Many of us have heard this statement: It takes a village to raise a child.
Few things have been more true of my parenting journey than this.
Our family just celebrated Thanksgiving, and I would say what I am extra thankful for this year is my “village.”
My husband: None of this would be possible without him. He is more than my sperm donor and the man who pays the bills; he is my best friend for life. When he isn’t working his tail off, you can find him playing with our girl, cooking a gourmet meal, or asking me to spend a night out. He helps me stay grounded when my Type A-ness spins mercilessly out of control, and encourages me to dream when I am too afraid to imagine the possibilities. “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
Family caregivers: During the work week, my mom and sister-in-law help take care of Sassafras. While I was pregnant, KK and I had already planned to put Sassafras into daycare at the end of my maternity leave, but due to a combination of circumstances my mom made the decision to retire a few years early to help me with Sassafras when I went back to work. She has been godsend for our family and for my girl. I am always amazed at her energy and the joy she has in spending her days with Sassafras. While my mom watches her 4 weekdays, my sister-in-law watches her one day a week, and as a bonus helps with Sassafras as needed and gives KK and I the occasional date night out. Having the blessing of family available to help care for our baby eased my transition from maternity leave back into full-time work at the office. There is nothing quite like it. I am convinced part of the reason why Aliya is such a happy girl is because of the love and care she receives from so many of us.
Friends: I mentioned this in one of my posts on PPD, but several friends carried me through my postpartum period. Motherhood can be very lonely and isolating at times, particularly when you are feeling confused and exhausted and have no idea what you are doing. Some friends volunteered to come by the house when they knew I was going to be alone and I would be having an especially difficult time; one friend even rearranged childcare plans for her two kids to come and help me for a few mornings. Nowadays they give me relief and help me relax; they help me remember who I was prior to having Sassafras and who I am now. They can be brutally honest about the ups and downs of life in whatever season or stage of life, whether they are single, dating, or married, and have one kid, two kids, three kids, or no kids (I left out four+ kids because in my mind, you are all other-worldly with supernatural powers). Aliya is lucky to have so many aunties and uncles.
Work: I may be in the minority, but I love the work I do and the people with whom I work. They were brimming with excitement for me while I was pregnant, threw a lavish baby shower for me, were generous with my maternity leave, and were so supportive when I returned. This has made all the difference in my decision to return to work and be a full-time working mom. While I miss Sassafras throughout the day, I enjoy my work and my work family. If I worked anywhere else, I may feel differently.
So, thank you, Village. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.