“The Village” - Millennial Parenting
“It takes a village to raise a child.” - Unknown
We’ve all heard the saying "It takes a village to raise a child", and as much as us parents would like to take all the credit, that statement couldn’t be more accurate! Whether you’re a single parent doing it all on your own, or a co-parent who has it “all figured it out”, the reality is at some point someone else is helping you raise your child. Whether it be the other parents in the yard who let you know when your kid is up to no good, or a grandparent who offers to watch their grand baby while you're at work. Your village is the group of people you trust who take on your role as a parent, when you aren’t physically around.
Who’s In Your “Village”?
Every parent has had to answer that burning question, "How do you do it?" Aside from the sleepless nights, being on duty 24/7, and the daily sacrifices we make as parents, the answer is pretty simple 😏. We do it WITH HELP. When considering having children (surprisingly) most people don’t think about who in their circle will be around to help them. No, I mean people who can actually help -- not only when it’s convenient for them but when it’s necessary for you. The age of the stay-at-home Mom is diminishing, and millennial’s are as ambitious as ever. Even if you have your own company it’s extremely difficult to run your business while simultaneously caring for your young child's’ every need. So, here are some people and things to consider when assembling your "village".
Lucky are those whose grandparents are willing and able to babysit them! Along with their wisdom, grandparents will teach your child everything you’ve been saving for when they get older. Grandparents love their grand-babies, but they can burn out easily. When relying on grandparents to babysit, be sure to use them when they insist, or when absolutely necessary (and save some days in between for last minute sitting). Make sure you return the favor, whether it’s a break from the other grand kids, groceries,or maybe even compensation.
Your child will spend up to 6 hours a day, every Monday through Friday in school for at least 12 consecutive years. Although there’s plenty of learning going on at home, teachers spend an incredible amount of time with your child.
Always keep the communication lines open between you and your child’s teacher. If your little one had a rough morning, it’s beneficial for his teacher to know the reasons why your child may not be performing at his/her best that day. When choosing a school or daycare, not only do you need to know if it’s a good school, but also, how pick-ups and drop-offs will be accommodated for.
Then there are the infamous aunts & uncles. They love your kids like their own; but they’re not. And they’ll be glad to hand them back over to you.
Aunts and Uncles tell it like it is, giving your child much needed life lessons without all the added fluff. Although they love spending time with their little nieces and nephews, let’s face it, they have their own lives! Siblings typically come into play during their off days, and some nights and weekends (with conditions of course).
Non-immediate Family Members
Every once in a while, you will be in a bind. If you’re lucky, you will have plenty of family members who can offer occasional assistance, but if you’re like me, you will have at least 2 solid family members who you can count on when there is just no other option. Think of these members as wild cards! Save them for last when you absolutely run out of options. Typically, non-immediate family members come into play for last minute school pick-ups, drops-offs, or when you need just a couple of hours to attend a meeting or something of that sort.
Close friends & GodParents
Close friends are always eager to help. Unfortunately, their schedules may not always work with yours. However when available, friends can be a great support and can literally fit into every other category they put themselves in.
Disclaimer: Friendships tend to change after having a child, as do priorities. It is important not to go into parenthood with too high of expectations from your friends, and vice versa.
If your child is in extracurricular activities, try befriending the other parents. Parenting can be stressful and it’s important to have others you can relate to and provide support. Set up play dates — where the kids can play and the the parents get a chance to be social among other adults. Also, "soccer moms" can provide occasional carpooling options when your caught up at work and running late for a pick-up.
Your "village" can and should provide so much more than just babysitting options. However, everyone’s situation is different. It’s also important that you know and trust the individuals who watch over your children when you’re not around. Your child’s well-being should always come first.
What are your thoughts on Millennial parenting? Who’s part of your village and how have they been helpful in helping you raise your kids — or are you part of another person’s village? We would love to hear from you!
Let the us know by using the hashtag #TMBMyVillage. Oh, and don’t forget to tag us @themilliblog!
[THIS POST IS BY CONTRIBUTOR & FREELANCE BLOGGER, SOPHIR SANDERS]
Sophir Sanders, Freelance Blogger