Friday, June 21, 2013

It Takes a Village

A lot of people tell me that they could never be a parent on their own and they don't know how I do it. Whenever someone says this to me, I am not sure what to say. I grew up in a two parent household. My parents were very supportive of my decision to adopt as a single mother. This may be because I am adopted or because I have always wanted to adopt and made my feelings very clear from the time I was 20.

I've seen a lot of great relationships (my grandparents) and countless relationships that ended in break ups, divorce, or one spouse doing the work of 2 spouses in a marriage. Don't get me wrong: I believe in marriage. I would love to get married one day, but I also didn't want to wake up one day and realize that I missed my chance at motherhood. Single parenting is the only way I know how to be a parent. We're a team of 2 instead of 3!

How do you do it? Build your village. I have a village surrounding my child. Hillary Clinton wrote a book with the same title, and she's completely right (I'm sure my dad is rolling in his grave as I'm writing this). E is surrounded by a loving family, even if they are far away. He is the center of attention at family gatherings and when we visit home, my aunt and uncle always make sure they visit so they can see him. He has 2 Nanas and one Papa (my uncle) as well as my sister, cousins, and their spouses that get very excited when he comes to visit.

I also have extremely supportive friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Helpful hint: when someone says they'll babysit when you need them, take them up on the offer. I had a co-worker say that she would take E if I ever needed her. He brought home the stomach bug when he was 7 months old and passed it on to me. My mother lives several hours away and was working at the time so she couldn't help. I couldn't take care of E (my worst fear) and I called my co-worker for help. She picked him up the next day so I could sleep and kept him for 6 hours. She's also taken him so I could have a Mommy's Night Out with friends (well needed!).

I have three very good friends that E sees regularly and have been with me from the beginning of the adoption process. Two of them are moms and I have called them many, many times for advice or hand holding. The other friend is a great listener and, though she has no children, takes E once a month so that I can get my hair cut and styled (one of my few mommy must haves).

Build your village. Surround yourself with friends and family (if possible). Don't feel guilty if you need to call one of them for help or advice. You would do it for them.

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