And check out my joint blog with the love of my life and writing partner Dmytry Karpov: Kimberly ♥ Dmytry

Then his blog: Dmytry Karpov

Monday, March 23, 2009

It Takes a Village

We have this bizarre notion in our society that the nuclear family is the ideal grouping for raising children and living healthy, happy lives. And yet we are not, for the most part, living healthy, happy lives. What's wrong with this picture?

The fact is "it takes a village" may be a cliche, but it holds a lot of wisdom and truth. We shun the village mentality as backwards and uncivilized while we cling desperately to individualism and consumerism as signs of success. But are we happy? Is this paradigm working? It doesn't appear so.

I have read many psychological studies that have discovered a very sad truth. Marriages are most unhappy and likely to end during child rearing years. Couples are happier before they have children and most happy when one partner dies or they divorce after the children are reared and on their own. Hmm...

Raising kids is the toughest job imaginable. Just ask any mom who juggles work, kids, house and life. (I know dads have these demands too, but let's face, aside from the occasional exception, moms are still playing super-hero more often than not in the family dynamic.)

Many of our problems come from our expectations of marriage. We expect our spouse to complete us, to be the Yin to our Yang, or vice versa. We have this programmed belief that once we meet this special someone we will never feel lonely again. We wil spend our days in the blissfulness of love and completeness. Bull!! Only God can fill that hole, or Spirit, or Universe, whatever you call it. It doesn't come from the guy or girl sitting next to you.

It takes many people to meet our human needs, and many people to meet the needs of our children. I'm a single mom. I know how hard it is to be all things to my little ones. I can't do it. I need my friends and family to fill in the many gaps I leave. They need their grandparents, uncle, teachers, and close friends to help them grow and learn and become who they are meant to become.

And I need this too. In this huge transition in my life I have needed many people, more than at any time in my life. My dad has provided financial help when I was in desperate need, my best friend grounds me and helps move boxes and helps me slow down or speed up (usually slow down), my brother loves me and introduces me to new ways of doing things, my parents provide moral support and a place to spend holidays and love for my kids, my other friends provide temporary homes for my kids when I have to run to the hospital for a sick one, they help me make major and minor moves to new homes, they provide food, help, a shoulder. It really does take a village.

I've always thought of myself as quite independent. I still do. But I'm coming to realize how essential other people are in my life, and I'm also beginning to see that none of them can make me happy or less scared, or my complete. I already have all that. I just have to open my eyes to it and remember. And my village helps me do that too.

Thank you to all my village people :)