I am one month into this gig of mothering two children under two and things seem to be going better than expected or maybe I have just lowered my standards. The first baby introduces you to the real world of parenthood and the second baby reminds you that each child is unique from birth; so what you thought would work may not do the trick this time around.
Things are going so smoothly in this picture...Ha!
The three things that you will always need when raising each child is love, patience and connection. Creating a special connection with each child is important, but also with other adults. A supportive village can turn the dark parts of parenting into a slightly brighter place. This is what I call your village. Everyone needs to feel connected to a community or group, especially as a stay at home parent. I have my parents living down the street to babysit. I had my siblings visit and help hold the newborn. I have a husband with a flexible work from home schedule. I have neighbors that bring food and gifts to help out. I have friends that take me out to dinner and remind me of the parts of me that seem so far away since becoming a mother. This is my village. It must be a heavy feeling when you are raising a family without a sense of community.
Eat. Play. Sleep. Repeat.
So next time you have a chance to connect with someone or offer someone valuable support; do it. Do it even if its out of your comfort zone and do it even if you have nothing to gain from it. And when someone offers you help or a chance to connect, accept the opportunity. Offer support to the parent on a a plane with a crying baby instead of frustration. Smile and introduce yourself to the person next to you at your weekly art/yoga/cooking/etc. class. Have lunch and chat with a coworker you don't usually engage with. Call that friend you haven't talked to for some time. These are ways to grow your village. These ways will also increase your happiness.
Sometimes when we scroll through Facebook or read the news we become focused on our differences. We withdraw even more and create unnecessary walls because someone is different than us instead of trying to connect and learn. This rings even more true during an election year. Above my kitchen sink I have a sign an old friend gave me that says "No act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted". Between the dirty diapers, work, and sleep deprivation I am going to try and remember this and create those positive connections with my children, family, and village.