Many of us feel like we are trying to run the race of parenting all by ourselves. All of our lifestyles may look different, but the truth of the matter is that we all have our own struggles when it comes to parenthood. But the good news is:
You were never meant to raise your children on your own.
Trying to navigate the evolving world of parenthood alone can drain you pretty fast and cause parenting to be more stressful. We need consistent support starting from the newborn phase to marrying off our children. Every stage is new to us, different from the last stage and can leave us scratching our head (or pulling our hair out).
We currently have an almost 4 year old daughter, almost 2 year old son and a 3 week old. When my daughter entered the toddler phase it was challenging. We had just added a newborn to our family, and raising a toddler seemed like it would be extra hard. I had also started to recognize that I was experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety, and I had no idea how to cope with it. Fast forward to now, we are raising two toddlers on very little sleep as we just entered the newborn phase again… parenting has only seemed to get harder as we go, but we have such a great support system that we can lean on when we need to talk through things or need a break from parenting.
Everyone’s support system may look different because we are all living in similar but unique situations. You may be a single mom, working to provide for your children with or without family close by. Maybe you’re like me and you’re married to an amazing spouse, but living the shift-work life – which leaves you at home, alone with your kiddos for over half the month. Maybe you’re married, but you don’t receive the support you need from your spouse. Regardless of your situation, whether it be married to a supporting husband, married to a non-supportive husband, single, coparenting, working, staying at home or a combination of any of the above, the bottom line is still the same:
You need support & you need to be apart of a community!
Did you know that the Bible encourages us to do life together? God did not create us to struggle through life by ourselves, but rather to build each other up and help each other where we fall short.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT)
Isn’t that so comforting to know that we are meant to lean on each other vs conquering it all by ourselves. That we are called to live a life of community?
So what does that look like right now? When I think of community, I automatically think about gathering together with family and friends. Meeting a friend for coffee. Participating in a small group at church. Hosting get togethers. However right now life looks a little different and community sometimes feels impossible.
For the past 4.5 months most of the country has been under a stay at home order. An aggressive virus has been traveling throughout the country and while many who contract it are recovering well, there are many who are not so fortunate. Families are losing loved ones, and the recommendation is to social distance in order to keep those around us as safe as possible. So how in the world do we find or grow our communities in a time like this?
By definition a community is “A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interest and goals.”
As parents we all have a particular characteristic in common… we have little ones that rely on us for EVERYTHING. Although we can’t fellowship in person with one another right now, we are still able to FEEL fellowship with each other. Social distancing doesn’t mean that we can’t speak to anyone, it just means that we should limit or in person interactions with others. Fortunately, we live in a technologically advanced world right now and there are so many alternatives to being face to face. Communication is at our fingertips, yet so many times we choose not to use it to our benefit.
So how do you find your community in the middle of a pandemic? If you have family, start there! Reach out to them, whether it is just to talk, or to babysit. Also, there are so many groups on Facebook these days, full of moms who understand exactly what you are going through (because they are going through the SAME THING!). There are pages for stay at home moms, working moms, moms struggling with mental health, and more. These groups would be a great place to start. Other options for support are: church families, ABC Pregnancy Resource Center (we have counselors available to talk and postpartum advocates ready to help you through the rough parts of parenting). As always, I am also available to anyone who needs help or emotional support.
Make it your goal this week to step out of your bubble, reach out to someone or some organization and ask for the help that you need. The hardest part of parenting is swallowing our pride and asking for help (sometimes it is near IMPOSSIBLE for me to do this myself). But there are so many women out there ready to bless you by helping you through hard times. There are so many people out there willing to pray for you while you learn to navigate this new path of parenting. You just have to be willing to ask for it.
Here are some resource links for you if you are local to SWLA:
SWLA Mama Meetups & More Facebook Group
SWLA Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum, Parenting
If you are reading this, and you are not local to SWLA, here are some other resource links I recommend:
Postpartum International Support
Influencer Parenting (Amazing resource for all stages from getting baby to sleep to parenting toddlers)
Why struggle through parenthood by yourself when there are others all around you willing and able to guide you through it. We are all in this together!
Until next time,