When my husband and I decided that we were ready to start a family, we were so excited. We thought, like a lot of couples, that we had it all planned out and the timing was perfect. We both had careers, we had a home, and we had the first year of marriage down (which everyone told us would be the hardest). But, as we soon came to realize, getting pregnant wasn’t easy for me. I discovered that I had fertility issues due to a condition called PCOS and started going crazy instead of enjoying the process of making a baby. After one miscarriage and two years of trying, I finally became pregnant. And so, I thought all of our difficulties were behind us. I was happy to get off the the emotional rollercoaster of trying to conceive and to throw myself into motherhood…finally. With all of our planning—-parenting classes, books, and the almighty Google—-we thought we had this whole parenting thing figured out. But we forgot one teeny tiny thing…we didn’t have a village. I don’t have a great relationship with my family, but had come to terms with it. Also, I worked from home and my husband worked for himself so we just assumed not having one would be fine and we really didn’t think twice about it. We were wrong, dead wrong. Being a parent is already challenging but not having a village on top of that makes even the simplest things complicated. Here are 7 truths parents without a village know all too well.
1. Self-care is a joke.
We all know how important it is to practice self-care especially after becoming parents. It’s vital that we find time to unwind, refresh, and just do normal things. But it’s not the easiest task, more so if you’re a “village-less” parent. It’s already difficult for parents to make time for themselves and their significant others but it’s not just difficult for those of us without a village, it’s often times impossible. Something as simple as taking a shower, eating, or using the bathroom requires a well thought out plan or sometimes it can seem like in order for things to go smoothly the stars must align. As a village-less mom I have had to take my daughter to the bathroom with me on many occasions and had to master the 3-minute shower. I often put off doctor appointments for myself and other important things on my list. I plan my life around her schedule and my husband’s which is often times complicated and I put myself last. My husband and I have to work around each other’s schedules just to do simple and necessary things. Most of the time, we push self-care to the side because it’s just inconvenient or a hassle.
2. Higher risk of postpartum depression.
Since self-care is nearly impossible and not having a village means little to no support it’s no wonder that there’s a higher risk of depression and anxiety for parents who do not have a village. Although you’re thrilled to have your bundle of joy, often times the 24/7 of parenting with out a breather can stir up all kinds of emotions.
3. Your relationships take a hit.
Not having a village means little to no date-nights or alone time. It means going days or weeks with little interaction beyond discussing the baby or talking about chores with your significant other. It’s no wonder that couples with out a village are far more likely to feel disconnected from one another. But it’s not just the relationship with your significant other that is affected, not having a village means it’s difficult to hang out with friends or attend events as well.
4. It’s incredibly lonely.
Not having a village can feel isolating. Although I’m never really alone technically, it’s sometimes feels that way. Often times there’s no one around to help when things get difficult or to just listen to you vent.
5. There’s no alone time.
Although not having a village feels incredibly lonely, not having alone time for yourself can feel overwhelming. You can feel like you’ve lost yourself in parenthood. Although being a parent is a major role that requires a lot of sacrifice, having an identity outside of being a mother or father is so important but without a village, it’s usually just a dream and not a reality.
6. Taking time for yourself comes at a high price.
In the event that you’re able to step away for a few minutes to take time for yourself it comes at a steep cost. You either have to hire help or choose to step away even if you have a ton of things on your plate. I try to get out as often as possible to get my nails done or to simply take a walk, but not having a village means no one is stepping in for me and I often return with more chores and work that needs to be done and those few minutes I took for myself has now become days that I am now behind on chores.
7. You’re judged for not having it all together.
As a mom, we get judged all the damn time! Mommy-shamers are a real thing unfortunately. And not having a village doesn’t mean less judgement. Sometimes I’m asked to explain how I’m so overwhelmed, after all I only have one child. I’m also questioned as to why I’m not more relaxed since I work from home. Shouldn’t I be getting more things done? Shouldn’t my life be easier? If you’re a parent without a village—-no.
Can you relate?