21 February 2009
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).
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.