Village Parents

In the span of two years I went
from a stay at home mom, to a part time working mom, to a full time working mom. With each shift there was obviously gratitude and excitement about the new opportunities but I'd be a total liar if I didn't admit that there was also a sizable amount of mom guilt that also accompanied those shifts and changes. Almost daily I reflect on the day and feel guilty for time spent apart, or time not spent at the playground, or time spent thinking about the other things I need to do. 

When I question parenting decisions I often reflect on what I experienced myself, as a child. And that isn't specific to this working mom guilt - I've thought about it with almost every decision I've ever made as a parent. I think that's just a natural thing we do in life - relate back to our own lived experiences to draw context for current ones. 

While I was walking today I thought about my own parents and their work-life balance. When my father still lived with us, he worked full-time and largely out of town when I was small, and my mother was home with us until I was around three years old. Once she started back to work she experienced that familiar growth in her work-life. For the majority of my young life, that I can remember, my mom worked. At the point in time that our home became a single parent home, she worked even more. My mom is my everything, but she wasn't the one who always did everything. Don't get me wrong, while she may not have been there physically for certain things, she was no doubt responsible for arranging everything. And she had an incredible village. 

I remember other parents driving us to and from the rink for skating, or to the soccer field, or to school. I remember my tire blowing out on the side of the road and my now Dad, and family friend, Ron, coming together, to the rescue. I remember my grandma babysitting us for endless hours - crocheting and singing her tra-la-la song while she did leg lifts with us sitting on her feet - yes, she's that amazing, and still kickin' it to life at 97. I remember my older brother and sister "babysitting" us - I use the term loosely - haha! I remember spending weeks at a time with other families while my mom taught power skating schools in the summer. 

Mostly, I remember being a happy kid. I remember feeling loved and cared for and supported. I remember having an incredible tribe of trustworthy adults to lean on and count on. 

You see, two isn't enough - you need to have three at least. Didn't we all learn this from Marcus on About a Boy? One person cannot do it all - one person shouldn't do it all. We are so much better when we all lend our strengths and gifts to lift each other. 
So tonight, when that mom guilt crept up, I told it to take a hike. Today I watched my youngest write his own name. I am not bragging. In fact, I would argue I had little to do with this because I, like my mom, have an incredible village to lean on. Everyday my kids have fun, play and are educated by the most amazing tribe. For every moment that I am not there, there is a trustworthy, supportive, kind and giving human that is. And like me, I think my kids will be better for it.

Thank you to every one of my village parents that took care of me. Thanks for helping my mom, I am certain she felt the guilt. Thanks for being there for me, for showing me love and kindness. And thank you to every one of my current village parents. Thank you for loving my boys, for caring for them and for me. 

- lovefrommaria


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