village raise a child (that WAS the point of the book, right?). It takes family, friends, teachers, mentors, coaches, etc. But I’m talking about something even harder. I’m talking about coming into your own as a MOM. Trust me, it takes a village and a half.
Do you know how much crap you need to know to be a moderately successful mother? And just when you have something figured out, like how to get a child to sleep, how to shower in under 1.5 minutes, what the heck a genie diaper is and how often you have to empty it without getting grossed out, it all changes. But that’s just the start of the learning curve; then there’s childcare options (nanny, daycare, neither), the right pre school, school, sports teams (who are the evil coaches), and on and on.
My advice: unless you enjoy slow torture, guilt, and feeling inadequate, don’t go it alone. Get yourself a village. Who should you pick to make up your village? Anyone – friends, your mom, your aunt, your 2nd cousin on your father’s side, that weird guy that screams random thoughts outside the grocery store, I don’t care. As long as it’s someone who offers help or advice (no matter how minor) when you need it.
Here are examples of just a few people people I drafted into my village and how they helped me along the way:
- During my pregnancy I was finishing business school on weekends and working full time. I literally had no time to figure out what baby gear I needed. When my friend Erica offered to send me her registry so I could copy it, I jumped at the chance. Cheat sheet? Yes please! She became an indispensable part of my village.
- I felt like the mom who didn’t get the memo on nursing. During my struggles, I’ll never forget the day my co-worker Emily, one of these mammary goddesses, casually mentioned that she supplemented with formula. Really? I asked as my whole world reset with this insight. “Absolutely, how else would I manage work and travel?” Villager.
- Fast forward to the toddler years when, a friend clued me in to Museum School for 3-5 year olds at the Museum of Science & Technology nearby in Fort Worth. It’s a 60 year old program that I credit with developing my child’s love of science. Margee has continuously been my resource for discovering the best camps, after school activities, etc. Village passport – issued.
- Ritu was good enough to give me a gentle shove and call me crazy when I complained that I felt like a bad mother for not knowing all the ins and outs of the competitive swim program. She chided me for worrying too much and helped me figure it out. For refusing to let me wallow in guilt, she was recruited to the village.
The list goes on and on but if I included everyone, this would be a 10 page blog post.
Am I exposing myself as the village idiot? Possibly. But I’ll own it – I have very little figured out other than the fact that the mom ride is a lot smoother if you have sources of great advice from moms who have been there. In my mind, it’s like child birth with the epidural – no disrespect to women who had natural childbirth – but let’s face it: you get no points for doing it on your own. So call it what you want: your village, network, support group, but get one. Ping your friends, go on FB, use Pinterest (a virtual village!). Whatever. It’s your best chance of making it out alive.
As a matter of fact I’m off to troll my friend’s feeds on FB to find clever ways to commemorate the 1st day of school.
Who makes up your village?