Parenting Then Vs Parenting Now
After my recent burnout episode, I started comparing parenting in the past to what it is now. My mom had five children, my grandmother had nine, my great-grandmother had six, but how did they juggle it all? I sometimes have a tough time with just four. The dynamic between then and now has changed considerably. For example, most of our moms before us had their village. Most of their family members lived nearby, which lent extra hands. Their support system was airtight.
My siblings & I
How things were…
Even though there were several children to be cared for, those children always benefited from being outdoors most of the day, giving the mom that time she may have needed to complete her daily activities uninterrupted. Sometimes, cooking was done outside; this allowed the women to have a conversation and talk about everything that was happening to them; this was therapeutic.
Outdoor playtime is the absolute best time!
A Sense of Community
My mom had siblings much older than she was, so my grandmother always had a “babysitter.” She always had someone to watch the younger ones if she had an errand to run, like getting groceries. There was a sense of community. I have spoken to my mom before on the subject of juggling motherhood with five children. I have never seen my mom have a moment of needing a break, though they did exist. Everything I have felt she had been there to some extent, but it was a little different.
My Mom’s Village
My mom always had a full-time job, she was a full-time mother and wife, but she understood she needed help. In the early stages of my parents’ marriage, they lived very close to family, so they always had support. When my parents moved to the city, my aunt’s house was our little village; my older cousins would provide childcare and hair braiding services for my siblings and me. It was where we would sometimes congregate after school or church.
Being so far away from most of her village and having five children, my mom had to get help. She understood the importance of being whole for us. There was always someone to assist with the cooking, washing, and cleaning. She would sometimes take solo vacations as well. My parents were both teachers and were capable of helping with our homework, but remember it was five of us, which would have added to their plate, so they got us tutors. In a way, those persons were providing functions of a village.
Times Have Changed
Comparing myself to my mom, grandmom, and all the women in my family before me is like apples to oranges. Parenting then vs parenting now is miles apart. I don’t have the benefit of outdoor play all year round. Yes, playing in the winter is possible but uncomfortable, and yes, there are indoor parks, but sometimes, it takes so much extra effort that I am unwilling to expend it. I have no family that is close by and, of course, COVID. Playdates are a thing, but everyone is so busy, picking an exact date is a science. My eldest is ten years old, he’s not old enough for me to leave his siblings with him, so if I have errands, I have to work around my husband’s schedule or haul them all with me.
I have a full-time job as a stay-at-home mom, I am a full-time wife, soccer mom, tutor, hairstylist, and everything else in between. Today, this is the reality for so many women and we are burnt out. The bottom line is we need a village; we need help. When I say we, I mean us moms, women. After this pandemic passes, I am getting someone to assist me with at least 2 of my chores; the big ones – cleaning and laundry. I am very picky where cooking is concerned; I’ll have to work up to that one.