The rumour is, that the village is gone and motherhood is lonely. There are many days this rumour feels undoubtedly real, BUT the village is still there, you just have to be open to it; you have to let it in as much as you want it to let you in.
On some days the village is the park, where you make small talk with strangers trying to make their shopping list on their iPhone as their children wrestle them as if they are still in the lounge room. It’s times like this when a villager takes action and pushes their own child over with the others, separating the herd from their parents and dragging the mother to safety. “Come with me, let’s talk smack about motherhood for a while”. Yesterday my village was only made up of two, and we told horror stories about the emergency caesareans we endured and how we desperately want more children, tipping our heads back and laughing at how ridiculous our “biological urge” is, or as recent studies have argued, our “psychological urge”. (That’s a whole other conversation.)
On other days the village is the pool or the sport of the term; gymnastics, athletics, dance. The villagers stare at each other silently, they are so sure they want silence, they are so sure that they don’t want to make small talk or get into another deep discussion about why their child is still shitting under the table while demanding privacy when of course he could get all the privacy he wanted if he just went to the fucking toilet. The villagers try to escape eye contact by escaping into their phones as their children run, swim or frolic like a bunch of uncoordinated psychos. But it only takes one; one overheard comment, one caught glance or one unintentionally loud exhale to get the relatable acknowledgement from some or the entire group. And before you know it, you are walking back to the car, smothering your child in kisses with the knowledge that you are not the only mother trying to coax your child out from the dining room table as they conduct one of their many daily bowl movements.
On most days, the village is digital. I consider this the biggest village by far, the easiest to access and the most private. A village made up of mummy bloggers of both the super mum and the super honest: A village of grandeur or slap dash recipes: A village of the motivated or the recluse: A forum for all. On the days when leaving the house just seems all too hard, I am thankful for the digital village and it’s ability to keep me connected to the world.
If you are not prepared to call on your village, the village is privy to the signals of need; a look of apology as your child hits another, shoulders removing themselves from your ears as your child finds a friend to play with, a ‘like’ on a specific post. We are all secretly and some times unconsciously hinting towards a village, hoping they’ll pick up on our vibes and let us in.
It takes villagers to create a village – look up, look around.
Be a villager; For the sake of your sanity.