Select Region
Helping Parents Make Better Decisions

Read about Fun Family Summer Activities

How I Learned to Embrace My ‘Village’ to Become a Better Parent

How I Learned to Embrace My ‘Village’ to Become a Better Parent


Why I am thankful for all the parenting advice I got along the way—from friends, family, and strangers alike.
 

Prior to being a mother I thought I knew all there was to know about raising a child. I promised myself that when I had children, my kids would never watch TV, stay up too late, eat junk food, scream in the supermarket, be fresh, or throw sand in the sandbox. I was so judgmental I didn’t even realize I was being so—until I had my first child.

As a mom, I’ve learned I don’t have all the answers, and there is no one right way to raise a child. I recognize that sometimes you can do everything right and your 2-year-old may still flop on the ground and pound his feet in a full-blown, screaming tantrum in the check-out line. I admit what I now profess to know only came about with the help of so many—mothers, friends, even strangers, who, in short, helped me be less judgmental of myself and of others.

I realize now the wisdom of “It takes a village…” and am thankful for all the women who helped me along the way. When my older son was going through a difficult time and I would start a sentence by saying, “Why can’t he just… (fill in the blank: eat like other children, go to mommy-and-me classes without crying, etc.),” they would say, “Because he’s just himself.” This is a mantra from the Village I continue to carry with me today.

Now that I’ve opened this Village door, I can see just how many people have played a positive, non-judgmental role. When my younger son decided getting up at 3:50am was a totally acceptable time to start his day, my family and friends would call with suggestions, encouragement, and empathy (and the occasional Cosmo when things got really rough!). They reminded me, too, that just as I can’t take credit for all of my kids’ successes (as much as I would like to!), I also can’t take the blame for all the things they sometimes do wrong. “Don’t make this about you and your parenting,” they would say. “Just help them through it." 

The Village cannot be a parochial or provincial place. On that note, I want to acknowledge all the strangers who have helped me out in airports, restaurants, and grocery stores over the years when I was having a hard time with my boys. I promise you and them that I will pay it forward. I will not give you a mean look when your child is screaming, I will not tell you I can’t understand why your child can’t happily share because mine always does. I will not look at my watch when I see your child is up past what I consider to be an acceptable bedtime. I will remember that I, too, have been there. I will remind myself what I have learned from so many others along the way.

I will help you, offer you a hand and listen; I will not judge you. I am part of your Village, too.


RELATED:

Finding a Nanny: Using a Service vs. a Website

Nanny, Babysitter & Au Pair Services Business Listings



Want more content like this? Receive our Scoop packed with great ideas

Related Articles:

Author: Heather Ouida is the co-founder of Mommybites, a site that offers nanny boards, online parenting education, and other services. She lives in New York City with her husband, two sons, and her pet turtle Squirtle. This essay first appeared on Mommybites.com. See More

Featured Listings:

As You Wish Parties

As You Wish Parties

Merrick, NY Whether your child is a toddler or a tween, As You Wish Parties will make your child's birthday party dreams come true. Our warm and welcoming staff ...

Music Institute of Long Island

Music Institute of Long Island

Manhasset, NY The Music Institute of Long Island (MILI) is a classical music school staffed by exceptional instructors from many of the most prestigious conservator...

Bach To Rock Mamaroneck

Bach To Rock Mamaroneck

Mamaroneck, NY Bach To Rock is the Music School for students of all ages. Bach to Roch’s unique method is based on the knowledge that students learn best when they j...

Port Sailing Camp

Port Sailing Camp

New Rochelle, NY Port Sailing School has offered our Junior Sailing Camp for over 12 years and now offers this great program in both our Port Washington (Nassau County...