Our stay-at-home Village

The last four years have been a real eye opener for me. Before I had my own children I really didn’t understand the reality of being a parent, many of us don’t. At times parenthood feels like a marathon with no finish line, and let me tell you…people break down. I am actually quite saddened by how hard this journey has been on both myself and quite a few of my close friends. In general it is more pervasive into a mothers life, but of course there are exceptions. It is hard to a point where you lose yourself to exhaustion, isolation, self doubt and a weird rage that was never there before. But I do not believe it has always been this way. The fact is our modern society, our neighbourhoods, our new age family…just doesn’t support raising human children.

pa and rubyI recently read a great article about how the loss of village life has most affected mothers and I whole heartedly believe this. “Perhaps most tragically of all, the absence of the village is distorting many mothers’ sense of self. It’s causing us to feel that our inadequacies are to blame for our struggles, which further perpetuates the feeling that we must do even more to make up for them.”

My own journey has been hard, I have been at breaking point many a time, but there is one thing that has helped beyond all else. My tiny stay-at-home village. My mum and dad.

My parents are retired, and since our son’s birth four years ago we have all lived together for two years and only lived five minutes apart for the remainder. We see each other almost every day. They help with pretty much everything, from entertaining kids to household chores. If I am in a fowl mood, they accept it. If my house is a bomb site, they help clean. If I feel like giving the kids away, I can (for a short time at least;)). They are always there. 

To be honest I have had many a pang of guilt about how much I rely upon them. Sometimes thoughts of inadequacy creep into my mind, “this is wrong, I should’t need them”, which is RIDICULOUS. But, as the years go on and I still rely on them more then ever, I am accepting that it is right. That having our family (and ideally our extended family) close by, helping daily, is actually the way it was for so many thousands of years. Accepting that our current family makeup is a blip on our existence as a species.

bozandgranmaI also have the most amazing friends. Beautiful, caring, inspiring people. Shouldn’t they be enough? Well, no. Because the fact is most of them are in the very same exhausted, isolated, self doubting, weird rage head space that we are in (that is most of them have young children or demanding jobs, or both).  On top of that our days are just not intertwined enough that we can fully support each other in the ways that are needed. Whether that means we live too far apart, work varying hours or simply cook, eat and sleep separately (because hey, that is what happens when you don’t live in a huddle of huts).

So here’s a tired mum saluting her tiny stay-at-home village and sending a little wish out that one day our villages will grow again, in a different and wonderful way.

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Dad be stepping up

I freakin LOVE my husband. Sure he annoys me to no end, leaves his clothes all over the house and has a distinct knack for relaxing on the couch while chaos reins around him…totally none the wiser. BUT…I love love LOVE him, and every single day I feel beyond blessed to have him on my team.

Although we’ve had our up’s and down’s the years roll on and with each one our connection is stronger. When parenthood landed on our door, with all the surprise of snow for an Aussie Christmas, I knew our relationship was hitting a big test. After all it has been my experience as a witness that children tend to make or break a relationship.

To my utter delight (and quiet confidence) parenthood proved to only deepen our understanding and compassion for each other. My man stepped up to the plate as a little human catapulted us into a life with a level of purpose and dedication that we had not experienced before. Suddenly what was important actually seemed a hell of a lot more important then… hmmm anything previously. And LOVE!!… my gosh, we learned to love more then ever before and this love was unconditional.

IMG_3490_fotorNow here we are welcoming another member to our family and getting pretty darn use to Little Roo being our number two. And my husband…well he be stepping up yet again. Sure I already knew he was a great dad. But with one child it is easier for mum (or whomever happens to be primary carer) to juggle the bulk of what needs to be done. I know this isn’t every family’s dynamic but it certainly seems a trend among my tribe. When you add another, not soooo easy. The team has had to reinvent itself, change the strategies and pull together. It’s not always beer and skittles, but certainly results in an ever deepening family connection.

So to my main man Mr G, thanks…for stepping up and being the insanely amazing man you are… I am truly grateful 🙂

p.s remember this when I am tired and grumpy and send you evil mumma eyes xo