Well no shit.
I started writing this aaaaages ago but life got in the way and lacking a village myself, things are easily pushed to the wayside.
What I mean to say, is: raising a fam takes time. And energy. And if it’s only the two of you with no set of extra hands / family to help out, it’s a little more challenging. Agreed?
My wife shared an article with me that resonated, titled “In the Absence of the Village, Mother’s Struggle Most” (here’s a link to the article). If you’re a lazy bum and don’t wish to read, basically the author makes the point that we’ve (am speaking mostly about those in what is referred to as “the West”) have grown away from the natural context of living in a group, and she outlines the repercussions of such living. What are those repercussions? It ain’t pretty, but essentially:
- we become even more stressed out
- hang on to what we think is “right” or “wrong” when it comes to parenting
- we become more prone to depression, anxiety, loneliness
- we turn to social media (and/or other vices) to “fill our cups”
- it can damage our marriage / partnership / relationship due to the additional stress
… all due to the lack of a strong network or “village” as this author says.
And reading this, I thought yeah, it makes sense. After all, how is it realistic to expect us (am speaking about me and my wife specifically now) to both work full time to make ends meet, maintain a household and all associated tasks, and devote and spend quality time with our three young children, all while having healthy relationships with each other, with ourselves, and a healthy social life? This is further compounded by those who are migrants to countries where they have no family to lean on as a (valuable) resource.
When I meet other moms and dads who are as I am (specifically, those who are not Norwegian, but have families from elsewhere), where close knit and intimate bonds are hard to come by, sometimes (not all times) but sometimes, it doesn’t take long for us to leak out some of our frustrations of not having that tribe or village around us.
But what’s most interesting for me, is the dads perspective. The author says “mothers struggle most”. It’s probably true but it doesn’t mean father’s don’t. Even though a quick search online shows it’s hard to find fathers who echo similar sentiments. Now am either: a) not looking in the correct places, b) am the only guy who’s having a challenging time keeping all those cups full, or c) there are other dads who feel the same way, yet for some reason, aren’t saying so.
Why not? Topic for another time, I guess. But I feel by lacking a village (specifically one that includes other dads), I am missing out on my full potential as a husband, father, and as an individual. Of course, diversity in the village is what would be its greatest strength probably, but for me, other fathers (young and old) would be whom I’d want to connect with first. To be vulnerable with one another and to pool our resources energetically would go a long way in maintaining healthy relationships with everyone in our immediate family circle.
Anyway, these are the thoughts of the day.