How to Find a Village to Raise Your Children




Everyone talks about how it takes a village to raise children.  No one talks about how to find a village.  There are all kinds of reasons why people are not surrounded by people who can be their village.  We moved internationally one year before my daughter was born.  We are naturally introverts and made a few casual friends, but it was only right before Mary was born that we made some close friends.  Our family is overseas and has not been able to visit because of Covid. So we knew people here but didn’t have what I would call a village.  Until I had a very scary experience that made me realize how important it is to have a village you can rely on.


I came very close to passing out while home alone with Mary one day. We just finished eating lunch and I was starting to putter in the kitchen when I started to get extremely light-headed. I lay down on the floor for a minute then decided to get my water bottle.  When I came back into the kitchen, Mary was on the floor. Safely on the floor, from her being buckled in a highchair. 


I had clearly moved her, but I still have no memory of this.


I laid on the floor for a few minutes, and then had to change a poopy nappy, but could barely stay upright during the process.  We had to do it in stages.  Once I finished the nappy change I laid down on the floor some more.  


It occurred to me if Mary did anything dangerous like grab our heater I would not be able to stop her.  I called a friend we had made from church who is a stay-at-home dad.  He was able to come with his son and look after Mary.  We later found out that I have low blood pressure. 


This experience made it really clear to me how important it is to have a village.  My husband’s commute is about 50 minutes. That is a really long time when you are sick.  


We have worked on building our village since then and I want to share some ways you can as well.


I will break this into sections. How to meet people and how to build relationships.


How to meet people:


Get to know your neighbors. This is easier said than done, but there are ways.  If you are outside at the same time, go and speak to them.  Make conversation and then ask if you can have their phone number in case of an emergency.  


Go to the park, or library, or other community gathering place.  Go to the park at the same time each week.  You will probably notice the same people there each week. 


 If you are religious, attend religious services.  Join a local group and get involved. 


Find a local playgroup and join. 


Join Facebook mothers groups for your area. Be active in the group and arrange a meet-up. 


Some places have “adopt a grandparent” programs. In Australia there is https://www.findagrandparent.org.au


How to Build Relationships:


Building relationships can be hard.  I really believe it is a skill that you can learn and build upon. 


In all of these situations, look for familiar faces.  Look for the people that you see over again.  


Start talking to people when you see them. Ask them questions about themselves. Follow up on the things they said last time.  Write notes to yourself in a journal or in your phone you can look at before you expect to see people to help you remember. It is not creepy I promise. It will make you come across much warmer and friendlier when you remember things.  


Once you’ve spoken to someone ask them for coffee or a walk sometime.  You don’t need to know someone well first. This is how you get to know people and how you make friends.  Exchange numbers.  If you have things your child outgrew that they might need, offer them the items. Build a connection naturally. Make sure to ask for favors and do favors as well. That is a large part of building connections.


If you are going to do something that you think someone else would be interested in, invite them to join you.  It means a lot to me when someone I don’t know super well invites us to go swimming or to another activity with them.  


If you find yourself in a bind, reach out to the people around you.  You have been making connections and so use them!  People generally want to help.  If anyone needs help, reach out and offer to help if you can. I believe this is what really cements relationships.  What is your favorite way to build relationships? 


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