What If Your Parenting Village Doesn’t Exist?


Have you heard the famous saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Does hearing it leave you looking around wondering where on earth you can find this so-called village? 

While the idea of having a large support system to lean on and help raise your children sounds great, for many people like myself, it simply does not exist. 

I once believed that “a village” had to be made up of family members. But that wasn’t exactly possible when mine lived in an entirely different country.

Sure, my husband’s family was close-by and willing to lend a hand. But I was hesitant to reach out to them for help. I felt vulnerable admitting that I was struggling and not capable of doing everything on my own.

The reality was, however, that I desperately needed support. I had fallen deep into societal pressure to be the perfect mother, and I was burned out from bearing most of the weight of parenting responsibilities. Not to mention, I was isolated and lonely from a lack of social interactions.

What If Your Parenting Village Doesn't Exist?It took me a while to realize that “a village” doesn’t actually have to be made up of grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles. A village can also be built.

So in desperation, I set out to build my own village, and here is how you can too.

1) Drop your pride and communicate your needs to existing family and friends.

Shame and guilt were the major reasons I rarely reached out to my existing family and friends. Not only was there shame in admitting to others that I needed help, but there was also shame in admitting it to myself. I wanted to be the perfect mother who could do it all. And asking for help felt like I had failed.

Desiree. My confidant. One of the reigning members of my village.
2) Do not make assumptions.

I made assumptions about people that were not true. These assumptions caused me to believe the lack of support I had was a matter of people simply not wanting to help. These assumptions held me back from asking for help for a long time. Once I finally communicated my needs, I learned that my family and friends were willing and happy to help.

My sister. My village away from home.
3) Take advantage of social media to establish friendships.

We live in a digital world. Social media platforms and messaging apps give us the freedom to connect with people all over the world. While using these platforms shouldn’t be a substitute for real-life interactions, they are definitely an effective way to make new friends. I have met some of my closest mom friends on Instagram. If I come across someone’s profile and I see we have things in common, I will give them a quick follow. Many of my friendships have started with a follow, a like, or a comment. And then those have quickly led to playdates and mom nights out. It can be nerve-wracking to reach out to someone new, but chances are other moms are just as anxious and eager to make new friends as you are.

Momtourage: a group of amazing moms from El Paso. I was introduced to the momtourage after meeting one of its members on social media! Never knew I could be so thankful for a follow button.
4) Explore child-friendly programs and playgrounds in your area.

I have met some amazing moms at The Little Gym, Tiny Xplorers, Do-re-me Music Class, and various playgrounds throughout the city. Meeting moms while you are with your children is great because you already know you share something in common. Children also act as great ice breakers. You can ask for a mom’s number to schedule a playdate, and from there you can stay in touch and develop a friendship.

Creating my own village has completely changed my experience with motherhood. Surrounding myself with like-minded moms who share my struggles and validate my feelings has saved me during a time when I felt like I was drowning. There is no better feeling than to have a trusted village and support system that I know I can confide in and rely on to help nurture and raise my children. 

Originally published March 2022.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of El Paso Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.


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