Modern Mothering + The Importance of the Village

A village wasn’t something I needed before I became a mom. Before kids – I got by with a little help from my friends. A group of girls that had had my back since the 9th grade. They knew everything about me. Well, almost everything. And those things – the things I struggled with and celebrated – they faced those things, too. They could relate in some way – because being in your early twenties, losing and gaining love, chasing your dreams, exploring the world, questioning yourself – those are all relatable things. However, even with strong friendships, becoming a parent isn’t always a relatable thing. 

At twenty-six, I welcomed my first son after a roller coaster pregnancy. As the first of my girlfriends to become a mom, I was celebrated. Everyone wanted to know everything – yet nobody could understand. 

While friends were asking me what colour I would paint the nursery and what name we had chosen for our little boy, my husband and I were undergoing testing which would determine whether or not we would lose our baby. 

We shared this with some friends – and they got it – but they didn’t. 

I didn’t just need friends; I needed a village. 

After my son was born, a healthy, bouncing baby boy, my friends were there. Holding the baby and rocking the baby. They loved my son just as they loved me. As I talked about our struggles with nursing and jaundice, the sleepless nights, and my insecurities – they got it – but they didn’t. 

I didn’t just need friends; I needed a village. 

There was a time, when an entire community would provide for a mother. A small, close knit community who felt each other’s sorrows, joys, and burden’s. Who nurtured one another in times of need. Those who helped the elderly, minded the neighbourhood children, and tended to a mother in need. 

In the village, there was someone from every walk of life with every decade of life’s experience to share. The village was dependable and alleviated some of the pressures that came with parenting. 

But today, we’re so disconnected and sometimes too proud. We’re raising babies in a digital age with our physical relationships dwindling before us. Economies, job security, housing prices – they all make it seem or feel nearly impossible to settle down in a neighbourhood with our family and our friends. We feel less safe and therefore more likely to set boundaries. We have expectations. We don’t allow our children to roam free and travel in their groups like they did back in my day – and I was only a 90s kid. 

And while we can make peace with the way that things are, while we can accept that communities aren’t exactly as neat and tidy – we must begin to re-village for the sake of the family. 

While friendships are wonderful in a time of need, there’s something extra special about having a local, physical sense of community. A mom-friend you can call when you’re in the trenches – the kind of friend that can give you a “me-too” or show up unannounced with a coffee. We need to find a neighbour we can run to in an emergency, initiate awkward conversation, step out of our comfort zone. Become a part of something. 

Sitterhood was created to fill the void from the absence of the village. While the foundation of Sitterhood is childcare, it was also created to foster genuine friendships with moms just like like you – moms who understand the ups and downs of parenthood, moms who know that every once and awhile you need some time to just be you. 

Adding these friends to your village doesn’t mean you leave your other friends behind. It simply means you’re adding another valuable piece to your community – an authentic source of support, encouragement, understanding and resources that will empower you through the hardest of days. 

While you may have come to Sitterhood in search of flexible childcare, we promise it will give you so much more – a little something we like to call: The Village. 

By: Anneliese Lawton

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