What I’m Learning About Finding My Village

takes a village

RachelKiser_200TallRachel Kiser
Blogger | Mom of Two

 

One of the most common laments of our age is that our villages are disappearing. I’m sure you’re familiar with the old proverb that begins with, “It takes a village…”. And boy, does it.

We notice its dearth when we are in need of a listening ear, a cup of sugar, or someone to watch the kids while we go to a doctor’s appointment. We feel ill-equipped to do life alone. Rearing children, bearing emotional burdens, sharing joys… it’s all richer, more manageable, when done alongside others. We need one another to offer our unique gifts and differing viewpoints. So much of what I, myself, lack is made up for in the next person.

Frequently we talk about our longing for a village… but how often do we discuss what it takes to find, have, and keep one?

In our present day and age, villages don’t naturally fall into our laps. It takes intentionality, and sometimes even a bit of discomfort.

This conversation is a timely one for me. The past few months have brought a steady stream of company for our family; our guest room has been full of people who love us, play with our children, evoke laughter, and are willing to enter into our lives in an purposeful way. Family and friends, new and old, have sat around our table over dinner and drinks while we share our lives and speak freely.

I know that the above picture sounds downright utopian. We are lucky enough to have people in our lives who want to spend time with us in our element; who hire sitters or take off of work or travel to do so. These instances fill up my soul in a profound and meaningful way. It’s something we plan for, look forward to, and cherish.

And while these visits are a long-term benefit in my life, bringing true enrichment and depth, in the short-term, the intense, intimate interaction can feel heavy and draining to an introvert such as myself. As someone who loves people but craves time alone to recharge, I find myself living within the tension of my desire to exude hospitality and my need to internally process what’s gone on around me. Sometimes, in the midst of a long weekend full of houseguests, or coming off of back-to-back company, I feel depleted.

I want to boldly confess something important that I’m learning as I grow: that what is more important than how I feel is being an active part of a community. I will continue to extend invitations to fill our guest room and table with those in our growing village. Although I may still have to fight the deeply ingrained cultural mindset that says if I’m uncomfortable then I won’t do it, I will do so because of the long-term benefits, for both my family unit and those who are a part of our lives. I have written numerous times about the importance of self-care; I won’t downplay its importance in this scenario, but rather, encourage myself to continue learning how to best refill my cup. In that, I am more capable of nourishing my (and my family’s) need for genuine relationships, and better equipped to meet the needs of others within my circle of influence. And that’s something I find worthwhile.

 


 

RachelKiser_200TallAbout Rachel Kiser

Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.

View all posts by Rachel Kiser here.

11 Comments on “What I’m Learning About Finding My Village”

  1. I found myself always wanted to be alone when I had the time to have people over or go somewhere I chose not to. Now I encourage it and find such pleasure in having people come to visit or to go visit them. I take advantage of it when I can because it is getting a lot harder to get our village together. No one seems to have the time these days with lives being so busy and hectic

    1. Kristen, you are so right. We are all so busy that we forget what’s really important– being with people we love. I love hearing how your life and mind have changed in regards to having people over, I know i’m in good company with these changes!

  2. With most families now a day a double income is needed, so that takes away from home, family and village. As a kids growing up in the 60’s we were watched by our whole street if mom had dad had to go out for a bit. Not any more now

    1. Darlene, I think you’re exactly right! On our street, there are very very few parents staying home with their little ones, so I feel like I’m all alone in my neighborhood. Not the way even my husband and I were raised!

    1. I am with you there, Amy! I don’t know how old your kids are, but I have had many friends find success with MOPS and other play groups. Sometimes it helps to sit next to other moms in your stage of life. You don’t feel so alone.

  3. You are so correct this this article villages certainly don’t fall into our laps, i so remember the good old days when you knew everyone in the neighborhood they were just a shout away to come running if you needed an egg for a recipe someone to watch the kids while you ran to an appointment or someone just popping in for a morning chat and a cup of tea…..those were the good old days thats for sure,the community was like one big family we could trust and depend on each other.

    1. Kathy, it sounds like you raised your children in the glory days of parenting. You have no idea how much I (and my peers) long for that type of community and village mindset! I’m sure you and your kids benefited greatly from those pop-ins and having other moms to lean on.

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