I've always heard that it takes a village to raise a child and I was never really sure I agreed with the idea. My kid, my rules! But suddenly, as I live each day, raising two young children as a stay-at-home mom I begin to understand exactly what this "village" thing means.
Human beings once lived in groups. Families lived together in communities, sometimes in the same home.....whatever the exact living conditions may have been, they were together. In many cultures and countries this is still the way of life, but in the United States we see a much different portrait of families.
Grow up, move away from your parents and siblings and do your own thing. Begin your own family and the process continues. We are independent, strong individuals, but what affect is this having on us as a whole.
Well, when I was a child, my mom took me and my sister to my grandmothers house almost every afternoon. My aunts and my cousins were all there and as our mothers sat together and had lunch, we played dress up, wrote plays, rode our bikes and explored the world together as a team. We had an amazing time, it was good for us, good for our mothers and I'm sure it was fabulous for my grandmother. We all had each other.... is there anything better in the world?
I, however, like many people I know, am raising kids away from extended family. I talk to my cousin, (who I played with each and every afternoon in my childhood) over the phone each day but I would much rather lean on her physically then over a telephone. I wish our children could play together as we once did, rather than shout hello over a phone call and play once every two months when the trips can be planned. We find ourselves in mommy and me groups where we pay for our kids to have friends and for us to have other mommies to talk to. We have to put up with obnoxious people we would rather not surround ourselves with because its the only option. If your family annoys you, you tell them. If some dimwitted mother at mommy-and-me class does something obnoxious you have to look the other way or risk ruining the "good thing you got going".
Its a sad day when we gather in groups with singing teachers telling us to clap our hands and sing stupid songs, rather than bonding in our own homes with the people we are closest to, who we love dearly and can trust with all our heart.
Maybe a "village" isn't such a terrible thing!