Dear Mom Without a Village,
A village is a network of family and friend support; it’s the people who help you as you navigate motherhood. It’s your family who watches your child for an evening so you can have a date night. It’s the friend who makes you a casserole on the weekend because she knows you’ve been hitting the drive-thru all week. The village is your sounding board, your listening ear, and the group you turn to for advice.
But you don’t have that. And, frankly, it sucks.
I know you feel alone. I know it isn’t fair. I know you’re doing the best you can. You feel like you’re on an island by yourself. I guarantee you, sweet darling, this is not your fault or a reflection of you at all. It’s hard to make friends as adults; it’s even harder in a pandemic when meeting new people is literally a health risk. But I’m sure you think about how nice it must be to have a friend. A real friend. One who will take your kids when they have the flu or will drop some food off at the door because they know you’re too exhausted to cook.
Maybe you think about how nice it must be to have a supportive family. Maybe your family is emotionally unavailable because of their own trauma. Maybe some of that trauma affected you. It’s amazing, though, how tough situations can make a person go either way. Some people use it as an excuse to live sad, meaningless lives. Others use it as a testimony to find joy in the blessings and vow to never be in that place again. They use it to be better parents, better friends, better partners than what they’ve seen and experienced.
Maybe that’s you. Maybe you’ve pushed through.
Maybe you’re a single mom. Maybe you have a partner who works long, late hours, and you are the primary caretaker for your children. Your family may live far away, or maybe they aren’t in your life. Your children may not have grandparents because they have passed away, or they might be making a choice to stay disconnected. Other family members may want to help but can’t due to their age or physical challenges.
You’re probably feeling lonely and in need of a break. A breather. A minute to yourself.
You deserve it. I see you. I feel for you. I want you to know that I admire you and your power.
There are power and strength in realizing that no family member is critiquing your parenting style and your household’s opinion is the only input. There are no parents or in-laws constantly putting their two cents in on how to raise your children. I know you’ve heard those horror stories. You don’t have to worry about that because you and your partner are running the show. Maybe you’re running the show by yourself, and there’s power in that as well.
Mom Without a Village, hold your head up high. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished with little to no help. If you feel the weight of the challenges your children face, it’s because you are on the front line of the battle (and, therefore, hit the hardest). I urge you to be gentle with yourself and practice not just self-love but self-compassion.
You are strong, brave, and inspiring.
My mom did not have a village. We watched her multitask and juggle schedules like a boss. She was superhuman in our eyes; I am still in awe of her. Know that your children are watching you. They see you carrying your heavy load. Your load will be lightened as they become older and more independent. You will be able to depend on them. They will grow up and appreciate you. The beautiful thing is, you will be the start of their village, and you will be there for them the way you wished someone was for you. Although it seems like a long road until then, I can tell you that it will be worth it from experience.
I see you. I feel your strength. I honor you, and I’m proud of you.