So many times of late, have I heard this very saying. These last few years have shown me how important having a village around you really is... but what happens if like me, you don't have one? The sad reality is that for many of the people I know, their village is getting smaller and smaller. There are fewer and fewer helping hands around, whether that’s due to family composition, or logistical reasons. Long gone are the days when as a brand new mother, you would have all of your family and friends within reach. When you know all of your neighbours, even the milkman, the postman and the guy down at the local butcher shop. For many of the people that I know, this couldn't be further from reality; I know my own reality is nothing like this at all.
My husband is in the military, which means that my little family and I have been moved around quite a bit these last few years. It seems that by the time we begin to feel comfortable and settled, we're shipped off to the next location. Put it this way, my now three year old has been a resident of three separate Australian states before the age of 2. Some of these moves have been welcomed, and some not so much. Never the less, its all part and parcel of the military lifestyle.
Each new location we’ve lived in has given us so many amazing things, but each new location has come with periods of feeling completely unsettled, lonely, and isolated. Throw in a couple of babies and far too many sleepless nights, and it’s something akin to a three-ringed circus.
It is now more than ever that I’ve really needed my village, yet so many times I’ve looked around, only to find that my village consists of me, and my husband! We don't have someone to take over night duties, even just for one night, to let us catch up on a little bit of sleep, or someone to come over and help with the cleaning, or the cooking of dinner. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, sisters and brothers, all live so far away, so we don't have those extra sets of hands to scoop up a baby or two and comfort or kiss it better.
We are now 12 months post our last cross-country move, which was by far the most difficult for a number of reasons. Yet it was this very same move that has shown me some of the greatest things about my life. It’s funny how out of some of your most difficult times, you have your greatest lessons or revelations.
This very morning, I have woken after a few horror (read- sleepless) nights in a row, and so desperately needed comfort; I needed a warm hug, and for someone to tell me that it will be ok. I found myself on the phone to one of my amazing besties, and quickly realised that, THIS IS MY VILLAGE! They’re on the other end of the phone, a call or a text message. An email to someone much loved on the other side of the world, the connections and friends made through my blogs and Instagram posts, and I’ve been lucky enough to make a few.
I may not necessarily have many people around me physically, or people there to help me pick up the pieces on a day-to-day basis, but I have one hell of a virtual village. I have a pretty amazing group of people spread pretty far across this glorious country (and the world for that matter), that are willing to help pick me up in whatever way they can, from wherever they are. I have people that just 'get' me. They’re my safe, judgment-free zone. The place I can go to find the support I need, where I can be brutally honest, and learn that I am not alone. Knowing I am not alone in this is key to being able to pick myself up, brush myself off, and keep pushing on.
So in my darkest hours, when I'm feeling the complete and utter despair that comes with sleep deprivation, or when that inevitable guilt comes drifting in, the guilt that just seems to go hand in hand with this mummy gig, I will know that I'm not alone. I'm not the only delirious tired mother in the world that has a baby that doesn't sleep all night, I'm not the only mother in the world that's had breastfeeding issues, or suffered from some form of post natal depression or anxiety. As I sit here now, I know the incredible group of people that my village consists of. They may not be the people that I would have thought a few years back, in all honesty, I didn’t know all of them a few years back.
So, to my amazing village spread far and wide, I thank you.
Thank you for your unwavering support over the years, for accepting my crazy, for tolerating my sometimes too honest for my own good stories, and helping me find my way. I don't know how or why I deserve it, but I'm so very glad that I've got it.