Parent Circle: A Mom’s Thoughts
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I have also learned it to be true that a child raises a village.
I remember imagining, as I was up in the night breastfeeding my first child, all of the women who were awake doing the same thing, right beside me, all across the world. I remember feeling the magic of the village as people dropped off food at our doorstep and as I connected with other new mothers about how open our hearts were and how we felt we were touching the very center of bliss and struggle right at the same time.
The village was alive at the park when I would strike up a conversation with other parents and celebrate getting deeper than “How old is your baby?” instead of sharing our vulnerable, brave, honest confessions about how we were actually feeling. After my second son was born and I would be juggling rocking him in the stroller and running to catch my toddler from falling off the jungle gym, there would sometimes be a parent I’d never met before who would step in to push the stroller a few times or offer a hand to my falling son. When my son would throw sand at another child, my embarrassment would be overshadowed by the joy in doing it together as another parent warmly stepped in and said, “Oh honey, we can’t throw the sand. It might hurt her eyes.”
At my children’s preschool, I met a mom a few years ahead of me on the motherhood journey, who also wanted to connect deeply over motherhood. It felt like heaven to find someone who brought snacks for my kids as well as hers and pulled out a tissue to wipe my kid’s nose just like she would her own. She shared with me models and mantras that supported her in how to think about self-care, ways to joyfully co-parent with a partner, and what an empowered homebirth could look like. We have laughed about poo all over the crib and cried about the heartache of our miscarriages.
It was motherhood that made me ache for the village, and it has been through motherhood that I have found mine – a web of parents parenting alongside me both near and far, at a similar stage as me and at all different parts of the journey. Now, almost seven years into parenting with a 6, 4, and 2-year-old son (and another coming in the new year), I aim to be like these incredible souls connecting with and holding up the village that is all around us as we parent our children.
So, as the Friendship In Action team discussed how we could adapt and continue to support kids and families in the face of the increased isolation, anxiety, and worry that has hit us all with COVID-19, it came to me instantly that we should offer online Parent Support Circles. The desire within parents to be supported by a community has never been stronger. The wonderful thing is that these online circles have proved our ability to share what we are thinking and feeling as parents and generate much empathy to leave us all a little more understood, recharged, and healed. If you, like me, have a deep, burning desire to be connected with the village all around you as you parent your children, I hope you’ll join us.
-- Leslie Richardson (Mom and FIA Facilitator)
For more details about our online Parent Support Circles, please contact us at email@example.com.