It takes a village. I didn’t completely understand the analogy or appreciate the weight of the comparison until I was a full functioning member of the village that is raising my children. Like so many things in parenthood, much must be experienced first hand to be understood or appreciated.
My very membership status in the carpool is precious to me. I am grateful daily for the moms and driving teens that shuttle my offspring to and from the pool and to and from the school. Like many families in our neighborhood, we meet in the early and late hours to drop or collect our youth. I see them coming and going to Wag a Bag or one of our community center parking lots. Kids get out, grab gear and get into other vehicles. Without this exchange, my children would not be involved in extracurricular activities. Short of teleportation, the carpool is the most magical and perfect thing I can imagine.
This is but one example of the many ways my village is raising my children. The list includes (but is not limited to) support, parenting advice, propping me up when I feel like a parent failure, reminding me of crucial information from the school that I somehow missed, and even feeding my children. This vital network of parents that I am tied to has saved my hide on more than one occasion.
How am I a part of this system? To be sure, this network was not created overnight. Out of necessity, I have reached out to parents, teachers, and coaches over the past few years. This has connected me with wonderful parents who value the very things I value. They have replied to my texts or calls with advice, resources, and support on countless occasions. Frequently, I am checking to assess if I truly am the “only mom” that does not permit my teen to do something/ go somewhere/ buy something. While I like to think I have some pretty strong opinions about how my children should be raised, I have to admit to myself that this is the first time I am raising a teen and much of the territory is uncharted for me. Am I too strict? Too lenient? Is 14 too young for a tattoo or does every other freshman have one?
As a member of a parent village, I can only hope my contributions to the team are half as valued as the ones I receive. These parents celebrate the achievements of my children as if they were those of their own offspring. They are truly disappointed when my child fails or is unhappy. I have learned that parenting is not for the weak of heart. And, sometimes, it is painfully difficult. Thankfully, I have a village to lean on.