21 February 2009

It Takes A Village

There's an old saying that goes, "It takes a Village to raise a child. "

Early on in my mothering days I lamented over this, feeling sad that, in these days of urban living and scattered families, "villages" seemed to be in short supply - let alone a nearby granny or aunty who could lend a hand to a struggling new mum.

A few years on, I feel differently. I still live amongst urban sprawl, my family is still scattered to the four corners of the earth, grannies and aunties are still in short supply. But bit by bit I seem to be building a little Village of my own.

It's made up of school mums, church mums, soccer team mums, coffee group mums and neighbours. Thrown in for good measure are some surrogate aunties and uncles, borrowed cousins (and the occasional Fairy Godmother).

When my third baby was born, I was astounded as night after night people turned up on my doorstep with meals, baby clothes, and offers of help. I didn't need to cook for three weeks!

I was in awe of some of my friends in particular, who came not with one meal, but with bags and boxes of them. These gifted and generous friends make a habit of spreading their good cooking around. They are the ones with the deep freeze in the garage, who cook extra and seem to always have something frozen on hand to drop off to a sick friend, or new mum. I am in awe of these Domestic Giants.

I have to admit, I have not always been the first one around with a batch of muffins or a pie, but I am trying to be quicker off the mark.

I have experienced the value of that seemingly simple gift of a meal or home baking. It comes with love. It says: Hey, you matter; I'm here for you; You're not forgotten. Inspired by the example of others, I am trying to up my meal-making, muffin-baking game.

But it's not just the meals and home-baking. There have been times when I've been physically incapacitated and have once again been blessed by my wonderful Village with offers of rides to school, play dates, sleepovers (and yes, even meals made).

I'm trying to make sure it's not all one-way traffic though, because "what goes around, comes around." I help you, you help me. We help each other, right? We're in this together my mummy friends. We may live in a very different world than our grannies did, where the village was just over the fence. But the old saying is still true - we need each other. Our Village may look a little different, but it can be just as supportive, just as real, just as invaluable. Thing is, it takes time to build one.

New mothers may be struggling with the isolation of their new role. Hey, reach out! Connect with others, even if it's online. Start building a Village now with muffins, meals, play dates, phone calls, emails, a card…

Then one day when you most need it, you'll find you have a wonderful Village supporting you after all.

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Rebecca said...

Awesome post Simone, you're such a good writer. I think you should send this into some kiddy magazine to be published! Great stuff!

PaisleyJade said...

Great post and so true. Thanks for your inspiration and sharing.

Lala said...

What a lovely post Simone.

I too have had some home baked meals and baking passed my way, and you're right it's such a simple thing that means so much.

It reminds me of a quote I read somewhere "If it's straight from the oven, then its full of loven" (or something like that..)

Penny said...

Yeah I've often also thought how wonderful it would be to raise kids in a really close knit community where everyone looks after everyone else's kids and new mums have all the help they could possibly want. But I am really grateful for the people around me too....I'm glad you've had heaps of support this week. Here's to building our villages!

Valzy said...

Building a village!! love it...I agree with Becs you need to send some of your stuff in...hope you are feeling better, hope you got some prayer yesterday!! love ya x

Slow said...

Quicker off the mark? Goshly I can't say I ever got off the mark. But then I was pretty typical of people in my own neck of the woods. If all of humanity had an ounce of your compassion, just imagine what a wonderful world this would be! (I get wordy in my comments and believe me I would have here but am keeping it simple, honest!)

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