Recently, I found myself scrambling through my usual Wednesday routine (when I can actually get out of the house 😂). I woke up late, multiple little people pooped, the husband brought home powdered donuts for breakfast (powder everywhere), the two year old fought his breathing treatment for allllll of the minutes- you get it by now, right? I glance at the time to realize that if we’re going to make it to the story time, I’ve got about 15 minutes to dress myself/kids, change the diapers, brush all of the teeth, fix hair, and tie all of the shoes. You guessed it! We were late. We made it for half of the last book. But to those of you who know me well, you aren’t the least bit shocked. As if the morning at home wasn’t chaotic enough, you can imagine that the library was the perfect storm. We make it to our seats with all eyes watching, boys in tow and baby girl snuggles into her ring sling. Just as quickly as my bottom hit the sit, my two year old wild one was all the way at the top step and baby quickly reminded me that sitting was unacceptable. So there I am, bouncing and swaying, holding back a wild animal, sweating profusely and simply enduring the only 5 pages we made it in for. Song time ended with one of my kiddos face planting to the floor and a very frazzled momma just trying to make it to her craft table and manage to pull off a silly little craft which depicted Santa stuck in a chimney. I’ve never felt more connected with Santa than that craft time. I’m not sure if you’ve ever done a multi step craftivity with a very newly two year old, a three year old, and a nursling latched on, but I’m here to tell you- it’s just delightful. But no really, in the midst of it all, the single most thought in my mind was “what am I even doing here? I’ve clearly gone mad”. Then there it was, the sweet voice of a familiar mom friend asking if she could help. It was a Christmas miracle. Thanks to her and a couple sticky candy canes, we survived the rest of our story time fun. It’s often said that it takes a village to raise a child. I never truly understood this saying until I had children. I like to think that whoever came up with it was a kindred spirit like me just trying to care for their own little circus monkeys. But maybe you’re like me and sometimes get caught up thinking- I can hardly be the chief of my own personal village, how can I possibly attempt to help someone else out with theirs? I’m reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan. If you aren’t familiar with the story, it’s where Jesus says to “love your neighbor as yourself” to which a man replied “who is my neighbor?” I think a lot of times we overthink who our neighbors are. We tend to think way too specifically about them like they must be someone we know really well or that it’s someone who literally lives close by. I don’t think that’s what it means. Further reading of that passage would show you that it’s clear that Jesus’ definition of a neighbor is much deeper than that. To put it simply, our neighbors are the people we encounter everyday. Whether you know them on a personal level or not, the simple act of crossing paths with them makes them your neighbor and you have an opportunity to impact their lives. Sometimes we all fall guilty to self-absorption and we miss the opportunity to be a neighbor. Similarly, I think this also applies to our so called “village”. I hear mothers say all the time “it takes a village”. But what does that even mean or look like? What does it really look like to be someone’s village?
•Its taking a meal to the momma who can’t even handle the idea of standing at the stove tonight (takeout works too).
•It’s dropping off a cup of coffee and a smile to the momma who was up all night.
•It’s forwarding that encouraging podcast to the momma who needs it or simply sending a text to remind her that she is doing a good job.
•It’s keeping the kids for the mom who just needs a minute alone, or even to be able to go the the doctor without her kid emptying out all the tongue depressors.
•It’s picking up groceries for the mom whose scared she’ll go into labor and miss out on her Walmart pickup. (Can we just pause for a minute and acknowledge how Walmart pickup has changed the lives of busy moms everywhere? 🙌🏼)
•Its the ongoing group text that allows you to be real and honest without judgement.
•It’s opening up your home for a last minute play date and a cup of coffee for the mom(s) in your life who need grownup interaction. (Bonus points if there’s no pressure to even wear a bra. That’s next level.)
•Its checking in just to let someone know you care.
•Its lending a hand or word of encouragement to the mom on aisle 3 who has a crying baby strapped to her chest and her big kids are simultaneously bouncing in the buggy and knocking things off shelves.
•To the mom who is struggling and looking for answers in your online mom group, it’s offering support rather than judgement and questioning.
•Its even helping the tired and sweaty momma finish her kids’ crafts at story time.
All of the above mentioned are just SOME of the ways we can band together and help each other. Motherhood is hard. We need each other. Be attentive and look for ways to help your village (whether you know them personally or not). Love your neighbor. Be an active villager.
Thank you to the moms in my life (past, present, and future) who encourage me and help me daily.
Oh and that crazy day at story time? Well it had the perfect ending. Picture this- tired momma buckled in kids 1, 2, and 3. Finally sits down in the drivers seat, takes a deep breath, and cranks her cool minivan. Then there it was. A tiny voice from the back shouted those 4 little words- “I have to pee.”