Build a Community Support System
Where can we look to build a community support system?
We’ve all heard that age-old adage that “it takes a village to raise a child.” In early recorded history, villages were made up of groups of people uniting for survival. These groups banded together to assist the growth of their weakest members. Everyone was involved, not just the mothers. Fast forward to a few centuries ago, extended families stayed close together, the divorce rate was much lower, and families had more children, which meant that spouses, grandparents, aunts, uncles and older siblings all took part in helping raise the youngest of the group. The built-in support system of these past generations has become less prevalent.
Different cultures around the world still rely on their small towns to back the families and children within them. But in the U.S., people are more spread out, living farther away from family and friends than ever before. Nowadays, we have to focus on intentionally building our own village because even though we’re strong, independent women we all still need a little help sometimes.
A reliable child care provider
Finding a child care system you can depend on day-in and day-out is key to taking some of the stress off of being a working parent. Bonus if it focuses on education like Kiddie Academy Educational Child Care does with its Life Essentials curriculum. If money is tight, there are several grants available to families in need through places like childcare.gov.
Your family friends & neighbors
Has a neighbor or a close friend offered to help you with something like making dinner and you’ve declined out of politeness? Now is the time to tuck away your pride and just say yes! If we could lean on our neighbors and friends for aid more often, we would add a whole new dimension to our village. It is a nice practice to receive help and to offer it in return.
Having your children involved in sports and other community activities may be a heavy lift but these extracurriculars provide an opportunity to expand your support system. Did you know soccer practices are the perfect length for a quick run to the store? Take advantage of your kids’ participation in these organizations as a way to take a break or even meet new people who will relate to and help you.
In the workplace
Hopefully, your workplace has some family-focused and flexible policies or, at the very least, co-workers willing to cover you when you have to manage issues at home. Find a work buddy who has children just like you and can be your advocate and teammate. And if you’re looking for a new job, be sure to check in with your potential employer about what benefits the company offers to caregivers.
A variety of professional services
For all of those problems you just can’t solve for your kids yourself, don’t be afraid to turn to professional services like psychologists or other specialists. These people are here to advise you and can be essential parts of your village.
Our backing as parents looks a little different these days, but the benefit is that you can choose who to put in your corner. Take a step out of your comfort zone to ask others for their assistance when it comes to raising your children. It’s not easy being a parent, but focusing on building your “village” can help lift some of the weight off your shoulders.