Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

There’s a question I hear asked from time to time that bothers me. When it’s asked, it’s always with a frustrated, woebegone undertone; a longing for days gone by; an acknowledgment of change and a helpless search to restore an unfortunate loss:

What happened to the village?

There’s a well-known maxim that says, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and there is so much truth to that. Parenting is hard work, and a strong support system is important. No, not important—necessary. Having a “village” is vital to our success as moms.

And for thousands of years, moms had that village. They banded together, shared their wisdom, and provided physical and emotional support. They did life together. 

Until recently. 

Now, the prevalent feeling is not a village mentality but rather one of “every mom for herself”. We keep to ourselves and hoard our secrets. New moms put on airs of confidence in public but flounder in private. “If she can do it, so can I,” says the voice inside our heads. And mommy mentors are almost impossible to find, though we all desperately desire them. 

All of this leads us to ask: what happened to the village?

I have pondered this question many times myself, and I recently arrived at my answer.

We destroyed it. 

Not all at once, of course. It wasn’t a one-time demolition of centuries-worth of matronly cooperation. No, it happened as most societal shifts do—gradually, piece by piece. 

We took a piece when we stopped doing life together, in general. When neighbors stopped gathering on porches, schedules became jam-packed, and families started holing up in their own homes, shutting out the outside world. We sacrificed community on the altar of individual success and protection. And a piece of the village was lost as collateral damage. 

We took another piece when we decided we had to be Pinterest-perfect all the time. Pinterest is great—it’s a very handy tool. But it has set some unrealistic standards when it comes to how real life looks. And when we feel we don’t measure up? We simply close our physical and metaphorical doors, compounding our feelings of isolation and inadequacy . . . and further removing ourselves from the village.

We took yet another piece when we began judging our fellow moms. I don’t know when it started—the rise of social media, perhaps?—but “mommy shaming” is real. And it surrounds us every day, intimidating us into immobility. We don’t dare share anything neutral, let alone questions, fears, and struggles. And it’s hard to have a village when everyone is too afraid to be real.

The demolition of the village started years ago, but we continue to take pieces all the time. When our to-do list gets so long we can’t possibly add favors for each other. When we’re so preoccupied with our own children we forget to look out for others’. When our lives so consume us that it never enters our mind to ask about our neighbors’. When we have that invisible “Do Not Disturb” sign stamped across our foreheads that prevents other moms from sharing their struggles or gleaning from our experience.

On the other hand, we also take a piece every time we refuse another mom’s help. We’ve had it so ingrained in us by now that “strong women” do it all, we consider it a personal failure to accept assistance. “I should be able to do this,” we think to ourselves. “Everyone else does.” And we not only hurt ourselves, but we push the village further and further away.

Where has the village gone? We destroyed it with our own hands. With our inward-focused homes, our too-full schedules, our judgment of other moms, and our prideful need to “have it all together.” Piece by piece, we tore down the village and in the process made motherhood harder on us all. 

But the story doesn’t end here! The good news is that just as we have each contributed to its undoing, we can each reverse the cycle and rebuild the village. How? The same way we tore it down — one piece at a time. 

Through one invitation into your home, you restore a piece of the village. Through one understanding look and kind word. Through providing a meal to a new mom, sharing your experience, accepting another mom’s help … 

What happened to the village? We destroyed it. But we can also be the ones who rebuild it.

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Lisa Mullen

Lisa is a wife, mom of three, and blogger. She writes at themerrymomma.com, a blog devoted to helping moms be the peaceful, joyful, and intentional moms they want to be. When she’s not working or taking care of her family, she can usually be found cooking, enjoying their country oasis, and reading her heart out. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading