“It takes a village.”
That may be the most used phrase in motherhood, at least that I’ve heard. But one thing that never accompanies that statement is exactly WHAT that village looks like. I think that’s probably because every village looks different. For me, one of the most crucial parts of my village, are the friends who love my kids like their own.
I have incredible family close by that of course love my children. They help when they can, but with children of their own and full time jobs, it’s not always possible. If I didn’t have friends who deeply love my kids, my village would be incomplete.
I don’t appreciate these friends because they are cheaper than babysitters (although that is a HUGE plus).. I appreciate them because the peace I have knowing my children are being loved, nurtured, and cared for like I would, can’t be taken for granted. To know that if I need someone to watch my kids for a planned few hours or a last minute bind, is something that every mother can appreciate.
When we had our first son, we lived hours from family, all our friends were 30-45 minutes away, and no one was in our stage of life. We lived in one city and worked in another, so after having a baby, life drastically changed. We went on 2 dates in 8 months because our village was non-existent. We had great neighbors, and one of which took our son for 1 of those 2 dates. But we didn’t have any of the deep relationships that we have now. That was a hard season. To have a newborn with few deep friendships in the same city, wasn’t ideal. It wasn’t terrible, but now that I have those friends in my village, I realize what I was missing.
To the friends who love my kids like your own: THANK YOU. Thank you for offering to take my kids when you know I need a break. Thank you for showing up to grab my kids when I’m puking non-stop in my first trimester and my kids need someone to feed them. Thank you for picking my kids up from school when I’m running late or out of town. Thank you for “demanding” I bring my kids over so I can go get a pedicure. Alone. Thank you for loving my kids enough to discipline them when they are with you; to hold them to the same standard I do. Thank you for making your love for them so apparent that they respond to that correction in a way that tells me, they feel loved.. and also know they better listen up! Thank you for giving me an ACTUAL break when you take my kids because I have no question they are being loved on, by you and your own kids.
I used to tell my friends “no” when they offered to take my kids. I didn’t need help. No matter if I was dying inside or great, I always said no. Help was a sign of weakness, and if I couldn’t handle my own kids, why the heck was I a mom? Thanks for the offer, but my pride won’t let me take you up on it. Then I had a horrible first trimester with my 3rd baby and had no choice. I was so sick that I was almost passing out and couldn’t say no if I wanted to. I didn’t even know who had my kids a few different times because my husband set it up and shipped them off without me knowing.. because my head was in the toilet. And you know what.. not a single one of those friends has ever said, “You owe me because..” Not. A. Single. One. Every friend has said they didn’t think twice and would do it again. And every friend has let me do the same for them.
I once heard someone say, “Don’t steal my blessing.” I have loved that phrase since I heard it. Don’t let my pride steal the blessing you are trying to give me. If you, my friend, want to take my kid to bless me with alone time or a free babysitter while I work – LET YOU. And if I want to do the same for you – LET ME. Don’t steal my blessing for you, and I won’t steal yours for me. It takes vulnerability. It takes trust. And it takes time to make those friendships. But once you have them, never let them go. Never take for granted those friends who love your kids like their own.
I have learned that others loving my kids like their own is possible, because I love theirs like my own. When I offer to take your kids, it’s because I WANT to. It is because we have adopted your child into our family and will treat them like one of our own until you get them back. If I didn’t feel that way.. I wouldn’t offer 😉
So to the friends who love my kids like your own: you are amazing. You are a life saver. You are a sanity saver, a marriage saver, and a job saver. You are a stress relief, a blessing, and a gift I thank God for every day. You are the difference in who I am as a mother and a wife, because you allow me to the time to get things done or maybe to do nothing, when I need it most. You are the friends who answer a resounding “yes!” when I ask for help before you ever even think twice if having my kids will interrupt your day and schedule. You are my village, and I can never thank you enough for loving my kids so well.