I was thinking about this saying a lot yesterday. I thought about it as I looked around my kitchen piled with dishes. I thought about it as I struggled to keep my eyes open after a rough night with dd. I thought about it as I tried to cook dinner with dd climbing my leg. I thought about it when dh texted saying he had to work late again. Now I'm thinking about it as dd cries in my arms, running a temp and tears of exhaustion well in my eyes. I think there's real truth to the statement. Raising a child seems awfully hard to accomplish without the village. The thing is on days like the one I've just had it feels like society has discarded the village approach. We live a long way from family and don't have the type of close friends nearby that you can call when you just need a hand.
Anyway, all this thinking/lamenting got me wondering, do others feel it takes a village? Do others have a village? If so, what does your village look like?
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06-05-2015 01:02 #1
It takes a village to raise a child. True or not?
06-05-2015 05:21 #2
It takes a village to raise a child. True or not?
I've been desperately lamenting my lack of a "village" since DS was born, but especially from when he was 3 months old and we moved to England. I have no family here, and no friends despite making an effort. The closest thing I have to a friend is my cleaner who comes once a week and is about to go off and have another baby, and a lady 20 years my senior who I do a half-hour run with one evening a week. No one I can call on when I need help, no one who can mind DS for an hour while I go to an appt, get my hair cut, get some non-pram-encumbered exercise, etc.
I hate it.
DS also has social and communication delays, and I reckon that could have a lot to do with the fact that he only has me during the week, day in day out, and I'm rubbish at meaningful interactions with babies. We've just started at a toddler group, but we went to one session then he got sick, of course, so we had to miss the following week as he was still very snotty and coughing. But no one seems very interested in socialising beyond a tiny bit of chit-chat, and even if I did strike up one or two friendships, it's not the same as having your own family and lifelong friends nearby.
06-05-2015 05:26 #3
It's a great question and something I've given a lot of thought to also.
When DD was born, we didn't have a village either. Our families were scattered far and wide, some interstate and some overseas. We had both moved around quite a lot ourselves before settling together in our little community and we were still relatively new to the area when she arrived.
We realised quickly that we needed more than daycare and my poor mum, who was travelling for hours at a time to help out for a day here and there. We also had a child who didn't sleep well, I was back at work within months of DDs birth, and DD was sick a lot in her first year. We used to look at some of our friends with envy, some of them with loads of family nearby to help on a regular basis and grandparents who pretty much lived in their homes to help out as needed.
So we pretty much realised we had to build our own village. One of the biggest and best things we invested ourselves in was our local parents group and playgroups, particularly DH who invited groups of women and children over for coffees and cake (and wine) and accepted as many offers of play dates as we could possibly fit in. We also started offering to help look after each other's kids, short periods of time at first but building up to a full day. We combine this with a mix of formal daycare, the occasional family sleep over (some of our families have since moved back closer to us), flexible work arrangements and kinder. It's a juggle sometimes (being flexible with work goes both ways so we often find we are working weekends/after hours and DD sometimes comes to work as well), but I feel like we are much better supported now. We also volunteer in our local community on various things so we meet and get to know people that way.
I think the biggest thing I've realised is that there is a lot of adjustment needed, and that the adjustment and flexibility needs to be ongoing and adaptive as situations change and children get older. And there's a lot of give and take with our situation. We've minded friends kids and done the daycare drop off/pick up with sick little ones while their parents are also unwell and in need of rest, meaning we've then become sick ourselves and vice versa. But it's meant I've also been able to call on trusted people to collect DD when I've been running late or to look after her on very short notice when I'm called in to work unexpectedly, without feeling terrible about it. It's also nice to feel that trust that you'd normally get in having family close by, and a sense of familiarity that comes with seeing people on a regular basis.
How long have you lived in your current place OP?
06-05-2015 06:13 #4
06-05-2015 06:25 #5
My "village" is childcare. But I still get home to a trashed house after working 5 days a week, have to cook etc and my baby is far from sleeping through.
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06-05-2015 06:37 #6
Massive hugs @BettyV.
Yes I definitely think it takes a village. My village is my family and friends. I didnt realise just how valuable it was until we moved away and had nobody. Especially when dh started working away, I really struggled not having that support close by. We see my family most days and my mum especially kind of takes over the control when we are with her. A lot pf people might find it annoying but I know its her way of showing support for me- she can see I need that bit of help or a break. Its the same with our friends. We are all very involved and kind of share responsibility for the kids when we are together.
For me, our village is about support and understanding, and backing each other when we feel weak (physically or emotionally). I wasn't coping not having that so we moved back to my home town.
06-05-2015 07:01 #7Senior Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2008
Omg it's like you've read my mind! Couldn't have put it into words like you but I have days where I think wtf is going on with the world. Progress, travel opportunities, all our modcons should be making life easier but for many of us this means long work hours and commutes, being far from family, most women working so even if friendly neighbourhood chances are noone is around to form that village. I think about this all the time. My dp is gone at least 7-7 m-f. I do all school lunches, runs, activities etc. I'm home with 11mth old trying to keep house safe and somewhat clean (failing), often see no one all week. Even just connecting on bubhub means I feel behind or guilty cus kids aren't getting 100%. My bub is soooo clingy cus she's with me 24/7.
I keep thinking in today's digital app age I should be able to figure out how to make my own village but I haven't the headspace yet! When my older kids were babies I had more support as my friends had kids same age and we met up all the time. Not quite a village but still better than now with noone!
Op not sure my message makes sense but I so get where you are coming from! Eagerly reading for ideas, we need to bring back villages we need them!
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06-05-2015 07:21 #8
I must say I have a really good mothers group that started from BH. Another hubber and I were discussing starting a group for our local area as I'd just moved house. It then moved to Facebook and the real world where we added mums we met at library time, playgroup, daycare etc. now we have a group of 15ish mums with 8-10 meeting fairly regularly. I find this a much greater support than my family. And I would count some of these wonderful people my closest friends.
I know after moving across the city after my second was born - it was playgroup, library time and local events that helped make new friendships.
06-05-2015 07:30 #9
I have my family and my DP's family (although i HATE utilising his mother)
My mum is good in that if im sick or not coping she'll come take DD for an hour or 2. Which helps alot.
As for friends they all disappeared as soon as DD was born. It was almost like the novelty wore off 😒
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06-05-2015 07:50 #10
I'm struggling a lot without my "village". I had the perfect setup when DS1 was born but we then moved and now it's really just me. I make the best of it, taking my kids to the beach, playgroups, library and catching up with friends (mostly childless) when I can but its not the same as having my close support network of close friends with similar interests and kids the same age as mine. Sometimes I wonder if it was worth moving (for an amazing job offer for DH). I guess I just need to work a little harder to find people around me and set up that wonderful network I had where we used to live.
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