Wednesday, February 13, 2013

no mom is an island...


there is a saying that we all know well, "it takes a village." we've all heard it and we know what it means. it takes a village of people to raise children. the phrase was said often in decades past. however, somewhere along the line, the saying became less popular. moms say it today and laugh, somehow feeling uncomfortable at the thought of other people helping to raise their children. we have gotten to the place where we are often offended when others try to help us with any sort of parenting. in so doing, we have completely isolated ourselves from others and we've determined that, to be a good parent, we have to be a "supermom." we have to raise amazing children, keep a perfect home, have a solid marriage, be inspiring in the work place and then in our spare time create pinterest inspired crafts to fill our home. it's exhausting.

it's time to be real. this mothering business is hard work. no mom was meant to be an island. we are not in this by ourselves. mothering is an instant bond that bridges all races, all socio-economic statuses, and all walks of life. we are all connected and if we could somehow set aside the pressure we put on ourselves to do everything perfectly, all on our own, we would be so much happier.

people tell me all the time, "i don't know how you do it with five kids." let me be perfectly clear. i don't do it...not alone. i have a network of amazing people in my life who can see me when i'm drowning and jump in to help out. when i was pregnant with my fourth born, i was horribly sick for six months. an unsuspecting neighbor knocked on my door one day and was greeted by me in my pajamas, crying and barely able to hold myself together. my kids were in their pajamas with soaked diapers and i had been throwing up all morning. without a word she walked into my house, cleared the breakfast dishes and washed them out, the smell of cheerios being more than i could handle. she helped me get my kids dressed and then she got my children settled. she then headed to the grocery store and bought a bunch of different breakfast cereals for my kids, a scented candle for me, and plenty of protein filled pregnancy foods. she piled them on my counter and helped me put them away. she was my angel for the day.

last week, a friend called me up to say she was at the store and was picking me up a rotisserie chicken for dinner. she dropped it off with some pasta to cook up as a side. dinner for one night was covered. when my dryer broke this last week, friends have not only dried loads of laundry, but they have folded them and had them ready to pick up later that day. my friends are amazing.

again, let me be clear. i don't do this mothering business on my own. i have a team of people behind me, a team of people ready to support me when i am willing to admit that i can't do everything on my own, a team of people who know me well enough to read between the lines when i'm not ready to admit my need to anyone.

what if we got in the habit of doing little things for each other? what if we recognized that mothering was never meant to be done alone? what if, even once a week, we all took the time to do something small for someone else, even when they say the ever popular words, "you don't have to do that?" what if we made it a practice to stand in the gap for someone else, to pick up the load and help someone carry it, to become the village that it takes to raise a child? knowing that i have people in my corner makes this parenting road manageable. seeing the look of embarrassment on mother's faces when i do something kind for someone else tells me repeatedly that we are doing this all wrong. let's all just admit that we need each other. let's all admit that we could really use some extra people in our corner. let's get rid of the embarrassment that we somehow feel when someone does something to help us out. let's step out there and help a friend, or even an acquaintance, even if we have to be pushy, until we all come to see how much better parenting can be when done with friends.

admitting we need each other is half the battle. removing our own expectations of perfection is the other half. what do you say? are you willing to jump into the lives of someone else today? it really does take a village...and no mom was ever meant to be an island.