This old African proverb definitely rings true in my life. Being a full time working mom is hard work, and while women do it every day, I would be foolish to think that I could do it all alone. I am extremely grateful for my “village”, which is why I am using this post as somewhat of a thank you letter to them.
First and foremost, I must thank my husband. Now I know some of you are thinking, “those are his kids too, why are you thanking him for being a parent?” His love and support of everything I do is what I am thankful for. I’m thankful that no matter how chaotic our week maybe he always makes sure he’s home to help tuck the kids in, to head coach our son’s basketball team, and to give me a big hug after a long exhausting day. He also doesn’t pressure me. I’ve said it in previous post, but the pressure that I feel to be this perfect mom comes from myself, not my husband. He is constantly reaffirming me and encouraging me. He is always down to order a pizza or pick up dinner on his way home from work if I’m too tired to cook, which unfortunately happens more often than not lately. He doesn’t get upset when I’m too tired to watch the movie we’ve been trying to see for months or when I don’t want to go out on a Friday night. He loves me just the way I am and for that I am so thankful.
Next, I must acknowledge the woman who taught me what selfless love looks like, my mom. Being a single parent, my mother didn’t have a choice but to rely on the village of her family to help out with me. No matter how spent she was, she always made time for me. Whether it was lying in bed together watching a movie, or taking a day trip to the lake, she always made me feel special and loved. I remember these times in dealing with my own children. There’s nothing I’d love to do more than to take a hot bath and crawl into bed most days when I get home from work. But these two little boys need my time and attention and seeing their eyes light up when I hug them or snuggle on the couch to watch a silly show means the world to me and them. No matter how tired I am, I know that it’s important to spend as much time with my children as I can, not just parenting them but loving them just as my mom did for me. I also have to thank her for taking days off from her own job to watch my children when they were too sick to go to school and daycare. For and endless supply of pajamas every year, diaper pale bags, library and bowling Saturday’s and McDonald’s playland trips. My mom is the absolute best Mimi that I know, and she is such an essential part of my village.
I also have amazing in-laws. They kept my oldest son until the age of 3 which was such a financial blessing for our family. They adore my children and would do anything for them. Random “just because” gifts to the kids and phone calls just to say, “I love you” are so appreciated. I have 2 wonderful sister-in-law’s who are incredible aunties and pretty cool babysitters as well. They are great with the kids and love spending time with them. They are always willing to help me out when they visit, cleaning my kitchen, running errands etc. I so appreciate their love for all of us and always making me feel like a great big sister even on the days that I don’t even feel human.
Both of my boys’ teachers are a part of this village as well. Seeing as how throughout the course of a week they spend more time with my children than I do, it is very important to recognize the love that they have for them. Some of you may think that it’s their job to do this or it’s just for a paycheck. Speaking as someone who admittedly does not have a lot of patience for children that I don’t know, I have to say that teaching as a career for a check and teaching because you love children are completely different and you can always tell the difference! I believe that teachers are overworked and underpaid and I am so appreciative of all that they do. I have been truly blessed to have amazing teachers for my children. My oldest son’s Kindergarten teacher is still his absolute favorite and he still stops by her classroom on occasion to give her a hug and say hello. His teachers and the afterschool staff have been wonderful blessings to us, not just teaching my son but loving him as well. My baby has been in daycare since he was 12 weeks old and a few teachers at his daycare fell in love with him right away. From his first few days there, several of them would stop me just to say how much they love him. Now that he’s a one year old all over the place boss baby, their love for him has only grown. He’s so excited to see them in the mornings and blows them kisses in the evenings when it’s time to go home. It’s so hard dealing with the guilt of not being able to be at home with my children, but I love that I can take comfort in knowing that they are safe and loved where they are when they are not with me.
Last but definitely not least, my village is composed of wonderful friends who have become a part of our family. Some of them are from our church, others I’ve known since childhood, and a few others I’ve grown to know by my oldest son befriending their children. No matter how we know each other or for how long, I can trust them with my kids and with my heart. It’s so important on this journey of motherhood to have people that you can trust. People that you can vent to when you’re having a difficult day, when the kids are driving you crazy and your husband seems to be their chauffer. Women that can relate to your struggles as a mom, to laugh with you at your silly mistakes and be a shoulder to cry on when you feel like you have nothing left to give. People that you can text at the very last minute because you won’t make it to the school in time for pick up. Friends who beg you to go out to a movie or dinner, so they can babysit for you or offer to take your child for a play date. Friends who send you random silly text throughout the day just to make you smile. To each and every one of you, thank you!
I am convinced that it takes a village to raise a child. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being mine!