Monday, October 17, 2016

When There is No Village

How both mothers and children are often isolated. As an older parent, this has been my experience. From Beth Berry:
Though the expression “It takes a village to raise a child” has become cliché, the impact of our village-less realities is anything but insignificant. It’s wreaking havoc on our quality of life in countless ways.

In the absence of the village…
  • Enormous pressure is put on parents as we try to make up for what entire communities used to provide.
  • Our priorities become distorted and unclear as we attempt to meet so many conflicting needs at once.
  • We feel less safe and more anxious without the known boundaries, expectations and support of a well-known group of people with whom to grow.
  • We’re forced to create our tribes during seasons of our life when we have the least time and energy to do so.
  • We tend to hold tight to our ideals and parenting paradigms, even when doing so divides us, in an attempt to feel safer and less overwhelmed by so many ways and options.
  • Our children’s natural way of being is compromised, as most neighborhoods and communities no longer contain packs of roaming children with whom to explore, create, and nurture their curiosity.
  • We run around like crazy trying to make up for the interaction, stimulation and learning opportunities that were once within walking distance. 
  • We forget what “normal” looks and feels like, which leaves us feeling as if we’re not doing enough, or enough of the “right” things.
  • Depression and anxiety skyrocket, particularly during seasons of our lives when we instinctively know we need more support than ever but don’t have the energy to find it.
  • We feel disempowered by the many responsibilities and pressures we’re trying so hard to keep up with.
  • We spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need in an attempt to fill the voids we feel.  
  • We rely heavily on social media for a sense of connection, which often leads us to feel even more isolated and inadequate.
  • We feel lonely and unseen, even when we’re surrounded by people.
  • Our partnerships are heavily burdened by the needs that used to be spread among communities, and our expectations of loved ones increase to unrealistic levels.
  • We feel frequently judged and misunderstood.
  • We feel guilty for just about everything: not wanting or having time to be our children’s primary playmates, not working enough, working too much, allowing too much screen time in order to keep up with our million perceived responsibilities, etc.  
  • Joy, lightness and fun feel hard to access.
  • We think we’re supposed to be independent, and feel ashamed of our need for others.
  • We make decisions that don’t reflect our values but our deeply unmet needs.
(Read more.)

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