Finding Your Village of Support

by Jen Reichert

I recently spent a weekend with a college buddy who’s not only one of my favorite people, but also a talented, funny, and cheerful mom of two and wife (of one).

Like other parents past, present, and future, she thinks parenting is hard and needed advice from all the parents in the room – plus me, the Not-a-Parent.

After our problem-solving sesh, I wondered what my pal’s support system is like. Other than her husband, who does she have back home to talk her through the toughest parts of parenting? Who does she reach out to when she needs to brainstorm, or vent, or be encouraged, or sit in silence? The sad reality is, I don’t know.

Parenting is Hard. How Can We Make it Easier?

What I DO know is she shouldn’t parent without a whole task force at her beck and call. Her husband is her partner in all things and a swell guy, but “it takes a village” didn’t become a figure of speech all those eons ago for no reason.

Research proves that kids raised in large but tight communities often fare much better in the world, and unfortunately, our culture has moved away from that model and become much more isolated than our grandparents and great-grandparents were.

What does that mean for us?

Well, for starters…

Parents, enlist the help of family and friends you trust who are available the second you need ‘em. No dawdlers allowed.

Plus, I recommend you open up to your family and friends who are the most genuine, the best at listening, and the least judgmental. You can even get the help of our Caregiver Support team or a counselor who knows a thing or two about raising children.

Start a group text, schedule a regular phone call, or set a coffee date.

Attend one of our Support Gatherings with other caregivers who can relate to you, empathize with you, and encourage you.

Not-a-Parent, you’re not off the hook, friend. It’s up to you to be the life support for the parents you know. Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart, and many parents have a difficult time with it, so make time to pour into them.

They could use a hand, so take an interest, offer to help with errands and honey-dos, be a cheerleader, and/or treat them to lunch on the reg.

I’m in the process of setting up an advocacy team for my bestie because there’s really no reason she should be parenting without an entourage of people who care.

Hopefully, she’ll soon begin to rely on her village because it does, in fact, take one.