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We are all trying so hard....

This past week or so everyone on Social Media has posted pictures and talked about International Daughter's Day and International Son's Day, myself included. And it's lovely to see all the smiling faces of the children who belong to those family and friends of mine that I don't get to see every day. When family and friends live great distances apart, it's nice to see updated pictures and hear about how things in their lives are going. But one glaring thing hit me as I read all these posts and looked at all these pictures of children who do not belong to me.

Some parents do not have living children anymore. That doesn't mean they aren't still parents. That doesn't mean special days don't exist for them. It means that these special days, along with holidays, birthdays, anniversaries are just that much harder. They do not want to forget their children they have lost, but rather remember them fondly.

I read a post from a mother this past week about how she doesn't like the phrase that many mom's use: "I kept the kids alive today". For years she felt like a failure, because essentially, she did not keep her kid alive one day. I too, am at fault for using this phrase on days where I have felt overwhelmed and like I haven't achieved what I needed to as a parent. And I had not realized how this small sentence can impact someone else's life so much. So now, I will not use the phrase "I kept the kids alive today", because there are so many other sentences I can use that won't hurt others and still get my point across. If I can avoid hurting someone with my words, then I will go to great lengths to ensure that I am accepting and have someone else's position in mind.

I am an empath. I believe once I become a mother, I fully embraced the ability to absorb other people's feelings and emotions as my own. Because for me, that is how I can connect with my kids and other people. And I love to talk and write. It's how I communicate. Some people are talkers, some are doers, while I try to do lots for others, I think my talking ability tips those scales just a tad bit more. And when I can't talk to a person, I write. And I talk to anyone who will read it.

As a mother of 4 children, with the oldest being 23 years and the youngest being 10 years now, I can tell you full-heartedly that mores often than not, I feel like a failure as a mother. I have good days and bad days. I am constantly second-guessing my choices and wondering if what I've chosen is the best option for everyone. We should not be beating ourselves up over every single decision we make as a parent. It's damaging to our psyche. And our kids see and feel that.

Years ago Motherhood was a community. Kids would run feral down the street playing with their friends and you never had to worry about your child. If your child was bullying another child or swearing, some mother in the neighborhood would step up and set your child straight for you. And you can bet they would listen. I remember mothers talking over afternoon tea to each other: 'Oh hey I yelled at your kid yesterday'. And the other mother would reply, 'Good, he probably needed it.' No questions about validity or what the purpose was. Our village was wide. And if other children came to your house after school, you fed them snacks and made sure they washed their hands. Kids were sent home at dinner time, but often some stayed. We took care of each other. No questions asked. Bicycles littered front lawns and basketball hoops and hockey nets were in the streets every day. Cars did not drive as though they had a right to drive through, cars were slow and watched for balls bouncing between cars or playing children outside.

Our village has shrunk. Motherhood is nothing more than women behind their keyboards chatting in online groups, exploring other ideas for inexpensive dinner recipes or the best way to get rid of head lice. We have lost the ability to just sit and talk with one another. We have lost our connections to one another.

Raising 4 kids of my own, I have been involved in many things from karate to soccer, hockey and even gymnastics and swimming. One more occasions that I can count, parents say during the off-season of their said activity that they miss the other parents, and they haven't seen them in months if there is no practice or game. WHY NOT? Why are we letting practices and games depict whether we visit with others? Why aren't we taking the initiative to call up a family and say Hey, what are your plans this weekend? Do you wanna come visit or go to the park with the kids?

We need to reinvent our village. For the sake of our sanity and our children's well-being. Depression and anxiety are rampant in more recent years and I do believe not having a close community has something to do with this. Find your people, call or text that parent and set a coffee date. Our lives have become too busy that we can't even enjoy an evening of cards as adults while the kids play downstairs anymore. Do you remember growing up and our parents having card nights well into the late hours of the evening? Us kids played downstairs, occasionally coming up for a juice box or a snack. We loved staying up late those weekends and just hanging out.

Think of all the people that are in your life and figure out which ones should be in your village. Then start building. We need to. It's important and essential.

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