It takes a village to raise a child.
– African Proverb
I really understood the depth and wisdom of this quote 3 years ago when I moved to Jordan with my husband and Maya (who was 1 year old at the time). In short, the model of a ‘normal’ family unit in Jordan is very different to what I have ever known here in Australia – in fact, I envy it. In Jordan the majority of families are large, neighbours are friends and friends are everywhere. I saw that it was absolute common practice for women to have a huge amount of support from not only their immediate families but also neighbours and extended family when it came to caring for and raising their children. Living there made me agree that it really does (and should) take a village to raise a child.
Being a mother is really freaking hard and lonely (even though we are never alone). The pure exhaustion of having such a constant and intense love for your little humans, constantly worrying for them (even worrying about the person they will be in 10+ years) and dealing with your heart and body physically aching for them if they aren’t around (whether they are asleep in another room or at daycare) are things that are impossible for you to prepare for and therefore are some of the theings that make mothering freaking hard! But having that village available to utilise so you can ask for advice, get to care for the kids so you can nap or even just to be able to sit in someone else’s presence so you aren’t drowning in your own loneliness makes it that smidgen easier + it does amazing things for your mental health!
At first it was very difficult for me to accept the help, I felt inadequate and that I wasn’t doing a good enough job on my own. Looking back now I probably acted like a real cow (to put it nicely) but because I grew up watching my single mother I thought thats what I was expected to do, I was expected to do it all – alone – without any help. If I needed help, I was a failure.
I feel like the Australian “culture” puts a huge amount of pressure on mothers to be able to do everything (parenting, careers, home duties) without any kind of help or assistance and if you want, need or seek help you’re weak and should be ready to be judged.
I am aware that not ALL mothers would agree with my perspective and that is more than OK but I know there are a HUGE amount of mama’s that would understand what I feel and would agree with my opinion.
What can we do? How can we help each other? How do we create our own village?
I want a village.
Image sourced from: http://www.illuminatedlvg.com/2013/09/it-takes-village.html