Why I’m Making it my Goal to Bring Back the Idea of It Takes a Village
We’ve all heard the saying “It takes a village” at some point in our lives. I remember hearing Hillary Clinton saying it back when I was in high school, but at that point in my life, it gave me two kinds of thoughts “What?” and “That’s so outdated! We don’t need a village, women can do it all on their own.” Well, fast forward some 20 years and it’s taken on a whole new meaning in my life. In fact, over the last two years, as I’ve come into my role as a mom of two, it’s become a constant thought in my mind.
Things for women have changed dramatically over the course of the last 100 years, and while so many of those changes have been for the best, and many have even brought us more equality and benefits, these same changes have caused us to lose out on our village. It’s been a combination of things; women are out of the home more, women are working more, family roles have been redefined, and generally, we seem to be driven a great deal by the thought that we need to do things on our own. That it’s far more of an accomplishment when you go it alone or achieve it all on your own. This can be especially true for mothers. We feel like we have to do it all and we compare ourselves to the mothers that have come before us, and at times, we even get frustrated with ourselves because we aren’t the same kind of mother. The roles and responsibilities of mothers may have changed, but the heart of it will always be the same, the love you have for your child or children.
This is where the missing village becomes
I first put a great deal of thought into the importance of the village when I was on hospitalized bed rest with my first son. It was then that I saw my village come together. Women that I would have previously considered as acquaintances sent me messages to keep me sane and even offered to visit me. My close friends visited and called often. The teachers I worked with helped with plans and copies and grading. My family visited all the time and made sure that things at home and our dogs were taken care of. My dad would stay to watch Jeopardy and hang out. Mark visited daily and stayed for hours, even though I know there were days when he would have loved to have not had to take the extra long walk through the ER because the main exit closed at 8. Forget about all the stress of knowing that we were away from home having a complicated pregnancy. My mom made sure to visit all the time, brought me thoughtful treats that only a mom would know to bring you, and even held my baby shower (which was everything I’d ever dreamed it would be down to the perfect dog favors) without me be able to be present. This was when I really got it for the first time and I decided that I would make it my mission to make sure that everyone had a village. Maybe not one exactly like mine, but the one that they need.
Having babies and raising them truly does take a village and it’s time we got back to that exact place. We need for moms to be able to come together to support the new moms in our villages so that they can be cared for properly, helped out and be made to feel understood and supported. And we need all of this to be respected and understood as a necessity by all of society. We can’t see this a weakness or as proof that women aren’t supposed to be or capable of being more than mothers.
I’ve been blessed to have so many amazing people in my village, but there are certainly times and places where I needed them more than they could be there or
Things like paid family and paternity leave should be the norm and not the exception. Mothers need to have time to recover and to adjust after they have had a baby and this time needs to be adequate. We shouldn’t have to make decisions that put our children against money and household survival. Those changes seem far off, especially with the current administration. The village is essential.
So how can we take the village of the past and give it a place in the present?... Support each other by seeing our common bond, motherhood. Sure, we all have different experiences, but at the core of it all, we are all mothers. Share experiences to help others with theirs. Stop thinking that as mothers we have to do it all on our own. Let’s get the men into these villages too! If they aren’t playing a more active role, then they should, at the very least, understand and support the need for the village. Really though, they should be a part of it. Fathers, husbands, co-workers.
If we can start to get back to the village mothers won’t feel so isolated and unsupported. They will reach out for support when they have questions like it’s the norm and the expectation instead of feeling like they are failing because they aren’t doing something or because it’s not going as they planned.
As I said before, I’m blessed to have the women and men that I have in my village. Their experience, wisdom, and support