Bunmi Laditan’s wildly popular article ‘I Miss the Village,’ will resonate with every mother. In a society that has unprecedented means of staying connected via technology, mothers still remain unbelievably isolated, raising their children within the confines of a home with dead-bolted doors and gated yards that can become suffocating due to lack of connection with other women, mothers and their children.
‘I miss the village I never had,’ says author Bunmi Laditan in her piece published in The Huffington Post. Feeling the loss of a village of mothers who rely on each other for companionship and emotional support, Bunmi laments the lack of conversation with her neighbors and their children playing together, in exchange for ‘locked front doors, blinking devices and afternoons on the floor playing one-on-one with our little ones.’ Bunmi, author of The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting who has a new book, Confessions of a Domestic Failure due out in November, wishes for a life where mothers live side by side; washing, laughing, kneading bread and listening to the light and darkness of life, ‘because the truth is, we need each other,’ she says.
Within her vision, the older children would play together in the forest, while the babies stayed with their mothers, at their feet, breasts, on their backs or in their arms, while the women went about their ‘sacred work.’ At mealtimes, everyone would eat together on long tables, the children recounting stories of adventure as they enthusiastically ate their homemade food. All the mothers would have a true knowledge of each of the children, ‘of the soul that flickers behind their eyes,’ she says.
Rejecting the dream of material wealth; more money, a bigger house and car, the village creates the ‘estate’ to build on, to cherish and nurture. It’s about sisterhood, having each other’s back and supporting one another throughout the highs and lows of our parental journey.
If one mother is in need of rest, it can be taken, with multiple caretakers at your fingertips. Need to cry? Do so and have your tears swept up by their blanket of caring. Share in those joyous times. The mothers would: ‘love you, not with the sappy love of greetings cards, but with an appreciative love that has full knowledge of how your colors add to our patchwork.’
As the village of mothers grows old, the rituals would remain; the bread kneading, tea drinking and stories shared. Grandchildren now running around. There’s a safety, a sense of belonging and a contentedness that comes from this existence.
The essence of Bunmi’s village – firm friendship – can be obtained. It’s about taking the first step and inviting the mother with her child on the swing you’ve seen a couple of times before, round for coffee. It’s messaging friends and organizing some baby sensory, or a meal out in the evening without the babies. It’s listening, empathizing, talking, and ultimately, sharing your life with others. It’s good for your mind and body – studies have shown that social support can reduce the risk of depression, protect against dementia and lower blood pressure.
As Maya Angelou said: ‘Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.’ Do you miss the village you never had?
Second image via Wikimedia Commons