HomeArticlesHow to Build Your Own Parenting Village When You Don't Have One

How to Build Your Own Parenting Village When You Don’t Have One

They say “it takes a village” to raise a child, but for some of us, parenting is more akin to treading water alongside a deserted island. There were seasons in my life where being a mom did not come with a tribe of other women I could lean on, specifically when my first daughter was born. I was the first of all my friends to have children and the first in my family as well. Overnight it seemed I was living on a different planet and my existing support system of childless friends couldn’t possibly relate to my newfound challenges as a mom. My sister was young and kid-free and my mom was busy with her career. 

Most of us have heard the ancient wisdom about it taking many to create an ideal environment for a child. But what if you don’t have a village, a tribe, an A-list babysitting team? What if you live far away from family and feel disconnected? Where can you turn to find reliable people when you’ve reached your limits, need someone to vent to, and might not make it through one more tantrum? We all know community matters. If you need proof, simply watch what happens to Tom Hanks after years alone at sea as he befriends a Volleyball he named “Wilson.” If you find yourself striking up a conversation with Mrs. Potato Head, it’s time to start building your village. I am not saying it is easy but it is certainly worth it. Here are 8 tips on how to build your village.

1. Recognize how much you need one. For some introverts, it’s easy to not put forth the effort to find “mom friends” or a bigger support network outside of your home because those things require socializing and, especially if you are a new mom, and don’t truly understand how big the payoff could be, you might not be motivated to put yourself out there. But even if you are a people-person, it can seem daunting and overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. So, you start at the very beginning – setting the intention of getting out of the house: attending an event, playdate, park date or indoor play space at least 3-5 times a month.

2. Enroll your kids in activities from an early age. Gymnastics, dance, Kinder music, mommy and me classes, etc. It was in a local dance school lobby watching our girls plie through glass where I met my best friend – my ride or die. Nine years later and I cannot imagine life without her. It’s hard to meet friends when you’re a young mom, especially when you aren’t going into work or involved in groups or activities outside the home. So, involve your kids instead. One other way to enlist your children can be to bring them into the conversation. Odds are they come home 50,000 times asking for a playdate with someone in their class. Write a note to that parent with your cell number listed and let your kid deliver it to their new friend. Teach them early the value and work that goes into maintaining a friendship.

3. Be picky about who you let in. Evaluate if they share your values, are they trustworthy, do they bring drama? Do they have your best interests at heart? This can be difficult because not everyone in your existing tribe might decide to have children and the odds are they will certainly not be pregnant and have their baby or babies at the same time as you. So, you will have to open up to the idea of a broadened network. So, yes, that means making new friends in adulthood. Parenthood ain’t for the faint of heart. Ask yourself these litmus questions: Could I call this person if I need an emergency pick up for my child at daycare/school? Who could you lean on when you needed an emergency date night with your spouse? Who would you let see your huge pile of laundry and feel precisely zero shame? That’s a winner. As you walk through those questions, whoever comes to mind is who you want to let in.

4. Set, schedule and be unrelenting about getting some quality “mom time” each month.
Whether a Girls Night Out, a pedicure with one friend, midday lunches while the kids are in school—whatever you can schedule and routinely keep, do that! And plan in advance so that you are not chasing each other around coordinating schedules.

5. Court women almost like you’re dating. What you put into a friendship is what you get out of it. Initiate the planning of regular time together, remember birthdays, offer support during difficult times and genuinely show up for your people.

6. Do as I do. Our kids need our help to find their village too. Put yourself in strategic places. Find a few nearby playgrounds and visit them around the same time on certain days. Find local museums that have programming of interest to you and your child. Your next mommy BFF might be there. When you are brave enough to strike up a conversation and put yourself out there for a new friend, your kid is watching and learning.

7. As you are trying to create your village don’t let social media fool you. Your feelings of isolation and loneliness are only exacerbated by Instagram highlights where nobody looks lonely and in reality, everyone actually is. It can be tempting to think that social media can be the best or only place to create a village when you don’t have one. While it might be a helpful place to find like-minded parents with kids of a similar age, it is not the only option. Use it intentionally. Get in and get out. Once you are scrolling aimlessly, I can promise that you will run into at least 50 people that have their parenting game “perfected” far more than you.

8. Get out of your own way. Do you have a trusted neighbor or friend that offers to watch your kid for an evening so that you can do a date night, catch your breath after a tragedy, go to bed early, go to happy hour? Let that person help you. Say yes and thank you. And then, return the favor. Be sure to invest in those that invest in you. Nobody wins if we all act like Superwoman who never needs, asks for or accepts help.

Rosalind Prather is a third-generation small business owner and momtrepreneur in Tucson, AZ. She is the Cofounder of Trusting Connections Nanny Agency and Timeless Play. She is the proud mother of two girls. She is married to Bryan, her cowboy and true soulmate and considers family life and motherhood her greatest joy.

Rosalind Prather
Rosalind Pratherhttps://trustingconnections.com/
Rosalind Prather is a third-generation small business owner and momtrepreneur. She is a Trusting Connections Nanny Agency Co-Founder and Logistigal, LLC Co-Founder. She the proud mother of two girls. She is married to Bryan, her cowboy and true soulmate and considers family life and motherhood her greatest joy.



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