We have probably all heard the phrase… ‘it takes a village to raise a child’… I think there is a lot of truth in that, but for probably most of us- it is a romantic idea that is just far from reality.
Having children can seem to increase one’s risk of loneliness dramatically. For various logistical and lifestyle reasons. Many of us don’t have family living close by to lend a hand, many of us don’t even have a partner on the scene to help. Life is busy and full but even so- lonely.
My mother talks so fondly of our little community in our street growing up, all these young mums having coffee together, looking out for eachother, mingled in with other generations including young teenagers to babysit and more mature parents to lend support and advise… sounds pretty close to a village to me. I do remember growing up like this with fond memories.
And while I love the idea of having something like that for my family… it just seems so hard to attain. I walk down the street and I see trampolines and swingsets which presumably means there are other young families in my street- but I don’t actually see these families to offer a hello, and I am not really the door knocking type J
My exposure to opportunities to see these families is also limited given my own lifestyle as a modern mum who is perhaps home less than my mum ever was. My working is of course a major factor that keeps me- and I’m sure my neighbours- from being home to meet each other. Then when I do have time with my kids- time is spent indoors far more than It probably should be, but our homes are largely designed to accommodate for that now aren’t they. Bigger homes, smaller yards.
But even if I did find an opportunity to meet a neighbor, or even fellow community member at the park or preschool pick up perhaps, I then face the truth that- because of many of the above reasons, my ability to nuture a new relationship is not entirely easy- in many ways its not exactly a convenient time to be building social networks. I may not be feeling like the best version of myself to be connecting with others- a bit exhausted, sleep deprived, trying to be the best mum I can be without losing myself in it. And who is to say that I will even connect with another mum- just because we have one common interest in raising children doesn’t mean we will magically get along….. you may not actually Like me L
I say this as someone who is fairly happy to meet new people, so I can only imagine how much harder it would be to add in a personality that isn’t one for initiating human interaction.
So much can get in the way of us finding anything resembling a village.