I’m sure you have heard it before: “It takes a village to raise a child”.
I’m learning that more and more each day.
I can’t do it alone.
I can’t even do it just with Theo.
It really does take a village. It takes grandmothers and aunties and friends and good examples and even some bad examples to raise a child up right. It takes a church and a family and friends. It takes so much more than an independent parent.
A few weeks ago, I was talking with some other mothers in our church. I was chatting with a wiser mother who has also spent some time in Africa. As we watched the kids play together, she said this:
You know…our culture does such a disservice to mothers
Our culture. The culture that values independence and success. The culture that applauds those who climb the highest professional ladder and praise those who make the biggest figures. The culture that values children who are involved in so many extra-curriculars and pushed Kindergarteners to be able to read faster and better and much, much sooner than at any other time in the past.
Is our culture bad? No! Not always. There are times when valuing success IS extremely beneficial. There is a reason that America is often viewed as the land flowing with opportunity and abundance. There are times when there is nothing wrong with climbing the corporate ladder or making a six figure income.
But this culture does a disservice to mothers.
You see…our culture teaches us that we should be able to do it alone. We should be able to be successful. Our child should be reading by Kindergarten. Our house should be neat and clean and by golly, it should be featured on Pinterest. Our children should be well-behaved and at soccer at 3, ballet by 4 and swimming lessons by 5. Dinner in the crock-pot and our husband should be well-fed. Oh, yeah…and being a stay at home Mom and managing all that is for the weak and discontent.
So maybe that is a little bit extreme, but really…that is how our culture operates. Independence. Success.
Other cultures around the world do it much differently. Cultural values are built around family. Success is dependent on how many children parents have, and time is dedicated to raising those children. The entire village is utilized in the raising of children and no one operates on independent gain. Young mothers will usually “borrow” a teen or pre-teen sister or cousin to aid them when a baby comes along. Oftentimes, a young mother will move back in with her mother throughout the course of a pregnancy and the newborn stage. In turn, when a woman’s child reaches teen or pre-teen age they are often sent to live with or help out another young mother to aid her in the daily tasks of keeping up with a household, providing food for the husband and other children and taking care of the young child. There is no pay. There is no glowing stars on the resume. There is help, support, and aid to those mother who have young children.
This is not to say that one way is ‘right’ and one way is ‘wrong’. No, there are many valuable things in each culture that we would do good to implement.
I believe that one of these things that we would do good to implement is the aid that is given to mothers with young children. Just imagine if the Mom in your church with a teen or pre-teen daughter would send her over every day to do your dishes and wash your laundry. She would be learning how to manage to a household, and she would helping you in the process. Imagine if we were able to send our own daughters over to a friends house to cook them a meal. Or send our sons over to fix up their leaking roof.
You see, our American culture tends to tell mothers that they need to do it all on their own. Cook, clean, keep baby alive, and make it to several social functions. It’s no wonder Americans are having fewer and fewer children, and getting busier and busier by the year!
Fellow Mom’s…let’s not forget. Let’s not forget that it takes a village. Let’s not forget that we actually don’t have to do it on our own. Let’s not forget that we are all in this together and asking for help does not mean that we have failed or that we are bad mothers. Let’s not forget that success actually does not depend on how much you can do all by yourself. Let’s teach our daughters to be helpful to mothers with young children. Let’s remember that each mother is doing this, too. You are not alone and they are not alone.
Let’s do this momma thing together.