The Village Did Exist

“My partner was working late. Toddler hysterical and unwell, and baby hysterical due to me having to prioritise the passing out from crying toddler.

Phoned partner to come home. He sent my mother in law.

I said, “I feel so crap not being able to cope. You all did it on your own?! Why can’t I?!”

“I don’t know anyone of my generation who raised children alone”

“Eh?”

“My sisters were all housewives… my parents and in-laws didn’t work. Most of my neighbours were housewives. There was always SOMEONE here. I always had a visitor. And they didn’t just sit and drink tea. They held and entertained kids whilst I did housework, they popped to the shop. They hung washing. They chopped veg. We may say “well we managed” but the truth is. We had a village and there was always someone to help. Elderly neighbours would be happy to come and hold babies, play with older kids or even bake some biscuits. Can’t even knock and ask to borrow sugar now or people panic.”

“But my mum was a military wife and husband always deployed?!”

“Ask her.”

Mum: “Wives didn’t work or if they did only part time. And there was always someone here. Sometimes it was a house of 10 kids with 3 adults all prepping meals for the week and one sat watching kids. We were never really alone.

The only time I felt alone was with you and your brother but that was 10 years later. And housewives started to be a thing of the past. Retirement was later. It’s hard to be a mum now and have it expected to cope because ‘we had to’ … when really we didnt”

My paternal grandmother always goes on about how she managed it, so I speak to my dad..

“Mum’s Aunty was always around! I can barely remember a childhood day without my Aunty.”

So. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help. The village DID exist even if most people forget about it.”

 

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