There's a saying, 'It takes a village to raise kids'. It comes from an Igbo and Yoruba proverb that exists in many different African languages. It reflects the emphasis African culture places on family and community.
I happen to live in a neighborhood where this sentiment exists. If my child skins her knee in the driveway across the street, their older son has been the one to bandage it up – because he treats our girls like little sisters.
When the neighborhood kids act up at one of our respective homes, we all have an understanding that it's ok to call them out on that behavior and remedy whatever situation is at hand. This may include breaking out our teacher voices and at times sending kids home, but we all know it's with the best of intentions at helping our kids learn to respect each other and the boundaries we've set within our individual homes and without one ounce of judgement for the other parent. Because, quite frankly, sometimes kids are just crummy to one another. It's par for the course as they grow up.
In this village, when a child struggles to meet milestones like crawling and walking, the group rallies to lift each other up while that parent seeks answers. When our kids succeed at their first gymnastics meet, we all celebrate together with collective praise and excitement. If there's a sick baby (or everyone is going down with the stomach flu in the house) we're all asking how we can help.
The point in sharing all of this? We all need a little help from time to time and that's OK. If your kid acts up at my house, it doesn't mean your a bad parent. If your child isn't meeting milestones – that's a scary thing and you need a shoulder to lean on. Seeing your child at their first big gymnastics meet is super exciting, we want to celebrate with you!
That's what the village is about.
It's about sharing the ebbs and flows of parenting.
It's no judgement.
It's understanding that parenting can be so, so hard and that our kids can, and will make bad choices.
The village is about sharing the journey, empathizing with the hilarity of how crazy it can be and being willing to say 'yes' when someone offers you a hand.
It's not about shame and weathering the storm alone. It's not about putting up a facade and pretending that you have it all together and that your kids are perfect. It's about uniting and helping one another through family life, together.
Do you have a village like this? If not, we have one for you, it's called the mom.life app. It's a place where moms are coming together, chatting, sharing, venting and offering up a helping hand and a shoulder to lean on. They share milestones, celebrate the good and commisserate through the not-so-great. Join us! Download the app and see what this village is all about. Share us with your friends who live far away and meet up in our private chats. There's so much going on in our app, you'll love it.