Maybe you grew up in a large family and always imagined yourself raising your children around your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Then you somehow found yourself a plane ride away, with only your husband or partner to help. Or perhaps you never experienced that example of family, yet still somehow feel as though something is missing from your world of parental connection.
Do you miss the village of mothers you never had? On some level, most of us do. In traditional societies, attachment parenting is possible, because the entire village helps out with the children. The mother is able to co-sleep, breastfeed longer, wear her baby everywhere she goes, because when she needs a break, she has several capable and trustworthy people willing to help her.
Whether you practice attachment parenting or not, in our society, parenting in general falls solely upon the shoulders of the mother and father. This responsibility can be very lonely and exhausting. And when the parents get burned out, it is often because they are doing too much alone.
Do you feel burnt out? If so, it is important to reach out for support and create your own village. However, reaching out can be harder than it sounds, particularly in our very nuclear-family based society. Reaching out will take effort and entails jumping out of your comfort zone. Meeting new people and asking for help with your children is not easy for everyone--especially for more introverted women. And, breaking into an already established group of women can be difficult, especially if you have just moved to a new town or neighborhood where relationships have already been established.
Even though seeking out friends to be a part of your village isn’t always comfortable, it can be so worth it in the end. We aren’t designed to care for our babies alone. If you are raising kids and don’t have family around you, just know that it’s okay to sometimes feel like you are losing your mind when you are doing it by yourself. That’s because you aren’t designed to do it that way. The best thing you can do for your children is to discover your own peace of mind and sense of self. Reaching out to others for connection and support is essential for this discovery to take place.