I’ve heard this age old adage before and for the longest time I’ve rolled my eyes 🙄🙄 and thought maybe for some people but not everyone…. but the longer I am a mother the more I realize the truth of this saying and the need for it to be a reality and not just some talked about fantasy. Right after giving birth, whether it’s your first or sixth, you have people come visit and many will ask, “Can I do anything to help?” If we are honest with ourselves, and vulnerable, the answer is almost always going to be “Yes!” When I had my second son in February I struggled with postpartum depression, much like I did with my first son only this time it hit immediately and not 6 months later. When people asked how they could help I would say “Oh I think I’m alright right now.” But I wasn’t…. I could have used someone taking Silas for part of the day or for the day so I could catch up on sleep. Or someone showing up and cleaning the dishes for me or just showing up with lunch to talk and just spend time with me. It’s so hard for us to swallow our pride, be vulnerable, admit we need help and then actually accept said help.
It seems a culture has been built up for us moms, especially in the US, to carry around a sense of guilt. Guilt about anything and everything. We feel as if we, and by default, our children, are burdens. And maybe it’s just me but even when I am reassured that we aren’t being a burden or that it’s okay that my son is running around like he’s got no sense about him, I still feel a sense of guilt and judgement even. But, that’s an internal problem that stems inside me…. until I wrap my head around a village mentality and become vulnerable and enter a village community I know I won’t overcome feeling like a burden and feeling guilty.
That’s where, for me, MOPs (Mother’s Of Preschoolers) comes in. This past Tuesday was the first meeting and I’ve never participated in MOPs before but I decided to give it a try. When I drew a name out of the bag and was assigned to a random table I was honestly nervous about the entire experience… especially since I ended up not having any friends come with me. I sat down at my table and the small talk began and before I knew it I was having so much fun! It turns out one of the women in my group does decals and personalizes things so I came over to have her personalize something for me and we had an impromptu play date! When I went to leave I was putting the boys in the car and mentioned that I was headed to our local Dunkin Donuts to meet a friend for coffee who doesn’t have kids and she stopped me and said “Why don’t I keep Silas (my oldest son)?” I was astonished and the guilt and burden feeling quickly popped up and I told her I couldn’t do that to her, but she insisted that she didn’t mind so I did something I don’t usually do and I said “ok”! I was so shocked by her kindness and generosity to help me out and I was surprised by the feelings of guilt and burden I had and realized that it shouldn’t be this way. We should all be helping each other out however we can and I’m dedicating this time of fellowship and learning with MOPs to not only allowing others to be part of my village but to being the village to those around me.
Whose in your village? How can you help be a part of the village? How can you let others be the village to you? We don’t have to do this alone. We are NOT a burden. Our children are not a burden. We can lend a helping hand to others.