It Takes A Village…Or Does It?
Does it truly take a village to raise a child? I’m not exactly sure how I feel about that saying as a military spouse living far away from my family. Parenting is hard work. I used to think that graduate school was the hardest thing I’d ever done but from where I sit deep in the trenches of new motherhood, grad school looks like a cake walk. Having a “village” close by could potentially make it a little easier. That is why I think that saying is almost a tease to me. Often times, I find myself being slightly jealous of people that live close to their families because I know how much easier it could be if my Mom and Dad lived down the road. A date night here or there, an afternoon of quiet to clean my house or catch up on laundry…the options would be endless. So what happens when you aren’t able to live near your family? For instance, many military families live thousands of miles away from any family. That can make it difficult in this new parenting journey and you can feel completely alone at times. Trust me, I feel like that almost weekly. I love when I’m telling someone how difficult new motherhood is and they simply say well why don’t you move closer to your parents? I have to laugh a bit and simply respond with “if we could, we would.” I’ve decided to share a few tips for new moms who also feel like their village is nonexistent and hopefully on your worst days you won’t feel as alone.
Lean on your Spouse.
My husband has been my saving grace. He tries to go above and beyond when he knows I’ve had a difficult day with my son. For instance, Liam has not been sleeping much lately which means the housework isn’t getting done. I have laundry piling up, dishes rotting in the sink and garbage cans overfilling. He will try his hardest to do at least one chore a night that he notices hasn’t been done. You might say I’m lucky to have a hubby who does this but I’ll be honest. He didn’t always do this. It took major communication and a few arguments for him to understand that doing a few chores would make a world of difference for me. Speak up, share with your spouse how he can make new motherhood just a bit easier for you.
Build your Mom tribe.
I’ve always been a major introvert which makes the whole making friends thing SUPER difficult for me. Being open and initiating friendships is not my strong suit. After having Liam, I began to realize that for my emotional health I needed to build deep lasting friendships with other mothers. I can’t tell you how proud and happy I am with myself for reaching out to the women I did. It was beyond difficult and almost nerve racking at first to put myself out there but now I know I have a few really great friends that are there for me no matter what! My tip is make friends with Mom’s that have slightly older children than yours. That way you always have someone you trust to go to for advice. They have been through everything you’re going through and fairly recently too. 🙂 You ladies know who you are!
Find easy fixes.
What I mean by this is find the easiest way to do something that you dread doing or that takes up too much of your time. For example, I really dislike grocery shopping. Where I live there is only one grocery store and everyone acts like the apocalypse is about to hit. This makes my weekly shopping trips ridiculously stressful and time consuming. I recently found ClickList. It’s an order ahead online grocery shopping service. All you do is build your list online, add your coupons, and pick it up during your designated time frame. Some people I know love grocery shopping and use it as time away from their children. So if that’s the case choose a few other difficult weekly or monthly tasks that apply to you and find easier ways to do them. This will decrease your stress and give you more time at home with your little one.
Get out of the house.
I know how difficult this can be with a new baby. My husband works long hours and I’m the sole caregiver for Liam 12 hours a day. That leaves me running lots or errand alone with a baby throughout the week. I find that no matter how difficult it can be to get going and leave our house it still helps. When we are out and about he seems more content than at home. Then, after we get home I’m always in a better mood and can care for Liam much easier.
Finally, I have learned in the last 5 months that I am stronger and braver than I ever thought I could be. Village or no village, I can raise my son to be an amazing person all on my own. ( With the help of my amazing hubby) I think when we are put in certain situations we learn and adapt to get by. It hasn’t been easy going from one sleepless night to another and a lot of tears have been shed. But when I find myself doubting my abilities I just look back at how far I have come in the short amount of time I’ve been a mother. That in itself gives me the strength to keep going. A village might make it easier sure, but if that’s not in your cards you are still perfectly capable of being an amazing parent without that village!