It Takes a Community to Raise a Child

Have you ever heard the expression, “It takes a community to raise a child?” Before having our son, I heard it a lot from friends and family. I shrugged it off not realizing how much this would play a role for us in raising our son.

When our son was born we were staying with my parents for the first two months, allowing the transition to motherhood go more smoothly. If I didn’t get enough sleep, I could call on someone to come over so I could catch some z’s. When I felt like I couldn’t take any more crying, there was always someone there who would rock him to sleep.

And most importantly when we were looking for advice we had a different opinions that we could weigh in our decisions. I never felt alone or overwhelmed because there was always someone just a phone call away. Not only was I getting guidance from my family but my close friends as well. Those who had children helped me through different stages, offering advice, hope and relief. Playgroups became my crutch. We would get together for a few hours each week to laugh, cry and share our daily experiences. We learned from each other. We became closer because of the bond we shared as mothers.

It’s amazing how a good conversation with your husband, mom, or best friend can turn things around. Some days we are at the end of our rope and it’s hard to see other perspectives. It’s nice to know we aren’t the only one feeling a certain way. A good conversation with a friend or family member reminds us that we are only human, and that it’s okay to not always know what to do. It’s also a ways to share the triumphs together, watching the kids reach certain milestones, and adopting different personalities.

Another lifeline for me as a mom is the community resources. Being a stay at home mom, we are constantly looking for activities out of the house. I had no idea, how much was actually out there for moms and tots. We got involved in a lot of the local programming exposing him to different environments. Whether it was story time at the library, swimming at the local pool, or walking around the mall with other moms, there was always an endless list ideas to keep us interacting with others. These resources were always a great way for him to meet other children his age, as well as allowing me to meet other parents from my area. Our son has always been very social and I attribute this to the exposure to these activities at a young age.

Looking back I see how much community played a role in shaping who I am as a mother, as well as who my son has become. I hope that everyone has a chance to experience this, it can be a positive experience for our children, teaching them so much more then we can offer.

Tricia Duggan

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