As a new mom, I heard the phrase “it takes a village!” quite often, but living across the country from my family, I never quite understood it fully. Since we’ve moved back to Ohio, our village has been out in full force to support us, and it has been a welcome respite!
When you don’t have a support network in town, everything falls on your shoulders – all the childcare, all the cooking, all the work etc. Over time you adjust and learn to manage it all, but those moments of “if only we had grandparents here!” creep in. I remember some long days at home with Lila, and the total desperation I felt for Luke to get home from work so I could take a break.
Now that we’re back near our family and friends, we have been fully enjoying all the help we can get.
On the 3rd of July, my brother’s family hosted their annual fireworks party. We were having a nice time, but by 8:30 Lila was rubbing her eyes and on the verge of losing it from exhaustion. Normally, we’d be packing up and saying our goodbyes before we were really ready, but this year, my mom volunteered to take her home so we could stay and enjoy ourselves.
Then this weekend, we went to visit Luke’s family in Indiana, which meant two days of sleeping in for me, grandparents and aunts and uncles to play and entertain Lila while I read, wonderful meals I didn’t have to cook and even a night out with Luke.
Living with my parents while we work on our house has also meant a lot of little, much needed, breaks from toddler duty throughout the day. Those 10 minute breaks can mean a world of difference when you’re watching a very active toddler.
On Friday, Luke’s parents are coming up to watch Lila all weekend while we get away to Put-In-Bay and Cedar Point. It’s been a really long time since Luke and I had a weekend to ourselves. I am looking forward to being off toddler time, going on all the “big” rides and eating slow leisurely meals. I am most excited about these giant swings. Weeee!
After being away from a support network and now having them close, I will say it doesn’t HAVE to take a village, but it sure is nice have people who love your child around to help. I think as a new mom, it’s easy to feel like you must do everything yourself in order to be a “good” mom. It’s hard to ask for help sometimes, because we don’t want to admit we’re struggling.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned since moving home and getting help, it’s that self-care is very important when you’re a mom. Having these breaks when people help has made me a better mom when I am with Lila. When my cup gets refilled, I am more patient, understanding and nurturing.
Whether it’s a good daycare, loving babysitter or family and friends, having a “village” around to support a young family is so very important. I’m so happy we are settled near our large and loving village.