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  • Writer's pictureEliza

The Privilege of a Village in Parenting

This week my husband was away for work. I caveat this by saying I am fully aware others may be heroically solo parenting without a support network and be thriving. I am so utterly inspired. I have a really active family network and husband and I find it deeply hard juggling work, childcare and the wonderful but intense experience parenting can be.

Needless to say, I was anxious about the week.

How would the girls cope with change?

Would their behaviour change accordingly?

How would I get everyone where they need to be at the right time and not lose my job doing more than I have capacity for?

How will I manage the household tasks and multiple daily wash loads with two children prone to accidents?

What if they get ill or the car breaks or.....or.....or.....

I know I am a work in progress when it comes to overthinking and becoming quickly overwhelmed by what are really lots of very achievable tasks. That is not helpful right now. Now I can only work with what I have.

In the end my husband very wisely called my Mum. He could sense it was going to be a challenge for me. I try not to judge myself as I write that.

She came. She helped wash, and feed, and food shop and play with our girls. She chatted and laughed. She shared stories and listened to mine. I kept thinking about how so very grateful I was for the most wonderful, kind and generous person to have as a Mum. I felt my privilege.

I have been reflecting on this a lot. What about people like me who don't have that. How are they coping? Do they have any strategies and would they be willing to share them? I wondered if the struggle makes you stronger or harsher. Does it build your stamina and create inner strength or lead to burn out and low mood. I was aware that even having the ability to wonder about these things was such a privilege.

As I reflected again later I pondered on whether I could be my Mum to someone else when capacity allows. But then, perhaps they don't need me. Perhaps being a peer is effective too. Friends can help with washing and cleaning and school runs and emotional support. I wonder if my friends would want that either. I am going to ask. My friends in real life and you, virtual friends.

What would you find most supportive? How can I be the best 'village' for you?

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