An African proverb quite accurately states ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. But what happens when a mum doesn’t have that village?
By ‘village’ we don’t mean a group of houses in close proximity. We mean communities where parents know each other well, look out for each other. Where they share the joys, the burdens and the hardships of everyday life.
Your community helps to nurture each other in times of need and look after the well-being of each other’s children. A community we are specifically wired for yet is almost impossible to find in our modern world.
Motherhood is challenging - there is no denying that. But it can be significantly harder without a community of friends or family around you.
Years ago mothers would have lived in close proximity to their family and extended family, sharing each other’s good times and bad. But never feeling alone.
With more and more people moving away from the place they grew up, with more mothers now working and with more interaction with friends being online or through a screen rather than just ‘nipping down the road’ to them, are parents losing out?
Yes, technology makes it easier to keep in contact with friends far and wide, it can even help with finding out information or the plethora of things we all search for on a daily basis.
But it will never replace the feeling of having somebody there, in-person to share things with. It’s just not the same.
Although the proverb seems cliché at this point, the impact of our village-less reality is far from insignificant.
In the absence of a village, mums are affected in all kinds of ways:
- There is huge pressure on mums to make up for what a village would provide.
- As a result of spending more time online, our priorities and standards become unrealistic and we try to attempt to meet these needs all at once.
- We are forced to find and create our ‘tribe’ at a time in our lives when we need a tribe to step in the most.
- Our children are affected as they generally don’t go outside and play from sunrise to sunset like children used to. They miss out on the opportunity to explore, learn and create because of it.
- We rely on social media for connection and validation when in fact, it can lead us to feel more isolated and inadequate.
- We can feel lonely even when surrounded by people.
- Depression and anxiety have increased to frightening levels in mums. We know instinctively that we need support but don’t have the time or the energy to find it.
- We have an Instagram ‘perfect’ image of what our lives should look and feel like, leaving us feeling as though we are not enough
- We feel guilty about almost everything. Not working, working too much, allowing screen time for our kids so that we can get the endless perceived amount of jobs done - then not getting said jobs done.
We need to find our tribe and be somebody else’s tribe. Because we are all suffering. Call into a friend and bring some groceries or text a friend and ask them to come over to your house for some lunch.
Make a habit of it and know that it will be benefiting them just as much as you to have the social interaction and the feeling of someone just being there.