My entire life I’ve heard the expression “it takes a village to raise a child.” I completely understand it and it’s part of everyone’s reality to an extent. Villages can be made up of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors, teachers, mom groups, etc. We need relationships in our lives to ground us and balance us out, but sometimes it can be really hard to find and maintain those relationships with others. My husband and I are both transplants to Baton Rouge by way of North Louisiana for me and South America for him. My parents live just 3 and a half hours away, but it’s a long enough drive that we don’t really see each other all that much.
Time with my in-laws is carefully planned out months in advance. With either us traveling to visit them, meeting somewhere in the middle, or them traveling all the way here, it has to be a very carefully considered and orchestrated process. In my day to day life, I don’t have that village I grew up hearing about. Everyone who would make up my village isn’t here. My husband’s entire family lives in the same area. My family lives more spread out and I’m in the opposite direction from everyone else.
I’ve had to learn to be fiercely independent and self-sufficient in motherhood, which is completely fine because that’s my normal anyway. I have to raise my son without the village, so to speak, simply because that’s life. At least that’s what I always thought…
When there’s no village to be found, create one. Even if it’s virtual.
Over the past 14 months, I’ve learned to see who my village is made up of (both near and far). I have a virtual village in my family who calls to check-in or video chat since we can’t be together. Sometimes sending cards or gifts in the mail to remind us of how loved we are. I have my son’s daycare, which I most certainly will include in my village because they help me tremendously while I’m working and they take the absolute best care of him. I have neighbors or friends who I can count on in a pinch, but I hate to inconvenience. My sister is on my speed dial, and I call her at least twice a day with some questions whether it be serious or just to hear her voice.
Initially, motherhood felt so lonely, but I realized it didn’t have to be. My village might not be typical, but it’s most certainly strong and intact. As an extremely independent person, I’m grateful for my village. I’m appreciative of the freedom it gives me in choosing my own path in motherhood. I’m grateful for the quality time my nuclear family has. I’m happy that I haven’t had to give up my work because I’ve found people who I can count on. I am grateful to feel connected to family no matter the distance. And I’m also glad to have friends who I can count on as if they’re family.
If you’re ever feeling like your village is nowhere to be found, try considering who makes up your virtual village and hopefully it will make you feel a little bit better!