Building your village

We were never mean't to raise children alone. That's the truth of it. Regardless if you are single mother or part of a couple it was always mean't to be the village. Grandmothers, Aunties, Friends all had a role to play in helping with teaching, supporting, disciplining and playing with our children. Maybe just as important was the feedback and encouragement that went with these interactions. Nowadays we are all so much more isolated that we were supposed to be. It has left us with decision fatigue and a unique anxiety that we might be bad at being a mother and worry that we are doing it wrong. Social Media doesn't help when there are so many conflicting messages about 'the right way' to do things.

I know when I first became a Mum watching my friends with their children or even mine was an education far greater than in any book I'd read. I'd feel brave enough to try a different technique or be emboldened to not cave to a tantrum. Any time someone said you are doing a good job my heart would leap because that statement has a huge impact. It's something every mother needs to hear and often. I remember someone saying once 'the fact that you worry if you are a good mother, means you're a good mother' which was a big comfort to me.

So find your village. Spend time with other mothers older and younger find ways to not only be supported but to support and also find those you trust to take care of your children when you need to work or just need a break. We can't pour from an empty cup - if you are burnt out everyone will feel it.

I've now lived in 3 different countries since I started raising my kids. The first step was always finding the daycare or after schools facility. Then I'd get to know the staff and ask if anyone is offering babysitting services outside of their hours. Get to know the other parents too - if your children have some friends you might explore setting up a playdate.I used meetup for when the babies were very small to find mother's groups which was a Godsend. You can check with neighbours if there is are any older teenagers in the street that might benefit from some babysitting hours. I am very lucky now that I am back home that I have friends who live nearby and we do babysitting swops where we take turns to mind each others children.

It may feel almost physically painful to reach out to other people - I know for me my fierce independent streak and fear of being let down or thought less of hampered me for a long time. Now I suck it up and do it anyway because as I said at the beginning - we were never mean't to raise children alone.