Let’s be honest - becoming a parent can be incredibly isolating.
Those early weeks, days and even months can feel like a blur as you get to know your baby.
A popular adage for this time is that you should ‘find your village’ to provide a safe, healthy environment for children; where they are given the security they need to develop and flourish; and to be able to realise their hopes and ambitions.
Ultimately what this boils down to is surrounding yourself with people you - and your children - can rely on.
But with 75% of moms reporting they don’t have any support from their ‘village’, does this concept still exist?
Society and culture have changed hugely in recent decades, and even since the expression ‘it takes a village’ gained popularity in the 1990s, which has led to some key factors which impact both our emotional and physical connections to others.
Geographic Distances Have Grown
The ability to stay in touch from anywhere at any time has made a huge impact in everyone’s lives, and also provided more of an opportunity to physically move away from our direct families, to try new locations and ways of living. However, this has led to only around 35% of people in the UK living close to family and the remaining 65% reporting their families lived “miles away”, in different towns, counties and countries.
The idea of having helping hands a few doors down or a couple of roads away has become rare, and the practical side of parenting falls directly on parents with little opportunity to reach out for help.
We’re definitely skimming the surface of this topic but ultimately it comes down to the fact that economic difficulties faced by many parents means they cannot call upon friends and families to help with childcare as they themselves are working full time positions. This tends to leave parents between two options; pay for childcare, which in the UK can cost up to 65% of a family’s income, or quit the workforce entirely and lose their connection to colleagues.
“I’m okay, honestly.”
Hands up, how many times has someone asked if you need help, and you’ve said you’re fine? We’re guilty of the same, and it’s become commonplace to feel like you have to forge ahead alone and avoid bothering others.
If your feelings of isolation feel severe and are leading you to have negative thoughts about yourself and your baby, our blog on post-partum depression vs the baby blues might be useful, and please remember to reach out to a trusted loved one or medical professional if you need additional help.
So, what can finding your village look like in 2022 and beyond?
Questioning What It Is To Begin With!
Your village can look completely different to other people’s, and we’re here to say that’s okay! You might just consider yourself and your partner as your village and that’s enough; you might look to close friends to be able to provide that support; you might even build yours online with likeminded parents. There’s no set rule about who this can be, as long as they are providing the support you need, when you need it.
Using The Tools Available
Consider your main goal, and prioritise what it is you’re looking for. The market for tools which can help you to engage with and empower your village to help more effectively and efficiently is growing. Apps like Onoco are designed to provide the connections you need to not only survive, but to thrive.
It’s hard to ask for help. It’s harder still to ask when you feel like it’s something you should be able to do; asking for a meal, or five minutes to have a shower in peace, for example. But now is the time to change this! Be open to the people who offer help, and open to asking for more. You might be surprised about where this comes from.
Inviting Others Along For The Journey
Being a parent is hard, there’s no two ways about that - but the more we share those messier moments, the more we can open up and invite others along on the journey with us. By allowing other people insight into your child’s habits and routines plus stories of their days and milestones, you open up a whole new way in which they can interact with you and identify new ways to help.
Whatever your village looks like and wherever you are, we hope you are enjoying this journey together!
At Onoco we have an inherent focus on shared care,and providing families the tools they need throughout the first five years of their child’s life.
Onoco is available to download via the App Store, Google Play, and header banner on this website!