Fast forward to motherhood. Again I was clueless. I did have my early childhood memories to lean upon as my mother was an angel of a mom when I was very young. I had lots of books (which my mother did not approve of as the babies never read the books) and a couple of friends, but they were as clueless as I was regarding the subject. Fortunately, I have a pretty good maternal instinct and I had the north star of "I will not raise my child the way I was raised." (ie. my father's authoritative abuse) but I didn't have a picture of what that even looked like or how to live it day to day. I began a search to find families and in particular mother's who raised their children well. I found several along the way and forged friendships with them. In each one a learned something valuable, but I made a very critical mistake. I thought they had THE answers. All of them. To every question. Foolish, I know now, but as a young mother I thought that was the way it was. As I slowly realized they were trying to figure it out just like I was, I adopted the old adage, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water" as my motto. In other words, take what you learned and what serves your family and move on.
I began to be a collector of wonderful mothers. With most they were part of my life for a season, but never to be forgotten because of the gems they shared or modeled for me. Others became precious friends I could walk the journey with. This was when I realized that I was building my village. Enter the next mistake. Thinking they all had to live right next door to me. I cannot tell you how many countless hours I spent fantasizing about finding THE community of like minded thinkers who were gonna start the homestead with me and raise our families together. There were a couple times I really thought I had come close, only to be fiercely disappointed in the fact that they were just as human as I was and possibly a bit more judgmental. Regardless, it just never happened.
After a time of mourning my dream community, I finally realized that I had actually been creating it all along. I had created a strong support net of mothers, lovers, poets, artists, and mentors already. They were all right there in front of me. Except they weren't. They were at my bellydance class, the weekend retreat I went on, a homeschool blog site I used to write on, etc. Some lived near by, others far away and one dear sister I have never had the pleasure of meeting face to face yet. Nonetheless, they are my village.
You need a village. You really do. You can't live this life on your own. I mean you could, but it is so much harder and painful that way. You need support and more than likely it is not coming from your blood family. If you do happen to be one of the lucky ones, please take a moment to breathe gratitude into the world and then tell them how awesome they are.
You need a village. Not just your partner, not just your parents or your family, not just your best friend. Think about it, you are TOO big a soul to lay down on one human being. And is it really fair to expect only ONE human being to contain all you are, to support all you need, to give you all the wisdom you seek. We are meant to live together and support each other. Create that community through any and all means possible. You need the support and wisdom of others. Let them do it! Seek them out! You will probably find that they have been looking for you too all along.
By the way, in case you are wondering. I am part of your village and you are part of mine.
Thank you internet.
Yael (Your local Village Wise Woman)