The beautiful thing about motherhood is that even when you feel you are alone, you truly are not. Somewhere on this beautiful planet called Earth there is a woman, another mother, who feels as stressed, overwhelmed, and perhaps defeated as you and wants to be there for you. Before I became a mother, the concept of needing a village was foreign to me. I have always been enough for me. I never needed anyone to bring me dinner so I could have a break from cooking one night. I never needed ‘happy’ flowers delivered to my door. I never needed someone to be there for me when I was freaking out over the tiniest thing. But that’s the thing about motherhood…it takes a village.
It’s been said for a mother to successfully keep her sanity, she needs a village. You could do everything alone. The minute a woman becomes a mother, the natural domesticated, get shit done despite feeling like total crap power kicks in, but why would you want to walk on your motherhood journey alone? Isn’t there something so satisfying and gratifying knowing that you can be there for someone in their times of weakness and despair? Isn’t a breath of fresh air knowing that someone wants to help you clean house, cook dinner, or wash a load of clothes? A husband or boyfriend could never do things exactly how a mother would, but another fellow mother could. So…find a village. Embrace your village. Love your village. More importantly, invite other mothers to be apart of your village.
Critical Tips to Building Your Village
Accept that you don’t have to do motherhood alone.
Before I gave birth to my little girl, I thought that if I needed other women in my life for support that it automatically meant I was a bad mother. I was determined to be able to do it all and, frankly, know it all. Motherhood has a way of humbling a person though. I had been home from the hospital for 3 days when I called my mother and asked for her help. Naturally my mom responded to my plea by telling me she would be at my house in just a few short minutes. I didn’t necessarily need my mother’s help, but the minute she walked thru the door I immediately felt a sense of calm. I simply just needed to feel her support. You see that day I had it in my head that I was struggling with breastfeeding when in reality I was just paranoid and fearful of not being enough for my daughter. My mom couldn’t help me produce more milk or help my daughter with a better latch. My mother was able to be there for me in a way that only another fellow mother would be able to.
Practice being vulnerable.
The key trait to any lasting relationship is its degree of affection and true vulnerability. In my opinion, there is nothing more scarier in this world then showing my vulnerability for fear that I would be judged as weak or submissive. However, being vulnerable in relationships shows true courage by being yourself, emotionally exposing yourself, and accepting risk. With motherhood, we all experience feelings of guilt, failure, happiness and much more, but these feelings are common and natural. 4 hours after I gave birth to Emilia, my sister came to visit me in the hospital. I was desperate for a shower, but was still in so much pain and bleeding. I remember telling my sister how badly I wanted a shower, but I knew I would need help. My sister being the caring person that she is immediately offered to help me, but all I could think about was how swollen and gross I looked naked. My sister is a perfect size 0 even after giving birth to 4 children…a far cry from how I looked. Maybe I was just that desperate for a shower. Maybe I was just feeling that vulnerable, but I put my brave face on and let her help me. It wasn’t easy allowing her to see me in such a fragile state, but it was so nice to know that deep down she was at one time feeling as vulnerable as I did in that moment.
Don’t be afraid to ask and offer help.
We are just ONE person. Say it out loud: I am just ONE person. It is impossible for one mother to do it all. No matter how perfect a mom can seem, deep down she needs help and that’s ok. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a mother that has a 9 to 5 career, you will need help at some point or another. Whether you need help cleaning the house or picking up the kids from school, ask your village for help, but don’t forget to offer help as well. It is an unspoken rule in all motherhood villages that all mothers are in it together. With any relationship, give what you receive and you will be plentiful.
Be selective, but remember that their is strength in numbers.
Your village should consists of women who you trust, who you comfortable with, and with those who you can be vulnerable with. Protect your village. Keep it strong. However, be welcoming to other mothers because you both will need each other. I recently bonded with a mother who honestly I never saw myself bonding with. When I first met Marina, I immediately thought, “wow, this girl is gorgeous,” but never thought we would share anything in common. She eventually married my husband’s friend and became a mother. We bonded due to us both becoming mothers and I am so grateful for her friendship. Emilia is only 2 months older than her son and it is so nice to walk around Sams Club sharing common stories and advice to each other. Our friendship was unexpected, but also a breath of fresh air.
To my mother, Merissa, Tracy, Brittany, and Marina. Thank you for mentoring me and inspiring me to be a better person for my daughter. You have taught me how to be selfless, brave, vulnerable all for the sake of my daughter.