Tonight, I was getting ready to go out to eat with some friends from our compound, and I heard the kids out in the dining room eating their food. They were laughing and having fun. Happiness was sitting with them while they were eating and then, I heard her say," Jeremy, I already told you that you need to eat your food. If you don't listen again, then, you are going to time out." Two things went through my head at that time:
1) 18 months ago, I never would have had someone come in early to feed my kids so I had a little extra time to actually get ready. ( The mom guilt always took over, and I felt like if I didn't feed my kids and get them in p.j.'s before the sitter came, then I wasn't doing a good job as a mother).......HOW COULD I EVER HAVE THOUGHT THAT????
2)18 months ago, I would have felt like I was the only one who could tell my child he would go to time out for not listening. ( So, far from the truth now!!!)
Since I have lived here, I have learned alot about letting people help with certain aspects of my life. Some have been particularly easy to let go of...grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry just to name a few. But, it was extremely hard to let go of some part of my job as caregiver to my children. It is one thing to have a babysitter come in and take care of your child for an hour or two. But, it is a completely different thing to have a nanny/ housekeeper in your home everyday all day. Thankfully, we figured out job descriptions early and Happiness is wonderful. But, there was always that pull at me that if I let someone else help me regularly with my children, that I was not functioning fully as a mom. And the question which went through my head over and over before moving here was "If I have a nanny, will the kids still realize that I am the mom?"
Towards the end of last year, I started thinking about that African proverb " It takes a village to raise a child." To my surprise when I researched its origins, it turns out it is a proverb from the Yoruba and Ibo regions of Nigeria...which just so happens to be right where I am today.:) The more I thought about it, I realized how true that statement really is. I find when I am able to take that extra bit of time to get ready instead of feeding the kids and bathing them and then trying to get ready for a date night....I feel more relaxed, and I am a better mom.:) And to tell you the truth, there has never been a question of who the mom really is.I am learning that it is okay to let go of some of the control I thought I had with my kids.....because that was all it was ..the thought of control and the insecurities I had with someone else helping me with my job as a mom. It really is okay to let others into your life to help you when you need help. One person can't raise a child alone.....that's the whole reason a child can only come into the world with two parents. Couples and single parents alike need help from friends, family, or others in the community.
I really am blessed that I have had the opportunity to realize the truthfulness of this proverb. I am glad that I have realized it soon enough for my children to benefit from it. Not only do we have a nanny who is always here, but since we live on a compound, there are always other nannies and moms who are all around looking out for the kiddos when they are outside playing or at school. Jeremy and Elizabeth can see that others in the world are looking out for them and that the world is actually an okay place.:). They are also learning different views and what is acceptable to some is not acceptable to all. It truly does take a village to raise a child....the responsibility of even just one child is too big for only one person to handle all alone. And as you can see, I think the kids have adjusted to living among people who care for them in their "village".:)