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It Helps To Have A Village – Even A Small One

Welcome to the May 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With or Without Extended Family
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how relatives help or hinder their parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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It Helps To Have A Village – Even A Small One: HybridRastaMama.com Follow Me on Pinterest
I am extraordinarily lucky.  Two years before Tiny arrived on the scene, Rasta Daddy and I moved less than a mile away from my parents’ house. This was not by design but an opportunity to live in a great home fell into our laps and we seized the moment so-to-speak.

Although I did everything I could to have the most natural birth possible, Tiny preferred to be pulled out of my belly, feet first. Since my C-section was rather unplanned and fairly last minute, Rasta Daddy and I were scrambling to make sure that Tiny and I had the help we needed after he had to return to work.

Thank GOD that we lived so close to my parents. Shortly after we arrived home, “Moogie’s Family Care” kicked in.

My mom – AKA Moogie – spent the next three months helping us more than I could have hoped for. She brought me dinner every night (Rasta Daddy worked swing shift), she cleaned my house, she held Tiny while I showered, she drove me to numerous doctor appointments during my extraordinarily long recovery, and she offered so much support as I found my way as a new mother.  She listened, she held me when I cried, she encouraged me to not give up, and she came whenever I called, just needing my mommy.

In the past three years my Moogie has been my strongest support system, my biggest parenting ally, the voice of reason when mommy-brain has me all confused, and an ear that I can bend day or night. She literally will drop everything to help me and Tiny when we need it.

I honestly would not be the mother I am today without my mom. Tiny and I both need her – tons! Tiny adores her and loves spending time with her. My mom takes Tiny for a few hours each week so I can do a little work – the income generating kind. She watches her while I run errands or go to appointments. When Tiny and I are having a tough day and just need a distraction – my mom is a short walk around the block. We show up unexpectedly quite often.

My dad has been a huge support system too. He has been known to help me with heavy lifting, some urgent child safety needs (like immediately installing some locks on our front door when Tiny opened it up and walked right out one day), shopping (yes – shopping), and picking Tiny and I up from the park during sudden and unexpected rainstorms. He is also an awesome chef and absolutely loves creating weekend meals that we can all come together and enjoy as a family.

I feel blessed that Tiny has been able to spend so much time with her Gigi and Papa during her formative years.  They support my natural parenting approach and do their best to “grandparent” in the same way that I “mother.”

I don’t have a huge village of support. But I really don’t need one.  My parents have been and will continue to be the village I need. 

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 8 with all the carnival links.)

  • Dealing With Unsupportive Grandparents — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, The Pistachio Project tells what to do when your child’s grandparents are less than thrilled about your parenting choices.
  • Parenting With Extended Family — Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy shares the pros and cons of parenting with extended family…
  • Parental Support for an AP Mama — Meegs at A New Day talks about the invaluable support of her parents in her journey to be an AP mama.
  • Priceless GrandparentsThat Mama Gretchen reflects on her relationship with her priceless Grammy while sharing ways to help children preserve memories of their own special grandparents.
  • Routines Are Meant To Be Broken — Olga at Around The Birthing Ball urges us to see Extended Family as a crucial and necessary link between what children are used to at home and the world at large.
  • It Helps To Have A Village – Even A Small One — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how she has flourished as a mother due to the support of her parents.
  • The Orange Week — Erika at Cinco de Mommy lets go of some rules when her family finally visits extended family in San Diego.
  • One Size Doesn’t Fit All — Kellie at Our Mindful Life realizes that when it comes to family, some like it bigger and some like it smaller.
  • It Takes a Family — Alicia at What’s Next can’t imagine raising a child without the help of her family.
  • A new foray into family — As someone who never experienced close extended family, Lauren at Hobo Mama wrestles with how to raise her kids — and herself — to restart that type of community.
  • My Mama Rocks! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment is one lucky Mama to have the support and presence of her own awesome Mama.
  • Embracing Our Extended Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares 7 ideas for nurturing relationships with extended family members.
  • Doing Things Differently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares how parenting her children far away from extended family improved her confidence in her choices.
  • Snapshots of love — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the joys of sharing her young son’s life with her own parents.
  • Parenting with Relies – A mixed bagUrsula Ciller shares some of her viewpoints on the pros and cons of parenting with relatives and extended family.
  • Tante and Uncles — How a great adult sibling relationship begets a great relationship with aunt and uncles from Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Tips for Traveling With Twins — Megan at the Boho Mama shares some tips for traveling with infant twins (or two or more babies!).
  • Parenting passed through the generations — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the incredible parenting resource that is her found family, and how she hopes to continue the trend.
  • My Family and My Kids — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders whether she distrusts her family or if she is simply a control freak.
  • Parenting with a Hero — Rachel at Lautaret Bohemiet reminisces about the relationship she shared with her younger brother, and how he now shares that closeness in a relationship with her son.
  • Text/ended Family — Kenna of A Million Tiny Things wishes her family was around for the Easter egg hunt… until she remembers what it’s actually like having her family around.
  • Two Kinds of Families — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how her extended family is just as valuable to her mommying as her church family.
  • My ‘high-needs’ child and ‘strangers’ — With a ‘high-needs’ daughter, aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings has had to manage without the help of family or friends, adapting to her daughter’s extreme shyness and allowing her to socialise on her own terms.
  • Our Summer Tribe — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a love of her family’s summer reunion, her secret to getting the wisdom of the “village” even as she lives 1,000 miles away.
  • My Life Boat {Well, One of Them} — What good is a life boat if you don’t get it? Grandparents are a life boat MomeeeZen loves!
  • Dear Children — In an open letter to her children, Laura at Pug in the Kitchen promises to support them as needed in her early days of parenting.
  • Yearning for Tribal Times — Ever had one of those days where everything seems to keep going wrong? Amy at Anktangle recounts one such day and how it inspired her to think about what life must’ve been like when we lived together in large family units.
  • I don’t have a village — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wishes she had family nearby but appreciates their support and respect.
  • Trouble With MILs– Ourselves? — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake Half Asleep explains how her arguments with her mother-in-law may have something to do with herself.
  • A Family Apart — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings writes about the challenges, and the benefits, of building a family apart from relatives.
  • First Do No Harm — Zoie at TouchstoneZ asks: How do you write about making different parenting choices than your own family experience without criticizing your parents?
  • Military Family SeparationAmy Willa shares her feelings about being separated from extended family during her military family journey.
  • Forging A Village In The Absence Of One — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about the importance of creating a support network, a village, when family isn’t an option.
  • Respecting My Sister’s Parenting Decisions — Dionna at Code Name: Mama‘s sister is guest posting on the many roles she has as an aunt. The most important? She is the named guardian, and she takes that role seriously.
  • Multi-Generational Living: An Exercise in Love, Patience, and Co-Parenting — Boomerang Mama at The Other Baby Book shares her experience of moving back in with Mom and Dad for 7 months, and the unexpected connection that followed.
  • A Heartfelt Letter to Family: Yes, We’re Weird, but Please Respect Us Anyway — Sheila of A Living Family sincerely expresses ways she would appreciate her extended family’s support for her and her children, despite their “weird” parenting choices.
  • The nuclear family is insane! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle is grateful for family support, wishes her Mum lived closer, and feels an intentional community would be the ideal way to raise her children.

 

Comments

  1. Aww your story made me smile! I too am very close to my parents and have been amazing with me and the kiddos!

  2. Aw, lovely. A good village doesn’t have to be a big one, just needs to have good people!

  3. Aw, I love that you live so close to your parents and that they’re such a support. Makes me envious, but in a wistful and admiring way. I’m just glad you have loved ones around you like that!

  4. @Meegs

    I completely agree! I don’t think I really really appreciated my parents until I became a mommy.

    Thanks for posting!

  5. You are truly blessed! It’s so great that you live so close to your parents and they are such a positive support. I struggle with the fact that I’m 4000 miles away from my Mum knowing that she would provide the same support you describe from your mother. I’m grateful however that we have my Grandparents and the mother of our own ‘Rasta Daddy’ May you continue to enjoy your blessings to the fullest.

  6. What a lovely situation! It’s wonderful that you live so close to your parents … and that they’re such fabulous support for you and your family. Just reading your post made me happy! :) Deb @ LivingMontessoriNow.com

  7. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama says:

    WOW! Your mama is AMAZING! It is incredible that you two have such a close, loving relationship. Surely Tiny will feel the same way about you some day :)

  8. I can definitely see how being so close to a supportive mum and dad has huge advantages. Wow, cooking dinner every night for 3 months – what a grand fantasy for me!! Great post :)

  9. You are so lucky to have such support in your life! I am in the camp that doesn’t know what I’d do without so much help as well. :)

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