When we have no village, we have more stress

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So many of us mamas long for the “village” that we have heard the generations before us talk about time and time again.

For many of our moms, aunts and grandmothers, these villages existed so naturally because they raised their families in the same communities that they too grew up in – they felt well established and were surrounded, in many cases, by their family and friends.

But now we are in a day in age that most of us have moved away from the communities that we were raised in, the communities that we so lovingly refer to as “home”.

We followed a job. We stayed in the city we went to college in. Our spouses are from a different place. We wanted adventure, a change of scenery.

And it all seemed like the grandest of ideas until we had kids.

Well, maybe I should stop generalizing with “we”. This is how it was/is for me.

When my husband and I got married we wanted something new, both from the New England area, we wanted adventure and we weren’t scared to move.

About a year after we got married, our son was born. I think he could honestly tell you that I’ve questioned our decision to move ever since that day or at the very least 2 weeks after he was born when my mom left to head back home.

I’ve made friends, some really good friends that I enjoy spending time with and my kids love to play with….but why does it always feel like I am so far from my “village”?

Last week, for Thanksgiving, we rented cabins in Western North Carolina and within a half mile radius from us we had my parents, my in laws and two of my brothers and their families. I felt like I had it all – in fact, for most of the week, I felt like I was on top of the world. Part of this was definitely the scenery, the cool air and the joy on my children’s faces every time I looked at them.

It was more than that, though. I didn’t realize it until the moment we got home, but for the first time in a long time, I felt relaxed even with my kids running amuck beside me…and that wasn’t because of the mountain air.

Nope.

It was because my “village” was right there. It was okay to let my kids run in and out of rooms, and the house because whether they were in the kitchen or the living room, this cabin or that cabin, inside or outside, there were people there that loved them and wanted nothing but the best for them.

So, I relaxed. It didn’t feel like it was all on me.

That’s really what it comes down to – when we live in new places and raise our kids in areas that we don’t know many people, I think we tend not to trust that others have the same vested interest in our kids that we do….because they probably don’t.

My neighbors today might know my kids names and buy them birthday and Christmas presents each year, but they don’t really know anything else about them. Yes, if they saw them lost outside they would bring them back home to me. Yes, they wave “hi” to them each time we see them. Yes, they are kind and friendly and, in a very general way, they care about them.

But, it’s different.

When we don’t have that village that we REALLY know and we REALLY trust, the stress creeps in. Mom and dad get overwhelmed because the responsibility is heavy and real and they feel like they never get a break.

And despite connections with others and making real, honest friendships, they still feel stressed and like they are doing it alone…because their “village” is just different.

…or at least mine is.

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Are you a mom that needs a break? Maybe a day out? or a weekend away? Time to connect with other moms and relax? Well, Bethany is working hard to bring a series of moms’ day out/ retreats throughout the U.S. in 2017. If you’re a nursing mom, don’t worry – they’ll be a retreat for you too – where your baby is welcome, too 🙂

If you’re interested in being the first to know about the dates and locations (and maybe even have a say in where and when they are) you need to get your name on the list here:

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