Monday, January 05, 2015

It Takes A Village - Do You Have One?

The other day I was ready to crack. It was one of those days where I could feel the proverbial noose tightening and I felt like I was going to explode. My eleven month old son, Colt, cried nearly all day. ALL. DAY. And the last thing in the world that he wanted was me. And all he could have was me. So it didn't make for a great combination. My ears felt like they were going to bleed from listening to his loud screams and nothing I was doing was comforting my little man. He wanted what he couldn't have - and was throwing a fit. Haven't we all been there before?

In that moment, I knew that I needed my village. I needed the people in my life who love and care for my family to step in and lend a hand. That is how the saying goes, right? "It takes a village to raise a child". And step in they did. My father-in-law offered to hold Colt so I could go lay down and collect myself. He could see that I needed a break. So without hesitation, I took him up on that offer to go recharge my batteries for a bit.

So it really got me thinking about that concept of a "village". And what does a momma do when she is at the end of her rope? What if she doesn't have a village to turn to? What then? Here are my thoughts.

Your village is the people in your life who love you and your family. They could be relatives like grandma's, grandpa's, aunts and uncles. Or it could be friends who have become like family. Or it could even be someone who has come along side of you to offer mentorship and guidance. Your village is the people in your life that you can turn to with no strings attached to ask for help and a soft place to land when things get overwhelming. If you are a momma, your village usually loves your little ones just as much as you do and they willingly step in to help shelter, protect, and care for your littles just as you would. I live with my village. We are staying with my in laws while we finish renovations on our house so my village is as close to me as one can get. That's not to say that they are always around. No, they have busy, full lives and there are many times where it is just my kids and I at home. But more often than not, my village sweeps in when I am at the end of my rope and offers me time to be alone and refresh myself. Your village cares for your little ones just like you would. They love on you and they love on your littles. 

Don't be afraid of that. Let them help.

So what if you don't have a village? 

What if family lives far away and you just don't have the friends to lend a hand. I get that. I am in Canada while my parents, sisters and my dearest of friends live in the States. It's a hard road when you don't have that physical presence of the people you love so much. That's why it's important to find people. You've got to make friends. It's not easy. I get that too. Trust me. I'd rather stay home, curled up on the couch reading a good book than out making new connections. I 100% get it. But it's vital. It's vital to your emotional health as a mom and as a woman. Plug into your local church to find a group that would work for you. Join your local MOPS. Search your community website for programs in your area. Join a club. Find a group of people you will connect with. Dare to reach out. 

Be brave, momma. It's not easy but it will be worth it. 

Find those things that will feed and soothe your soul - if only briefly. For me, I laid on my bed and popped in a DVD of one of my favorite TV shows that always makes me laugh. I turned on a fan to drown out the noise from the rest of the house and let my village take care of my babies for a half hour. When I'm alone, I still do a form of this - only I put my baby in a safe spot like his pack n play - and recharge for a few minutes. It's vital. I have to or momma will explode. 

Maybe you've got your Bible and some notecards of verses that lift your soul on standby. Maybe it's a few select songs on a playlist that take you to the feet of Jesus where he can fill you back up. I've always said that God hears the cries of a desperate mother. He loves you so much. Let him fill your weary self back up. 

"He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. He gently leads those that have young." 
 - Isaiah 40:11 -

You've got to erase the mommy guilt that says you need to be hands on at all times. If you are about to break, you've got to be okay with putting your littles in a safe spot and taking some moments to recharge. 

It's vital to find time for this on a regular basis. Maybe it's a coffee date with yourself each week where you can go get lost in a book at the local bookstore. Or maybe it's dessert with a friend after the kiddies are in bed. Maybe it's escaping to have a luxurious bath a few times a month. Whatever it is - you've got to allow your village to be with your little ones and you've got to put yourself in the priority seat. You need it momma. And your babies need you to do it too. 

1 comment:

gamawinkie said...

Mandi, I feel you! Though my children are now 29 & 27, I remember the days. I appreciate your honesty and reaching out to your "village". I like your blog. Keep it up! And, Jesus does hear the cries of a desperate mother. I have said a prayer for you. We are all family in God's family!
xo Renea


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