I was born into a village. A literal village, a small place called Mendez Village, in Siparia, Trinidad (of Trinidad & Tobago). In this place I was surrounded by family. Down the street, up the street & across the street, family & family friends. So much support & so much love. We moved to Canada fairly early in my life, 1993, though I did have a few school years there and have many memories.
In the midst of parenting a 3 year old & 1 year old I sometimes lament it does take a village, where the *bleep* is mine! While I’m aware that life comes with it's own dynamics and challenges. I often realize my mother (much love & respect to her) didn't face many of the challenges I do. The struggle of trying to sneak in a shower with a toddler who can easily get into trouble & a baby that needs to see you or screams murder, just wasn't a part of her life. As children, eyes weren't on us at every minute because there were many eyes looking out. Daycare or a babysitter was never needed. In an inter-generational home, a minute to cook a minute to clean weren't as hard to come by. In addition to the fact that with very different cost of living, one income was sufficient. Many differences, bubble up in my mind, particularly when I feel like I'm losing said mind.
In truth, my mom was probably in that lovely village wishing for some privacy at times. Along with some of the other perks I get, such as, pursuing my own passions, having a life other than family life, a little netflix, etc. It's not about facing the same challenges, parenting regardless of how you do it, where you do it, or when you do it, is tough. Each situation comes with it's own challenges/perks. Thus it’s more useful to try to have empathy versus envy/judgement towards each other. It may be harder to see your supports from indoors but sure enough there are some, though it does take some reaching out.
When I was pregnant with my second, while filled with love, I dreaded the thought of another maternity leave. I had my first child, mid-winter and living in a condo, I didn’t get out much at all, nor had much visitors/helping hands. My second pregnancy was stress-filled and panic attack ridden for a multitude of reasons, but a trigger was the idea of being alone, isolated and feeling trapped. The one thing I did differently was speak out. Letting people around know I was struggling didn’t mean I was always able to get help, but it helped me hear myself and realize that if I wanted something different, I needed to do something different. I had the benefit of the worlds best co-workers (bias noted). I also reached out to public health and set some things up for myself, including counselling. I’m happy to say it made a difference. I still have my mom moments where I think about the other moms, including moms of the past, who may have it differently (in times of skewed thinking, it's easy to assume better). However, I try my best to remember different, doesn’t mean better. We all have our struggles and we can all use support at times. When I do see a mom in struggle, empathy, a helping hand, understanding, are my go to.
I truly believe, in general, we are all doing the best we can, given what we have.
When you do see a mom, if you have a chance to show her you are part of her village, do so.