My husband and I moved to Virginia when our second daughter was almost a year old. Having two young children and living away from close family was manageable. It was easy for us to visit our families back in NY. Almost every time we would drive up (every other month), the kids and I would stay behind for a week while my husband went back to work. We would spend quality time with family, see old friends, and simply relax. The girls were young and we didn’t have any major commitments. My husband and I would also have the opportunity to go out on a date, leaving the girls with relatives.
A year and a half later, we had our third child. He arrived one week after his due date which was one week before we were scheduled to move out of our apartment into a townhouse. That was difficult. Adjusting to three children was challenging on its own, but especially after a big move. It was then that I heard the phrase for the first time, “It takes a village”. I still didn’t grasp it well though.
A Breaking Point and a Rescue
It wasn’t until we had our fourth child that I understood what that phrase meant. I still remember how overwhelmed I had felt when I got home from the hospital. All three kids hovering over me and their baby sister, wanting to hold her, kiss her, and to see her every move. I couldn’t tolerate it. My mother and husband were there to help, but my husband had to go to work and my mother could only stay for a few days. The first time I was left completely alone with all four kids was extremely overwhelming. I cried. A lot. I couldn’t imagine how I’d ever get the kids needs taken care of; feeding them, changing them, doing the laundry, taking care of the baby’s needs, and let alone my own.
That’s when my mini village stepped in. My friends who are like family now came to my rescue. One of them set up a meal train for us. Others took the older kids for playdates so I can rest. Some came by to do my dishes, vacuum, or put a load of laundry in the wash for me. I took all the help I could get and I wasn’t shy about it. I also hired a sitter occasionally to watch the children while I rested.
My Personal Advice
Sure, everyone is different. Some of us are fine and can adjust easily even with multiple children. But some of us struggle to adjust to having one child. It takes a village to raise even that one child. We do need all the support that we can get.
- Don’t be shy to ask for help, or to accept it when it’s being offered
- Don’t hesitate to say no to a situation you cannot handle
- Don’t feel bad to let your house be a bit messy, the kids a bit disheveled, or to have cereal for dinner
- Be happy, do things that will help you rest and relax
- Rest assured that your village people do exist, you just have to let them in