Quad Parenting (My Village)
One of the most weighted and unnerving factors of going through my divorce wasn’t a reflection of what I felt for myself, but rather a concern for my children. What their lives would look like growing up without their parents being together. What emotional tolls will this event inflict? I didn't want their childhood to be lacking in any way. I thought of how divorce is still regarded as taboo, and how there's a widely perceived notion that single parenthood automatically equates to struggle. Yes, being a single parent will have its unique hardships, but I never want my children to feel the brunt of those transitions. Prayerfully, with our village, they wont.
From the moment my children entered this world, my parents have been active participants in their lives. In these few sweet years, they have been present for every milestone, Sunday worships and family meals that follow. They checked in after dr. appointments, were always available for impromptu playdates, and their support during this transition was no different. I was blessed that when I needed to seek out help, I didn't have to look far; they welcomed us with open arms.
Initially, I worried that alone (apart from a spouse) I couldn't give the babes everything that they needed; especially if I had to work and couldn't commit to something the had going on. Then I was reminded that I wasn't alone, and never was. There would always be some sort of family representation at all their endeavors because there always had been. We're a new family dynamic - not a new family. The people are the same. The support hasn't changed. We're not focusing on "filling a void", we're just loving on my kiddos as we always have, in the way they've always deserved.
Allowing my village to nurture and mold this family means that we all have a hand in their upbringing and it also required some humbling on my end. In order to truly embrace help (that I need) I have to be willing to accept the form that it comes in. Because we're in the same household, my parents have a constant presence with the the kids. So it's befitting that they'll have suggestions on discipline and at times will have to follow through with action. They'll have feedback regarding the kids' development, and they may even have advice for me (and boy do they ever ha!). In the end, extra helping hands, equals extra focus. Oddly enough, I found myself getting a little jealous that. If one of the babies chose a grandparent over me to put them down to sleep or to snuggle, Mama Bear was left feeling some kind of way. Isn't that crazy? But we do it. We need/want the help but conditionally. It's ok to stay here, but only if my babes still choose me first! I had to check myself. What difference did it make who put the kids to bed or who puts them in check when they're acting crazy. They are safe. They are receiving an outpouring of love and attention and that's the goal.
We never stop needing support. If you need help, find it -in the right places. Look for mentors, support groups, church, therapists, friends and family. Take care not to sabotage your sources of aid. People who truly love you, care for you, and have your best interest at heart, will show you. Sometimes we're too prideful to accept that gift. We don't adhere to words of caution because we feel like we're on the receiving end of unsolicited advice. We don't take hand-me-downs because we feel like it's degrading. We turn down a dinner invite because you don't care for the cooking (and you know you're hungry). These are extensions of love. Love from your village. When you think that you're alone, ask yourself, are you really? Or have you locked your village outside the gate? We all need help some times. It's ok to seek it. It's ok to accept it. And it's imperative to pass it on.