Family Life

'There's strength in numbers' - a mum's account of how asking for help is OK

They say it takes a village to raise our children, but what happens when there's no-one left in the village?

Spending time with our grandparents it became evident they knew every single neighbour on their street, they created their own small village. 

They were the best of buddies, always around for a helping hand or to lend a spoon of sugar when required; there was nothing quite like your neighbour. 

It was much of the same for our parents, however, there would always be one or two on the block a little isolated. 

Nowadays, we're nearly all isolated. 


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We don't all live as close to home as we once did, our parents can't arrive at our doorstep at the drop of a hat, so we certainly can't ask them to put on an extra spud every now and then, and we don't make as much of an effort to get to know our neighbours, our village.  

And when we start our own family, it's the one thing we miss the most. The one thing we realise we probably took for granted at one point in our life. 

The Mummysomniac, Kirsty McKenzie, came to this understanding while sitting in her car, with tears streaming down her face. 

The mum-of-three had reached her limit, but instead of asking for help before she got to this point, she ploughed through.


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"I'd been rapidly approaching breaking point for some time. I was exhausted. I have a new baby, a two-year-old and a four-year-old. I'm basically on my own with them for the bulk of the time."

While Kirsty acknowledges that her husband is a great dad, she also understands he's their bread and butter: "I run the house and the day-to-day, and he works incredibly hard to support us. We have limited family around."

"Our support network, while all amazing people, are either interstate, or just like us; young families, with young babies," she explained. 

The mum-of-three knows that if she really needed something from her close circle, they would oblige, but considering they too have young children, Kirsty doesn't want to add to their every day pressure, reaffirming why mums keep their feelings tucked away. 


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Kirsty knows a part of her reasoning is because she doesn't want to be judged, however: "I couldn't work out whether it was judgement from others I feared, or judgement from myself. Probably both."

"It's almost as if we have this insane expectation on ourselves to be super women. To do it all, and to have it all, but whatever you do, don't let on that it's hard, you may risk coming across as ungrateful. Or at least that's the way I felt about it."

Looking back to days she spent with her grandparents, Kirsty reminisces on the village, confessing: "I personally only know one other family on my street, it's just the way life seems to be now."

While her memories of spending time in her grandparents were fond, it's the first time the mum-of-three has mused that her mum surely enjoyed those times too, it allowed her to gather her thoughts, grab a shower or simply take a nap. 


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"As mums these days, many of us are expected to deal with daily solo parenting, plus often the stress and pressure of working, juggling jobs and parenting life, living away from family and friends, and the general pressures of living in 2017."

"It's not easy. Nothing worth doing well, ever is… and admitting that it can be incredibly hard, does not mean you're ungrateful. We're raising small humans. It IS hard."

We need to remember that family life is hard, going through the birthing process is hard, managing a home is hard, there will be days when you think everything is falling apart, but then tomorrow is a new day. 


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And our village? Well the problem isn't that the resources don't surround us. 

"It's that we don't allow ourselves to ask for it. We don't want to bother others, or admit to ourselves that we might really need it. We have to remove this expectation that we have to do it all on our own."

Because there is nothing like having your tribe, but if your tribe isn't in your immediate surroundings – you need a village, your village. 

Take a moment when they kids are gone to bed, and think about how many of your neighbours you know, and make a conscious effort now to get to know the ones you don't. 


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You don't know when you may need a helping hand, and better yet, you don't know when they'll need your support too. 

As Kirsty now knows: "There's strength in numbers, and we need to find those numbers wherever and however we can…"

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