As a part of the Today Parenting Team (and finally writing my first post), the question was just asked, "Who is in your village or who do you wish was in your village?" Who holds me down and helps in this thing called parenting. Who I wish would help hold me down in this thing called parenting. I'm going to be open and honest and may not even proof this post because I may second guess myself while not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings.
But then I wouldn't be sharing my truth.
When I got married in 2003, I moved away from my village which is now about 500+ miles away. We can't even do the weekend thing without getting on a plane or driving for 10+ hours just to turn back around and go back home.
When I had my first child, my father in-law and step-mother in law, who lived a few blocks away from us in Brooklyn, moved to another state four months after I gave birth. Luckily, my mother in-law relocated from Michigan to live closer to her grandchildren that same month. She didn't move to be closer to her son and new daughter-in-law...her grandchildren. Ask her and she'll tell you just that. So I not only got help from her, but we also got help from a family friend turned Godmother who would lovingly come to take care of our first born while hubby and I went out on a date.
OMG, was that EVER needed!
I didn't have lifelong friends nearby and those closest to my husband moved away as well before we had our first child.
My village was pretty much nil and is always changing. Life makes this happen. I'll leave it at that.
Fast forward a few years, we moved out of NYC and a little further out to Long Island which most city people thing is a world away. I have since had to rely on both neighbors and a few friends to help if I wanted to go our for a bit and get my hair or nails done. People who take their kids to the salon just shouldn't because people like me need a break from screaming kids.
In all honesty, I have alot of wonderful friends now here in this new land I've lived in for about 13 years. However, they all have family that helps them with their children. Rarely have I been asked to help them with their kids, so it deterred me from asking them to help me with mine. I have asked a time or two in the past but after a few "no's" I have had to find babysitters and sometimes neighbors to help.
I joined a mother's group years ago where sta-at-home mother's of color would meet up with or without their children and just chat about what's going on in our lives. I even supplied a babysitter so the moms could really chat without wondering what their kid was doing. But then one by one moms started going back to work...or kids started school. And then I left the group. I do try to stay in touch with the friends I made but even that's hard.
While I do wish my children could spend more time in the presence of some of the wonderful people I know, it just doesn't seem feasible given today's busyness. I'm not great with rejection, so I don't ask. I wait for things to organically happen which may be a disservice to my children.
I once envisioned a home filled with friends who stop by for a cup of tea and conversation while pouring wisdom that I may not have into my children. Everything happens over Facebook, email, and texts. I am guilty too, but because we text so much back and forth, my kids rarely get to practice their phone skills when our home phone rings.
While I don't want to move back to Ohio, I sometimes wish my kids were physically closer to blood relatives because I have fond and vivid memories of growing up with my family nearby. They won't have that aside from the two weeks they get with them each summer.
My job now is to make sure that I have like-minded, authentic, good friends in my life that will be a great influence on them.
How's your village?
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.