It takes a village

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The support that new mom’s need

I have always believed that it takes a village to raise a child – even with just one child; you cannot be everywhere, all the time.  And you need to take time out for you, for your marriage, for work, and for so many other things.

And as you have read so many times throughout my whole blog, I have not had the support in Baby Girl‘s early years (and even now) as I thought I would from my mother.  In fact, hubby and I used to joke about how we would have to close all the curtains and pretend we are not home just to have some space from my mother.  So, you can imagine the shock when the complete opposite happened and my mother totally pulled away and was not involved at all.

You cannot raise a family on your own.

And further to my post of winning the lottery, I would really like to see support systems in churches that will help new moms cope with their changing world.  The bible says,

Titus 2:3-5

New International Version (NIV)

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

I have often wished in my life, in the absence of a healthy relationship with my mother, to have an older woman I could talk to.  One that would encourage me and to teach me how to be a good wife and mother, because most of this I have had to figure out on my own.  In fact, I clearly recall an incident just after hubby and I were married, when we were arguing about something – I can’t recall now what we were arguing about, and I left.  I got into my car and left.  I didn’t go very far, because inside of me I realised that this is exactly what my mom would do.  And in that moment, I realised that I can argue with hubby better than that – I don’t need to emulate how my parents did things, but rather work on what works for us.  And I have never, and hubby can bear witness to this, argued in that ugly way again.  But, there has never been anyone that I could just bounce ideas off when it comes to marriage, being a working mom, motherhood, etc.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to the older woman I know now, because most of them are not equipped to mentor, teach and train younger women.  And in fact, most are so caught up in their own issues and situations that need dealing with.

And yet I think it is a need that is sorely lacking.

What advice would a younger woman get from your friends and peers who is experiencing trouble in her marriage?  For the most part, I think the first thing they would say is to leave him, he is not good enough for her, she deserves to be happy.  Even a friend of mine the other day was talking about her sister and how she does not like her sister’s husband, and this strong, young Christian woman said she thought her sister should just leave her husband.  I was shocked.  How has it become the norm for even Christians to break down marriages and relationships?  I think – perhaps just hope – that an older woman would advise more along the lines of responsibility and working things through.

And it’s not even that the young married couple are experiencing problems in their marriage – in fact, they could have a really good relationship, but marriage is hard work and having some guidance on how to combine marriage, work, and motherhood into a healthy balance is what is needed and would help anyone – even those with the strongest of relationships.  And the ONLY place to get that is from someone who has already walked that path.

I love this verse from Titus, because it says the church should teach older woman to be reverent in the way they live, so the first point of contact for the church is older woman.  The church should be training up older woman to be mentors and teachers of younger women.  And the church should be working with older woman to enable them to give advice based soundly on scripture.  And yes, many older women have their own issues to work through – but that can also work in their favour.  Hubby’s parents have been married for 46 years (how amazing is that), and hubby’s mom can quite easily teach a younger woman how to achieve what she has because well, because she has actually achieved it.  There is much advice that hubby’s mom can give – because as she said to me the one day, a few years back, you never stop working on your marriage, no matter how long you’ve been married.  She has also raised three wonderful, well-balanced and healthy children who are all doing very well for themselves, and apparently was quite the disciplinarian when they were little.  And she worked full-time and managed a home, baking, cooking, sewing – for three active children.  There is so much she could share and impart to a younger woman.

My mom, however, is probably going to be divorced for the second time and while I hang my head in shame and embarrassment at this prospect, my mom could use what she has been through to teach younger woman on how NOT to do things.  I know that sounds awful coming from me, but I really do mean it in the best possible way.

In fact, when I was little, and this anxiety about eating first hit me, I can clearly remember then wishing I had someone to talk to.  As young as I was, I already sensed that my mom was not giving me the best possible advice on this and that she was using this to validate her own experiences.  And if I had someone at that tender age to tell me it was okay, and to not focus on it, perhaps it would not be an issue now at all.  Because at the end of the day, the anxiety I felt had nothing to do with eating – it had a lot to do with the stressful home environment I grew up in, and I had no one to talk to about it or to help give me a voice to this inner turmoil that I felt.

And once older women are equipped and trained in mentoring younger women, the advice they should give?  To love your husband.  Isn’t that beautiful?

Titus 2:3-5

Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

And I think it is the lack in my life that makes me want to win a lottery to open up a place that can assist younger women start off their marriages in the right way, and to help older women become the mentors that they need to be.

I also feel so strongly that mothers and babies have a special bond that no one else will have – not even the dads.  Moms know what baby needs more so than anyone else – any mom does, but especially the good moms, the ones who desire to give their children the best.  So, while a new mom has a lot to learn, I get annoyed when I hear of stories where either the granny or granny-in-law gets upset because the new mom has not taken their advice.  I remember my mom coming over one Saturday and arguing with me because I wouldn’t let Baby Girl sleep on her donut in front of the TV.  I was insistent she fall asleep in her cot.  Why, oh why, should that even have been an issue?  It’s not what my mom wanted that mattered, or even what I wanted that mattered, it’s what was best for Baby Girl – and that is something only a mom knows.  Dads learn, and I have learnt so much from my hubby when it comes to parenting, but when it comes to Baby Girl being ill or needing something, I instinctively know what she needs.  And while I encourage younger women to listen to older woman for guidance and mentoring, do not ever let anyone step on that sacred bond you will have with your child.  Listen to all the advice you get, sift out what won’t work for you and implement what will work for you.

My business would be a place that:

  • Holds holiday club during the school holidays (meals and activities included);
  • During term time, it would be a party venue and play date venue.
  • It will include a sick room with a nurse on board, that will assist if your child is sick and cannot go to school, but you have no choice but to go to work.
  • And then there will be workshops – because most women, okay not MOST women, but a lot of women (including myself) have no idea how to cook or run a household once baby has arrived, and these workshops will give input and advice on how to do that, plan a grocery list, do a budget, plan a healthy meal and how to cook it, how to do basic first aid, etc.  Workshops will include focus on marriage renewal, being a good mom, being good wife, cooking classes, etc.  Everything to focus on making home life easier and more wholesome.
  • Friday night pyjama party nights where you can drop your kids off while you and hubby go out – please collect your kids by 22:30 at the latest:-).

That is what I would like to do.  I can’t implement all this on my own – there is no way I’m even close to being qualified and most of this has just come about from my own experience in life, so I would have to get a team on board to do a lot of this for me.  I can’t cook, and while I work a pretty mean budget, doing first aid is simply not my thing.  And so I’d call in the experts like Andelene Salvesen – known as Super Granny, or Sister Lilian to give talks on discipline and parenting.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and there is no way I can do this unless I win the Lotto.  But, it will fulfil such a niche in the market – in fact, I can’t think of any place in Port Elizabeth that offers holiday care and sick-day care for children whose mom’s need to work.  Otherwise, we would be using them for Baby Girl.

(some of the above has been reprinted from my previous post on winning the lottery – read it here)



3 thoughts on “It takes a village

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