Dear Mom who wants to do it all,
As I sit, my youngest is a bit sick and sleeping up against my chest in her sling, and my oldest, 3 and a half, is out with my mother. I have a moment of silence and the scene outside my window with empty streets that are damp from the quickly melting flurries is as still as my home. What are you doing right now? Are you letting someone help you?
My heart has been working through the pride that I carry as a mother, a wife and a woman in this world. Our society seems to glorify women (and men) who can do it all. We raise our families (which is a huge load of action built into such a minimal phrase), some of us work outside the home, others within their home, we support our extended families, love on our friends, try to cook nutritious meals, maybe care for a pet or two -- and this list goes on, as does our candlewick that burns and burns 24 hours a day.
We battle sleep regressions, tantrums, pee all over the toilet, hunger strikes, pet hair everywhere, partners who are not always home because they are working as hard as we are. Our minds are ever cycling through the list of what is to do, what needs to be said and who needs to be paid. It is exhausting, as we all know. We are expected to know how to do it alone and then to just do it. And I want to.
So far, none of this is new information to any mother. But here is what I am learning, dear mother:
You were not designed to do this alone. The job is too big, the responsibility too great. But you want to say you can do it. Your heart is intent on being the one to raise your children, the one to have the most influence and the one working hard enough to earn the title of Mum, Mom, Mamma, Mother. But you are already worth that title, because of who you are (you care enough to read mom blogs, for goodness' sake). :)
And that right there is a sign you were meant to be a part of a community. A community of human beings raising the next generation. Don't get me wrong, we have a responsibility for the children in our personal care -- but many civilizations and groups understand the importance of reaching out and accepting the help offered... it often is not even a question. Your own parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, free community programs, religious centers, even the local park.
Step back and see how beautiful the phrase "it takes a village" truly is. Let it sink deep into your heart. A group of people linking arms, your baby in the middle. Everyone sharing with your precious child their individual gifts, their personal expertise. Your family benefiting from their knowledge, their caring for your children, and their passions that can open otherwise closed doors to the ones you love dearly. And please hear me! It does not take an ounce of respect away from you, the mother, who utilizes that village to help you and your family. Shut out the stigma that you have to do it all and that you have to plan, host, have all the answers, time and patience for full-time parenting. We all know that is BS, so it is time to call it out and do something about it.
Your babies will always be yours, despite them spending time with others. Your babies will call you Mom no matter if they have a day or two a week outside of your care, and YOU ARE WORTH the title of Mom even if you accept those days when they come knocking. You are a superstar for wanting to provide for every one of your child's needs, and maybe you are succeeding... or maybe you are failing terribly. Either way, let go a bit. Acknowledge that things are better with others. Acknowledge that the world is huge, bigger than just us in our individual homes, and that this world is filled with people who, despite our thinking we know it all, know more than we do.
And you! You, my dear, will have a moment. A quiet moment. A still moment. It will be yours to do with as you wish. Or you will have peace knowing you are not standing alone when problems surface, as they often do. You will have a network to connect with when needed, whether it be for a quick hour of childcare or just to have a question answered by someone you trust.
There is no shame in forming your own village. Create it. Use it. Love it. And then pay it forward and link arms around another family.
love and community,