As described in Wiki – A village is a human settlement or community.
We are all part of one and all need one, in some shape or form.
Whether it is family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, other parents, or even sporting team mates, as humans, we need human interaction. We need people to talk to, to listen to, to be with. According to the TED Talk by psychologist Susan Pinker, our social lives may have a direct impact on our longevity – therefore your village may actually help you live longer.
As busy working mums it is hard to build and maintain a village – but it is extremely important that we do.
So how do you do it?
Think about your closest 3-5 people. They may be your partner, your parents, your in-laws, your siblings or perhaps your best friends. These are your core. These are the people you would most likely lean on when you need to, and you should. This core group would be who you might call for a babysitter if you need one, for help doing something around the house or for some emotional support if you are going through a rough time. This is your inner village. They are on your speed dial and you are on theirs.
But, it is just as important to build and maintain people in your wider village. These might include your neighbours, work colleagues, school mums, potentially people in your weekly yoga class or gym session. These people may not be the ones your call on for a helping hand at home, but these are the ones you might reach out to for socialisation, a quick after work drink, a weekend coffee catch up or a playdate with the kids. These are the ones that will help keep you strong in your own identity, this is where your conversation may not involve the kids but perhaps include building your social interests and help ignite a fire in your belly. It may keep your creativity alive, your personal space full and leave you feeling fresh and supported in your life vision.
Now that you have identified your village – how do you maintain or even build it?
Well this part can take some work and time – both of which can be in short supply for us working mums. However, start by reaching out and getting in touch with 2 or 3 people and organising a weekend catch up – either individually or together. Have friends or colleagues over for dinner or meet up for an after work drink on a night when you don’t have to rush home. If you can’t leave the kids, perhaps opt for a playdate with other mums and build your group from there. It can be just for an hour and doesn’t have to cost a cent as you can meet at the local playground.
Once you start it is important to keep up the momentum. This doesn’t mean becoming a big social butterfly and being out and about all week (unless you want to), but keep a regular rhythm and catch up often and see how you go.
Do you cultivate your village? What tips do you have to create and build a village?