Does it really 'TAKE A VILLAGE?'
Redefining the Village: Support Systems in Modern Parenthood
I encountered criticism when I made the decision to enroll my daughter in daycare for a couple of days each week. This choice allowed me to carve out time for myself, including trips to the gym, moments of relaxation, and the simple luxury of a shower. On certain occasions, her stay at daycare lasted only a few hours, but it was a deliberate effort to recharge and reconnect with my own identity. Despite the unfortunate judgments cast by others, I hold no regrets about my decision. I'm aware that my bond with my daughter grew stronger because I was able to offer her a greater portion of my energy and attention, fortified by the revitalizing effects of my workout.
This phenomenon led me to question one of the most common adages about parenting:
"It takes a village to raise a child."
This saying undoubtedly carries weight – provided you have a village. Yet, even without one, the journey remains navigable. My immediate family resides in a different state, and while they offer assistance whenever possible, the day-to-day responsibilities of caring for my daughter as a single mother has rested on my shoulders.
A piece of advice I'd like to share is the significance of granting yourself the liberty to decline visitors whenever necessary. This holds particularly true during the initial days and weeks after childbirth, but it holds value throughout all phases. To illustrate, three out of my four older brothers met my daughter when she was already two weeks old. Their respect for my boundaries and understanding of my daughter's vulnerability during that time reinforced the idea that I needed recovery.
The village concept undeniably brings numerous benefits, yet remember that saying "no" when the situation requires is just as important. Your children will learn from your example, observing how you establish limits as they mature. Your modeling of this behavior will equip them to set their own boundaries comfortably as they grow.