Last week, someone on my Facebook newsfeed posted that she had the opportunity to help in an emergency with someone else’s child while at a local swimming pool. She noted that it was not anyone’s neglect that let to the incident, just that “it takes a village.”
When I read that, I immediately agreed. As moms, we know that anything can change in a moment. In the past couple of months, our nation has had a few significant tragedies involving children. I’m sure that, as the tragedies were being investigated, neglect was one of the first things that the police were trying to rule out. As a mom, it is terrifying to listen to these stories. We have all been in the position where we turn around for a second and our child isn’t exactly as we left them. The fact of the matter is, we live in a broken world. We cannot and should not try to do this on our own.
We need help. We need a village.
One of the best examples of “the village” that I was ever blessed to see was when my husband was on his internship in Cape Girardeau, MO. My husband worked at a church, and the people who attend this church are the very definition of a village. Not only do the parents regularly help other parents, but the older children help the younger children. If you were sitting at an event with these people, you most likely wouldn’t be able to tell whose child is whose, because they are one family, one village. These people do everything for one another. They help feed each other’s kids, they help one another with their kids during church, the older kids babysit the younger kids, and they even help each other’s children with their daily medical treatments. Being a part of this group of people was inspiring and empowering. It was the example that I, a young, childless early twenty-something, needed as I embarked on life and looked forward to having children down the road.
I learned the importance of finding people to be my village, allowing people to be my village, and being the village to others.
Does finding the village come easily today? Like almost everything in life, we may have to work to find our village. I moved to McAllen just a year and a half before I had my little girl. That isn’t a lot of time to build a network. We didn’t have any family. We didn’t know our neighbors. Thankfully, we did have the people that go to church with us, and many of those people have become our village. They watch my daughter when she runs out of my sight, and there’s hardly a time where I can’t find a babysitter. I know that if something happened where I needed some help, my village would support me.
There is also a village that isn’t geographical. I have friends all over the country that I go to for counsel as a mom. I contact these people through text, email, blogs, and Facebook groups.
We all know that there is always another mom awake somewhere.
So we have two jobs here— on top of the many jobs we have as moms. First, we all need to find our village (or recognize the village that’s already around us). Second, we need to be the village. We need to be there for the other moms. We need to hand a baby wipe to the mom at Target whose child just spit up or smeared baby food all over her. We need to be the village.
My village is one of the best blessings that I could have asked for as a mother. I love and respect these people as my own family. My hope for all mothers is that they find a village to bless them as much as mine has blessed and continues to bless myself and my family.
What are you doing to build your village? I’d love to hear your personal stories!