Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

My husband and I exchanged terrified glances as the nurse checked our car seat and told us we were, and I quote, “good to go.” I remember thinking how bizarre it was that I had to do more to get my learner’s permit when I was 16 than I had to do to take a baby home. I didn’t think there’d be anything scarier than that initial moment we realized we were solely responsible for this perfect little being.

And yet, there was something scarier. Much scarier.

The first day I was completely on my own with my squishy, non-communicative, maybe-colicky-maybe-gassy-maybe-tired-maybe-hungry bundle of love opened up a new world of uncertainty. This day is different for every new mom, I think. Maybe it’s the day the mother-in-law leaves. Maybe it’s the day Grandma has used up her vacation days and heads back to work. Maybe it’s the day the partner’s parental leave ends. 

At some point, the support is gone. We’re there. Alone. Well, kind of. 

Reality set in fast on that first day. I remember trying to hold my baby while simultaneously going to the bathroom, trying not to rip out my still-fresh stitches, covertly glancing down to make sure I wasn’t hemorrhaging, while also trying not to fall asleep. I knew I’d feel more up to the tasks of the day if I got myself showered and dressed, but exactly does one shower and watch a newborn at the same time? Even if I did manage to shower, where were the clothes to fit my still-swollen-but-no-longer-filled-with-baby belly?


We’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and the common discourse today is that said village no longer exists. As a military wife six hours away from our nearest family member, I felt like a lone wolf figuring it out on my own for those first few weeks. I was scared to venture out of the house. What if there was a blowout? A meltdown? What if my boobs leaked all over the place, just like at home? I feared that the first time out of the house would be even harder than the first day alone.

Eventually, I had to prepare for the worst and go for it. It was so cold—just before Christmas in Ohio—and I had done my best to appropriately bundle my seemingly always sweaty baby so he’d be comfortable. It was a quick errand. A simple run to Target to pick up a biracial male Elf On The Shelf since I had originally picked up a biracial female Elf On The Shelf, and clearly my 8-week-old son would know the difference. 

We made it into Target without issue, located the correct Elf, and proceeded to the self-checkout lane. I noticed my makeup-free, broken-out-from-hormones face in the security camera. Little man started to fuss. Not terribly, but enough that I felt a twinge of anxiety. 

Please, I thought. Please, let’s get through this together, baby boy. We’re almost done.

At that moment, an older woman came up to me. I braced myself for unsolicited advice, attempts to touch my new baby, and other annoyances I’d heard about from the multitude of Facebook mom groups I joined (and subsequently quit). 

“Hey mama,” she said softly as she approached me, “You have this beautiful baby dressed perfectly for the weather today. Look how comfortable he is. Great job, mom.”

I thanked her, my heart warmed by her kind words. As I juggled the Elf and the baby to the car, I began to wonder . . . was it possible that the village did, in fact, still exist? Had I caught a glimpse of it in Target?

Over the next weeks and months, I made a point to look for the support of others that have supposedly disappeared over recent decades.

I felt the village lift me up when I was out for a walk with my little boy on a bike path, half a mile from the car, and he refused to walk, run, be carried, or wear shoes. A woman walking her dog approached me and said, “I have four kids. I have been here. Don’t worry. I can help.” She proceeded to talk to my little guy, asking him if he has a doggie at home. She told him that her dog was a little boy just like him, still figuring out how the world works. She walked with us until he relaxed enough to make it back to the car. 

I felt the village when a woman marveled at the fact that we’re still breastfeeding nearly two years in, rather than question our decision. “How amazing!” she said, giving me the boost of confidence I desperately needed that day. 

I felt the village when two grandmas came to my aid at Trader Joe’s as I was struggling to get him to sit in the cart. “You can do it, beautiful boy!” they told him. They clapped for him as he happily settled into the seat, and he smiled with pride. 

I felt the village when I had to make the eight hour round trip drive from Dayton to Pittsburgh, just baby and me, to renew my license (military life). We sat in the DMV waiting area for hours as I made desperate attempts to keep my little boy entertained. A woman pulled stickers out of her purse for him, telling us that they were her daughter’s favorite. A man left the waiting area and came back with bottles of water for us. 

Most recently, I felt the village when I was standing in line at the ice cream shop with my 20-month-old. The man in front of us quietly paid for us, then turned to me and said, “You’re doing great, mom.” He doesn’t know how those four words had me walking on air for the next week.

The village may not look the way that it did hundreds of years ago, but if we look closely, it’s still there. It’s up to us to help it continue.

This means, mamas, that it’s time for us to get our heads out of our phones and support each other. Give mom a moment of relief by making a funny face at the toddler who is being carried out of Target screaming, surfboard style. Pay for the order of the exhausted mom in a full minivan in line behind you at the Starbucks drive-thru. Leave a basket of deliciousness on the doorstep of your neighbor with a newborn for a no-pressure way to provide a new mama with a little bit of relief. 

We’re all in this thing together. Let’s all work toward making it feel that way more often.

You may also like:

Where is the Mama Village?

I Need a Village Because I Can’t Do This Alone

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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

Order Now

Amanda Turner

Amanda is a former teacher turned stay at home mom and writer, currently residing in Dayton, OH. As a military wife, Amanda enjoys travel, adventure, and never being quite sure what city she and her family will call home next. 

Please Stop Comparing Kids

In: Motherhood
Mom and kids in sunlight

Let me begin with this important message: Please refrain from comparing children, especially when it pertains to their growth and development. If you happen to notice differences in a child’s height, weight, or appetite compared to another, that’s perfectly fine. Your observations are appreciated. However, I kindly request that you avoid openly discussing these comparisons as such conversations can inadvertently distress a parent who may already be grappling with concerns about their child’s growth trajectory. Trust me, I say this from personal experience. Recently, at a dinner gathering, a couple casually remarked that someone’s 1-year-old child appeared larger both in...

Keep Reading

This Will Not Last Forever

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman looking at sunset

“This will not last forever,” I wrote those words on the unfinished walls above my daughter’s changing table. For some reason, it got very tiring to change her diapers. Nearly three years later, the words are still there though the changing table no longer is under them. While my house is still unfinished so I occasionally see those words, that stage of changing diapers for her has moved on. She did grow up, and I got a break. Now I do it for her baby brother. I have been reminding myself of the seasons of life again. Everything comes and...

Keep Reading

You Made Me Love Christmas

In: Motherhood
Family in pajamas near Christmas tree, color photo

Hi kids, this is a thank you note of sorts . . . I’m about to tell you something strange. Something you may not “get” yet, but I hope you do eventually. I used to dread Christmas. I know, isn’t that weird? Most kids and a lot of adults have countdowns and decorations and music, but I had a countdown in my mind of when it would be over. To me, it wasn’t a happy time. From the age of about eight (right about where you all are now) Christmas, for me, became like a job of sorts. Long before...

Keep Reading

She is an Anonymom

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother standing at sink holding a baby on her hip

She stands alone in the church kitchen, frantically scrubbing pots and pans while the grieving huddle around the fellowship hall, and she slips out the back door before anyone comes in. She is an anonymom. She gets out of her car and picks up the trash thrown into the ditch alongside the country road. She is an anonymom. She sits on the park bench, watching her children play. In the meantime, she continually scans the whole playground, keeping track of everyone’s littles, because that is what moms do. She is an anonymom. RELATED: Can We Restore “the Village” Our Parents...

Keep Reading

I Come Alive at Christmas

In: Motherhood
Kitchen decorated for Christmas

It’s time again. Time for the lights and the trees and candy canes and tiny porcelain village homes. It’s time to shake off all that this year has thrown at me and come alive again. My favorite time of year is here and it’s time to make some magic. My mom started the magic of Christmas for me when I was little, and I was infatuated with the joy that it brought to so many people. Loved ones come together and everything sparkles and people who don’t normally come to church are willing to join us in the pews. Everything...

Keep Reading

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

Connecting with My Teen Son Will Always Be Worth the Wait

In: Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy standing near lamppost, color photo

So much of parenting teens is just waiting around, whether it’s in the car picking them up, reading in waiting rooms now that they are old enough to visit the dentist alone, and quite honestly, a lot of sitting around at home while they cocoon in their rooms or spend hours FaceTiming friends. Sure, you have your own life. You work, run a household, have your own friends, and plan solo adventures to show your teen that you’re not just waiting around for them all the time. That you are cool with them not needing you so much. But deep...

Keep Reading

This Is Why Moms Ask for Experience Gifts

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter under Christmas lights wearing red sweaters

When a mama asks for experience gifts for her kids for Christmas, please don’t take it as she’s ungrateful or a Scrooge. She appreciates the love her children get, she really does. But she’s tired. She’s tired of the endless number of toys that sit in the bottom of a toy bin and never see the light of day. She’s tired of tripping over the hundreds of LEGOs and reminding her son to pick them up so the baby doesn’t find them and choke. She’s tired of having four Elsa dolls (we have baby Elsa, Barbie Elsa, a mini Elsa,...

Keep Reading

6 Things You Can Do Now to Help Kids Remember Their Grandparents

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Motherhood
Grandfather dances with granddaughter in kitchen

A month ago, my mom unexpectedly passed away. She was a vibrant 62-year-old grandma to my 4-year-old son who regularly exercised and ate healthy. Sure, she had some health scares—breast cancer and two previous brain aneurysms that had been operated on successfully—but we never expected her to never come home after her second surgery on a brain aneurysm. It has been devastating, to say the least, and as I comb through pictures and videos, I have gathered some tips for other parents of young kids to do right now in case the unexpected happens, and you’re left scrambling to never...

Keep Reading