Find Your Village

find your village

Recently I read a blogger who had the privilege of being on the Huff post.  She waxed poetic about a village of women who loved each other, depended on one anotherother, helped each other in every family rearing occasion.  She lamented the loss of this intimate village that she has never had.

I get it, I really do.  The idea of raising your children with out the distractions of electronics, soccer tournaments and PTA meetings with the help of your best friends is enticing.  However, the life she speaks of is a romanticized version of Little House on the Prairie or a time in history when families had to depend on each other for their very survival.  I hear of modern day homesteaders and envision myself in a simple life of chickens clucking and scratching in the yard, up to my elbows in bread flour and my smallest is strapped to my back.  In this scenario my hair is long and red and curly, my husband is muscular and sexy with an Irish brogue and risks life and limb to stake claim to land to show me he loves me.  Oh wait, that was Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise in Far and Away.  Sounds dreamy, but the reality of this by-gone era is that more than one of your children would have died in infancy and you may have lost your muscular, Irish-lover husband to a rattle snake bite.  At 38 you would look like you are 68 because life was friggin hard.  Rising before the sun, working all day, starting another meal just as the previous one was cleared away.  Let’s not even talk about laundry.  I shudder at the thought. 

The only place the Huff Post blogger could find her dream lifestyle today would be to join and Amish community or a hippy commune.  My guess is that 99.99% of us would give up after a week.

But what about that elusive village of women we dream of?  The one where you can laugh and cry with your girlfriends?  The one where they get you and love you even with your faults and quirks?  It’s out there; it just takes work to find it.  When I was a new mother I was desperate, with a capitol D, to find like minded women.  I had to search them out.  I joined Mothers of Preschoolers, I took my toddler to Gymboree, we joined a church and I scanned the congregation for someone with the same crazed look in her eye.  When we moved to a new town I had to start the process all over.  I volunteered in the community, I found another Gymboree, I took my little one to the library and the park and tentatively struck up conversations with other women who looked just as shy as I felt.

I have been fortunate enough to have found my village.  When one of us is in crisis the rest jump into action and take care of her.  We applaud each others successes and lift each other up in our sorrow.  It wasn’t easy to find this village, in fact it took years.  But I knew my kindred spirits were out there and I didn’t give up.  I test drove some friendships and over time discovered the ones that would work and the ones that wouldn’t.  

I promise your village is out there.  The thing about women is that they want to be needed.  They want to make casseroles and banana bread when someone has a new baby.  They want to watch their neighbor’s kids when she needs a break.  They want to spill the beans over relationships and tantrums and feel validated.  Being a part of a village gives us the sense of community that we crave.

It’s okay if the first village you try to break into doesn’t work out.  That’s the other thing about women; they can be fickle, opinionated and hard to get along with.  Just like romantic relationships; they don’t all work out and that is okay.  It’s actually a good thing.  Think about that boy you were crazy in love with at one time.  You thought you would be with him forever and then things fell apart.  You grew apart or met someone else, whatever the reason you look back on that relationship and think thank goodness that didn’t work out.  It can be like that with friendships too.  We don’t have to be best friends with every single woman we meet.

So, rather than pining away for the village of yesteryear, look around you and discover your village in the here and now.  They may be at your church, your gym, your bible study, your child’s pre-school or just down the street.  Where ever they are, they are waiting to be found.  Have you found your village?  If so, I rejoice for you.  If not, take heart, they are out there.

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8 Responses

  1. Shel Harrington

    All so true, Stephanie. And as with any village, some residents stay ’til the day they die, some move away, and others move in. Sometimes village members share a season in our lives (high school, college, new motherhood, a geographic location . . . ) and it’s OK to let that go when the season – or the common bond – is over. Often the toughest thing about developing your village is to be vulnerable enough to reach out to someone and not too wounded to reach out to another if the response isn’t what you want.

    In our twenties, my husband and I moved 1000 miles away from the community we were both raised in and realized quickly that if we didn’t consciously try and make friends we were going to have a lonely go of things. Like anything else, it gets easier the more you do it and with effort (most of the time) comes reward!
    Shel Harrington recently posted…9 Kitchen Habits that Cook Up Trouble in Your MarriageMy Profile

    • Stephanie Clinton

      So true Shel, thank you for that. We’re on this earth a long time and we’ll have a lot of villages a part of our lives.

  2. Chris Carter

    YES YES YES!!!! I thank GOD for my village! I really have such a heavy heart for those who do not have the support and nourishment of friendships that can withstand the storms and bask in the sun too. What a horribly lonely existence. And yet? I know there are many isolated in it. So I hope and pray women who are alone can take some faithful courageous steps and reach out. There are beautiful souls just waiting to join a village!!
    Chris Carter recently posted…Beauty Blooms in Hard PlacesMy Profile

    • Stephanie Clinton

      Yes, Chris…I feel the same way. I hope and pray that all women find just what they need and are looking for. I have faith that they will and that they will have the courage to speak up when they think they have found a new friend.

  3. Melissa

    Love this post! Looking forward to finding a village as I’ve entered this new stage of life of being a mom full time.

    • Stephanie Clinton

      You will! There are so many moms out there just like you, looking for their kindred spirit. Thanks for reading!

  4. Julie {Lilacs & Longhorns}

    Love this, Stephanie! So true that we all need and crave a village of our own. What I love about blogging is that I’ve been able to create another village outside of my geographical location. It’s nice to have those friends close to home, but it’s also nice to be able to have a village of online friends who understand this crazy business of blogging! 🙂

    • Stephanie Clinton

      I agree! I love my real life girlfriends but my online village is so important. I have learned so much from them and know I can turn to them when I need help or advice.

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