This weekend I took my kids to a picnic in a public space. Actually, let me set the scene a little bit: it was a BBQ in a park that has a water feature. The kids and I play there often, but normally, there are not so many people.
My husband was at work, so I was flying solo. I always hate when my husband works weekends because taking two small kids to a “family” event alone is tough. It’s impossible to carry on a conversation while keeping the boys safe. Parenting alone, but in a group, feels very, very lonely and a little scary.
As you can imagine, getting Oliver (2.5 years) and Jack (1.5 years) to sit down to eat was impossible. Which, of course, also meant that I couldn’t eat because while one kid was jumping in the water, another was running towards the street. And then someone would stop me to chat. I felt like a chicken with my head cut off – running around out of control. It was glamorous.
However, every time I ran one direction, someone chased the kiddo who was running in the other direction.
Some of my friends’ older kids played with Oliver and Jack, which gave me a minute to sit back and enjoy watching them – instead of entertaining them.
One friend carried Jack to the car (and changed his clothes and diaper) when it was time to leave. Another friend loaded up food to go for me.
You guys. That picnic was not awful. It was hard, but nothing like my usual experiences.
The difference? My village. A lot of my friends were there. Not just any friends, but people who remember that the little age is hard. People who jump in and help without waiting for me to ask.
Sometimes we say cliche little phrases, like “it takes a village to raise a child,” but I totally believe in that one. Parenting is hard, but with an occasional extra set of hands, good role models, and an ear to listen; parenting is so much fun.
Thank you friends (near and far) for helping me on my parenting journey.