The one about the village.
When I was three months pregnant, my husband and I moved in with my parents. We did this for a few reasons, but one of the big ones was that I couldn’t work while I was pregnant and needed a lot more help being a human than usual. My baby is now four months old and we’re looking to buy a new place and leaving the safety of my parents’ home. As anyone who’s ever done any kind of house hunting will tell you, it’s a clusterfuck of hideousness - but aside from all that it’s got me thinking.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the level of support I’ve been afforded over this time. When I was pregnant I was hardly ever alone - there was always someone on hand to get me water, help me shower, get me medicine, make me toast or do the chores I couldn’t get out of bed to do. Since I’ve had the baby, there’s always been an eager pair of hands to pass her to when I need a break. I’ve been very lucky that any time I’ve said I needed space, I could hand the baby to one of many people who live with me, jump in the car and be sitting quietly, and alone on the beach, enjoying a relative peace for an hour.
And while I’m very excited to maybe have a little home somewhere soon, I’m also quite terrified about what it will mean in terms of me and the baby. Roland travels a bit for work, and sometimes the days are very long. While we’re at my parents house that’s not such a problem - my dad is retired and mum often works from home, so there’s always someone to break up the day. But if we’re in our own home, it’ll just be me and my girl. How will I pee? What if she won’t nap? What if I can’t actually do it on my own?
I don’t actually have the answers for any of those questions, nor the many more swirling around and churning my stomach. I’ve been spoilt with so much support for so long now, what if I don’t remember how to adult properly, let alone mother a small human? See, just more questions! That’s all I’ve got!
I like these posts to be real, but also to have a certain amount of clarity to them. I find writing them cathartic - often I’m not sure how they’ll end when I start them, but after a few paragraphs I have my AHA moment and it all gets tied up in a bow. But we’re getting dangerously close to the end of this page and there’s not AHA in sight. Just more questions, more churning and a lot of swirling. Seems along with forgetting how to stack the dishwasher, fold tee shirts and write a grocery shopping list, I’ve also forgotten how to write a blog post. I’m killing it.
I think what I mean by all this is that I’ve had the proverbial village for my short life as a mother. I’ve had the wisdom of my parents immediately to hand in any moment of doubt. And I’m so lucky to have that. I’ve taken it for granted and now that the end looms I feel like a fool. A spoilt, selfish millennial who should have known better but ordered the smashed avo toast anyway. This is my public proclamation to do and be better on that front - more gratitude from me from now on.
So, along with agreeing to be more grateful for the support I have, while I have it, I’m also going to agree to stop trying to tie my posts up in a neat bow. We started this blog to fill the void of the traditional village so few of us have - to become an online village built on storytelling and mutual appreciation for the juggle. If we’re going to succeed at becoming that village, for anyone but ourselves and the two or three people we force to read our posts under threat of death, it needs to be not-neat. So, no more neatness from here on in.
I don’t know how I’ll cope on my own. My parents will still be a short drive or a phone call away - so I should probably stop acting like I’m going to sea or war or being marooned in the desert. But I’ve always had a bent toward the theatrical so maybe I’ll stick with it. Either way, my questions and fears and doubts remain unanswered. I’m probably going to royally fuck up a tremendous amount. But I promise to tell y’all about it so that you can help me, advise me and laugh (read: drink) with me. Because that’s what a village does right?