Raising a child or children when you don’t have that proverbial village is hard. I think every parent can relate to this in some way, thanks to the pandemic. In this blog I cover my top 10 tips to managing motherhood when you don’t have your village.
I didn’t have a village, either
When people talk about the village, they talk about the support system that allows us to breathe and helps us with trouble shooting when it comes to raising a child. I personally did not have my village when I first had my son—I had my village by cell phone which was so lovely, but I lacked that physical village. This was really difficult. Remember the people in our village matter, too. Having bodies that cause you more stress, judgement, etc. isn’t helpful. It’s all about finding the right people in our village and reframing when we don’t.
Tips to managing motherhood without a village
I always start with ourselves and mindset changes before we focus on other things because our mindset matters MOST. Below are my top 10 tips!
- Manage expectations of what you think your life would look like as a mom.
- Be honest with yourself and others. Choose a small group of safe people in your life, and share your thoughts with them. Be honest about how you’re feeling. You may be surprised by how understanding they are. You will likely find that many relate to your experiences personally.
- Focus on the positives in your reality. Don’t deny the negative but choose to look at the positive of a situation. This may be hard but it can help a lot with reframing. Maybe you have all this time with your kids when young. Maybe you get to save money on childcare to save up for something else. You can always see a positive and choose to focus on it without denying that negatives exist in situations, too.
- Connect with a friend via phone calls, audio message, etc.
- Join communities online that serve you emotionally to connect. Try the New Mom’s Survival Guide as a start!
- With the pandemic improving, try to find a small group of mom friends. I don’t believe in being friends just to be friends. Find people who uplift you and you actually LIKE to see. Don’t have friends who are just seeing you because you feel you should have mom friends. In our free time, we should not be surrounding ourselves with people who do not uplift us! Don’t hang out JUST for socialization.
- Maximize resources you have to take care of you. For example, say you have children in childcare and pickup is at 5. Maybe take that extra moment to do something for you and pick them up closer to 5 than at 4. They want a mom who takes care of themselves. Utilize your partner or relative or babysitter for mental breaks if you can. EVEN AN HOUR is life changing! You don’t even have to leave the home – just take the mental load off.
- Communicate your needs with a loved one/partner. Say things like: “I am struggling because of X. I could use help in this area. Can we figure out a way where we can make this work?”
- Prioritize movement/journaling/meditation when you do have a break. I know this is hard! I literally have zero energy to do anything and I just want to plop on the couch. But movement is healing for our minds. For five minutes can you do a quick yoga stretch? Or jumping jacks? Or a YouTube workout video? Move your body and try to still your mind before jumping into another activity.
- Remember that our village can be defined uniquely in our modern age. Is your village emotional support or physical help? Maybe it’s uplifting podcasts. Define what it is YOU need to feel supported and seek that out so you feel less alone and more supported.