When I became a parent I was on a remote property and had a business which was also my baby and this kept me home for many years before my first born and then when I had the baby, I stayed home even more. Deep in my soul I yearned for friends. Real friends. Not the neighbours, not the familiar faces at the local shop or daycare but real, deep connections. It was always there after I moved rural and left my city going life and become more apparent once I had my first child and then when I became a single mother the desire was even more so and the thought was forefront of my mind.
I wanted the friends that I could see, that would check in on me, that I would check in on, and wanted to share life with me and with my children and if they had children, with their children. As a single parent, in a new state with a two kids under 3, without a business to direct my attention too I knew I needed to put energy into creating a village for myself and for my children.
The kind that helps raise my children like the very true and popular saying. The ones that we known person and although yes I have created a semi-village with two friends that have kids similar ages I have come to grudgingly be aware that the parenting village is somewhat of a romantic idea that doesn’t exist for everyone. And I think this is becoming more of a problem for more women as the social media interactions take the place of real-life connections.
Don’t get me wrong. I love social media and the power it has to connect people. I am involved in two or three different single mums and business mums groups on Facebook and the ability to connect to friends and family across the sea is invaluable so please understand that I am not saying that I have no friends online or that the internet has no place because some of the most meaningful connections I have are online with other single parents and family members (some I have never even met in real life).
In the end, what I am trying to create is a true village. One with children of all ages, those that are married, the elderly, and the young, different relationships, differ financial levels, careers and educations. I am looking for the village that embraces newlyweds, rallies around struggling marriages, supports families of all sizes, prays for both the trivial and life-changing, and helps raise and watch children like they are their own
Why? Because when the parenting village doesn’t exist, I easily get exhausted, burnt out, stressed, angry and plain in need of rejuvenation which is a challenge without support of a village. When a village doesn’t exist it is easy to point out the flaws and failures of other parents rather than lift them up, because we want support from uplifted and high vibrational people so why would we drag them down? When the parenting village doesn’t exist I turned more inwards, my emotions were more boiled and my rational mind took a back step and how hard is that for children who are extroverts to have a parent retreat inside themselves.
If there is no parenting village I feel my children will be robbed of the opportunity to connect with children of all ages, financial status, education, gender, race and relationship status of their parents, their cultures, their family dynamics. Struggles always seem one sided and larger than life, and unmanageable when our parenting village doesn’t exist.
I mean, aren’t we all dying to connect in I meaningful relationships with others? I know I am and I can sure vouch for my children. Living in a world where the individual is glorified over the community means that the village truly is a dying concept for far too many single parents. As a single parent, I just can’t do it all or know it all, but for some reason it’s expected that I can at least have the do-all attitude, even if I’m imperfect. In the end, I firmly believe that our lack of deep and committed relationships with friends and community is what makes single parenting more difficult that it has to be. I don’t think that the blogosphere is full of single parents complaining. I think it’s full of single parents crying out for help and community for themselves and their tribe.
I’ve started a village for my tribe and the benefits have been amazing and I cannot wait for it to grow over the years and encompass more people. Without my village my children and I would struggle a bit more, feel alone more often, do less things, experience little and not have the chance to feel friendship and emotional wholeness.
Go find a village, from one single parent to another, make it your mission. It’s worth putting yourself out there for.