In the journey of motherhood, I’ve realized how vital it is to have a supportive “village” around you. A community that uplifts, empathizes, and guides you through the ups and downs of parenting.
Now, building out this village isn’t an overnight task. It takes time, patience, and conscious effort. We’ll have to identify who’s already in your village and how to invite new folks to fill int the gaps.
Imagine an intentional, supportive village that’s a blessing in your life, a pillar of strength when you need it most.
This Episode is For You If:
You have difficulty asking for help or accepting assistance from others
You want to learn about the role of belief systems in shaping our identities
You’re a curious stay-at-home mom re-entering the workforce
You find more comfort in venting anonymously in online forums rather than sharing your struggles with friends or family
Click HERE to watch this video to learn The 3 Things to Avoid When Reading Self-Help Books
Listen to the Full Episode:
Welcome to the Mom On Purpose Podcast. I’m Lara Johnson and I’m here to teach you how to get out of your funk, be in a better mood, play more with your kids, manage your home better, get your to-do list done and live your life on purpose. With my proven method, this is possible for you, and I’ll show you how. You’re not alone anymore. We’re in this together. Hi, welcome to the Mom On Purpose Podcast again. It’s always fun to sit and to spend some time with you and I hope that you feel my love for you as much as I feel your love as you’re listening to this. So sometimes my brain offers questions. They’re just kind of fun things that I like to chew on as I’m going about my day and the monotony of life. I like to chew on these questions because it adds some flavor to my days. But the one that I’ve been chewing on this last week is who’s in your village, and I see this come up a lot in Facebook groups and my clients. I’ve seen and experienced it in the past and so it was kind of fun to be able to chew on this right now to examine who’s in my village and how I’ve built that out, because we hear the phrase all the time it takes a village. When we’re talking about raising kids, it takes a village. But what if you don’t have a village? Then what and that’s a really hard reality to consider is, if it takes a village but you don’t have one, what are you left with? So that’s why I wanted to start this episode with you today is to consider who’s in your village. So you’ll know this episode is for you is if you feel like you don’t have any friends like really connected friends, mom friends, people that don’t have kids it doesn’t really matter the demographic but that people you can’t really confide in, and a lot of that comes from you’re just very busy and you start going about your day and you realize you kind of look up and you realize everybody is doing their own thing and you don’t have anybody that you can connect with. You’ll also know this episode is for you is if you lean more on strangers on the internet than you do on your own friends, where you don’t feel like you can really be candid about the struggles that you have in your life and so you’ll find you vent or find more solace as an anonymous post in a Facebook group, then you do, being vulnerable with the people in your life, friends or family, I guess. You’ll also know that this episode is for you is if you want to be the only person raising your kids and you feel like you’ve gotten to this point where you’ve wanted to be a mom for so long, so you should be liking it more than maybe you are right now, and that you want to be that that one person raising them that they come to. Also, if you have an identity of being a strong and capable woman and you hate asking for help where it’s so horribly uncomfortable, you have no issues giving help, though. So, in my experience, a lot of the beliefs that we enter motherhood with will come back and kick us in our motherhood butt, and that’s really hard to do. It’s really hard to like come to terms with that, okay, so I’m going to share some of the beliefs that I took into motherhood and why these came back and bit me in my motherhood butt, because this is very common to have this experience, and I want you, as I’m talking about these, to kind of take inventory of which one you resonate with, and this is not a full, comprehensive list, so if these don’t resonate with you, find the ones that do, and what will happen is, as you’re exploring these beliefs that you have about yourself, it doesn’t mean they’re the wrong beliefs, it doesn’t mean that you have to let them go, because sometimes we use some of these beliefs against ourselves and it can be to our detriment. Okay, so the first one is I have a really strong identity as being a hard worker. So, growing up, I grew up behind a lawnmower. I started mowing lawns when I was probably nine years old and that’s what we did to make money as kids, in addition to having a paper route where I was getting up very early, way earlier than I do now. That’s real as a very young child, and I would go out and throw papers. You know, I remember. If you ever did this yourself, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Maybe some of you are too young, but we had like these carrying cases that went over our shoulder. They were like these canvas packs, and we put them all you know in front. We’d line up all the papers we had rolled and put into bags or rubber band in the front and in the back, and then you’d go start walking around the neighborhood. I grew up in an area where there were a lot of hills. So, I was walking around I was a pretty young kid by myself in the early mornings throwing these papers, and every once in a while, we got extra lucky where my parents would wake up, especially in the winters. It was always a benefit. They would wake up and they would drive us around, which meant that our job was to open the door and jump out of the car while it was still slowly rolling, and it was freezing cold. So, you were sweating. But then my poor mom was freezing cold sitting in the car, but the door is always, you know, popping open. So, she had her big like she had a big down jacket. It was this cream color. If she were listening to this she would laugh. She knows exactly what jacket she’s talking about. But all of this built this identity that I am a really hard worker, which you know came in with my next piece of identity, which I was as like Kelly Clarkson, saying, like I’m mis-independent, I’m mis-self-sufficient, like I was going to do things on my own. I always had, I always will. I never accept, you know, financial help from other people. I find a way to pay for things on my own. Like that is such an important part of my identity. But what happened was, with these two identities, I stopped asking for help like or I never even started in the first place. When I became a mom, I knew I was going to work really hard. I was going to do it all, and because I was so independent and so self-sufficient, because that was such an integral part and something I was so proud of, that if I were to ask for help then I could not be self-sufficient. If I were to ask for help, then clearly, I must not have been a hard enough worker and I should just work harder. So, suddenly these beliefs you know, when I got into motherhood they started really conflicting for a long time, because there were people in my life that wanted to help me but I would never have acknowledged that help, let alone accepted that help, and when help was given, it was horribly uncomfortable for me. So, those were the first two things that really kicked me in my motherhood butt, and I want you to consider that for yourself. If you have an identity as being a really hard worker, if you like being independent, being self-sufficient, is that coming into play now when you are considering your village and your community that you’ve built in order to support yourself and your family. So, the next one that really kicked me in my motherhood butt was that I promised I would always be there for my kids. I have an incredible mother. She was the primary caregiver you know, traditionally called the stay-at-home mom. I don’t love that phrase because they’re always a mom. I feel like it doesn’t really incorporate everything that we do as mothers. So, she was the primary caregiver for a long time and then she, I think when I was in the ninth grade, decided to go back to work. She often worked evenings when we were younger, or she worked night shifts and sleep during the day when we were at school. I can’t imagine how challenging that was for her. But when I was in the ninth grade, I think my youngest I don’t remember my oldest sibling I’ve got one six years older than me and then an older brother, then a younger brother, younger sister, and my youngest sister, I think, was in the second grade and that’s when she went back to work full time and she became a flight attendant. She had been by trade a nurse and left that industry for a while and became a flight attendant and she was based in a different state at the time and I had promised myself that I would always be there for my kids and, looking back, I can’t even imagine how hard that was for her as a mom and wanting to be there for her kids and doing what she felt was important to help provide for us financially and at the same time, I vowed never to do something like that, that I would be the one to raise my kids. So, that was the belief I took into motherhood and it came back and kicked me in the butt when I realized one I’m not totally happy when I am the primary full time caregiver of them all the time and I realized very quickly I needed some kind of part-time job and have always worked from home for the most part. But in addition to that, I would always be there for my kids, which meant I was always putting their needs before mine and starting to drown and drain my reserves to a very unhealthy level. And then again, you know, going back to the other beliefs, I would never ask for help when I was in that spot. So, it became this really weird vicious cycle where I didn’t want anybody to be in my village because I was going to be there for my kids. The other thing is that I wanted to be happy for others, I reckon, is that when I was having a hard time, it would worry other people, and that was very challenging for me because I didn’t want other people to worry, because I wanted to be happy. I wanted them to be happy. And that really came and kicked me in the butt when I was dealing with things like postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, and even during my pregnancy, where I was dealing with a lot of those things, and I didn’t talk about them because I didn’t want to worry other people. It’s very crazy, like when I say this out loud, it makes no sense. And the crazy thing about the beliefs that we have is when we really start looking at them logically, they don’t make sense, but it doesn’t change the fact that we’re still in it with these beliefs and we’re still doing some of these strange behaviors, even when it doesn’t make sense. Okay, so that was another thing that I recognized for myself that bit me in my motherhood butt was that I would never talk about the struggles that I was having, even with my own husband, because I didn’t want him to worry. And then that leads to the last one is since I was so strong and independent and a naturally happy person, I didn’t want people to see me struggling, because struggling was a sign of weakness. And it’s really interesting when I think about that belief that struggling is a sign of weakness. I think that really comes into play when and not even weakness, but, like in my own brain I had put, like struggling meant you didn’t have enough faith, because we would learn in church about all the amazing blessings that come through trials and people accepting these struggles and coming through better on the other side. But do you see how, like it starts to like really mess with your mind a little bit, because you’re like, okay, but hey, I’m actually struggling, so what do I do? Like it would get you in like these really weird funks. We’re like, okay, clearly I must not have enough faith, and so you’d start praying harder and you start reading more and of your scriptures and you start doing all these things because if you’re struggling, then it doesn’t mean you have faith and so don’t let anybody know that because you don’t. And then if you did share that sometimes people would then preach to you or try and help your faith because they feel that that was the answer too, and so that’s where that really kicked me in my motherhood butt as well. It got to where it was extremely bad you know, postpartum depression, anxiety when my second was about eight months old, and I’m actually really excited because I’m doing an interview with a perinatal therapist. She specializes in pregnant women and postpartum women. That’s in a couple weeks, and so I’m really excited for you to be able to listen to that, but because I’m so passionate about that, especially, you know, coming out of this pregnancy again. But when I really got bad and saw a therapist for the very first time my daughter, my second baby, was about eight months old and I remember that was one of the bravest things still to this day that I’ve ever done was to admit that I was not okay. And I went and I had never met anybody that had talked to a therapist that I knew of, and I scheduled an appointment for myself and I told my husband and he was genuinely confused I’m like why I needed a therapist again, because I never told anybody I was struggling and I went into that and so she and I started talking and she said, who do you call when you’re having a bad day? I was confused by the question. I was like what do you mean? She’s like it’s pretty straightforward, like who do you call when you’re having a bad day? And then I was completely speechless because I didn’t have an answer. I had never called someone when I was having a bad day, and this was the time before. You know, Facebook groups were a thing and there definitely weren’t like anonymous posts and I never would have posted in a Facebook group even. And I was like I didn’t have an answer. And so, at that point that was like one of the most life-changing questions for me, because I realized it does take a village and right now I don’t have anyone in my village, and it wasn’t because there weren’t people available, it was because I had blocked them from ever coming into my village because of the beliefs I had about myself. So, that’s the first shift that I want you to think about is, if you don’t feel like you have people in your village right now, who could you possibly be blocking because you don’t want to be vulnerable to that person? And that’s very different than like yeah, I’m specifically creating a boundary because this family member is toxic. That’s a very different conversation I’m talking about because of the beliefs that you have, that you need to be strong and you’re a hard worker and you should do this on your own that you’re not allowing people to come in and love you when they’re available to be there and to love you. So, that’s the first thing that I really want you to just think about is who could you be blocking from being part of your village? So, the next thing when we think about our village and our community that we want to build, it’s important to think about the different pieces of it all coming together like a puzzle, and this isn’t a comprehensive list, but I want you to think about this and think about other pieces of your village that may need to be included in this that maybe I haven’t listed out. Okay, so I have five different categories and if you have a pen or if you can make a note of this on your phone, it will be really helpful to see all of these categories written out for yourself and to consider how people may fit into these, because I think so often when we think about our village, we think about friends, but it goes so far beyond that, and that’s where I want you to really think about for yourself. The other thing, before I go into these five categories, is to remember that this doesn’t happen overnight. This has consciously taken me about eight years to build out. There are pieces that have changed. There’s self-work that I’ve needed to do in order to allow people to come in. There are boundaries that have to be created. All of that is okay. You can still create a pretty consistent village very quickly, and this is something that I’ve done while praying and asking for people to be brought to me. That can be part of that village, and so this has still been, consciously, that I built over the last eight years, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of integral parts of these that were created very quickly. So, it’s kind of both that it’ll happen faster than you think it will and it will take time to build out. Both of those things can be true. So, the five parts of your village to consider are first, the social, second, the mental and emotional. The third is your physical. Your fourth, I’m going to call it the loving, the loving piece of it and then the fifth is child rearing. Okay, so I’m going to talk about each of these very briefly, but I want you to brainstorm people that currently are or that you would want to bring into these different components of your village. So, just like a village has all different trades that make the village work, you’ve got the blacksmith. There’s lots of pieces. I’m not going to go through all of them. You don’t, we don’t need to. But when I think about the social, this is where I think about social media and having healthy relationships or boundaries around social media. That’s a good thing to have. I think so often social media gets a really bad rap. But oh my gosh, I’ve created so many amazing relationships with really incredible people on social media and that’s been really fun for me to do. There are people that I have never met in person before that we’re very much part of each other’s village. That doesn’t mean I talk to them all the time, but that does mean that I know they care about me, and they fulfill that social aspect of my village. The other is thinking about friends, becoming friends with family members or cousins or being like having a relationship with co-workers or colleagues or neighbors. All of that fulfills that social aspect of your village. It gives you and even as an introvert, you might find that you enjoy a one-on-one lunch with someone once in a while. So, the next one is your mental and emotional and I think this is very important when you’re looking at a doctor that you feel comfortable talking about your mental health with, that can prescribe medication. It might be a psychologist, it might be a therapist, it might be a family practice. All of those things it’s important to recognize that comes into play. Another thing might be a coach, like myself, where you’re working on goals and progression things and really learning some skills in those areas around your mental and emotional well-being. If you feel mentally well and are thriving right now, the next thing to consider is if there’s a program that you want to do in order to learn. Maybe that’s going back to school, maybe it’s something some other trades program, whatever it may be a hobby that helps with your mental and emotional well-being. That all is part of your village you can also look at like energy workers or taking breath work classes or having a specific place that you like to go for yoga. You’re also fulfilling that emotional, mental part of you which bleeds a little bit into the physical. I think the physical part of your village is really unique in the sense that it can be like an exercise partner or like a physical trainer of some sort. It can also be like what physical aspect of your village do you need to build out to help you in your home? It might be having a handyman or woman that you have a relationship with. I will tell you; our HVAC people are amazing. They’re a critical part of our village. My husband and I had to call him out again the other day we’re on the verge of maybe needing a new AC, but we’ve kind of been babying it along. They’ve come out like four times in the last couple months and my husband, and I were just saying like, oh my gosh, we are so grateful, we have a good relationship with them, and we trust them. It’s Tana and Victoria. They’re amazing. We just know them on a first name basis. We could like hang out and have dinner together with them because they are such a critical part of our village in that aspect. Another thing to consider is again, like a doctor, that you feel heard and seen by a hairdresser that you love going to. I mentioned that’s a critical part of your village because my hairdresser that I’ve seen for the last 15 years just retired, I’ve had to build out a new relationship with someone as part of my village and that’s been very uncomfortable for me. I’m a grown up. Sometimes I have to do grown up things. I don’t always like it and then also like even thinking about house cleaners or somebody to help you in your yard or you know like. There are so many aspects of it. But having those already in place is really important so that when something happens in that part of your village you know who to reach out to. I think having even just like a community, a neighborhood, a church community where you can even ask for those recommendations, is also integral as part of your village. So, the next one is having some kind of a piece or aspect of your village. That’s very loving and I find that this feels a little bit different than the social aspect of it. At some point I will bring her on I’m going to call her out, but my dear friend Amy, she is one of the most incredible people I know. I absolutely love and adore her, and so she and I met at coach training. I basically jumped her when we got off of the plane. I can’t remember if I shared this story, but it was not one of my finest moments because I’m very socially awkward in person and I eavesdropped and listened to her conversation. She was sitting behind me on a flight as we’re going down to coach training and I realized and I heard her saying she’s going down for this training to become a live coach and so I’m like peeking through the seats to see if I could see her well enough to figure out what she looks like. So, when I got off the plane, I could ask her why did I not just stand up and ask, like turn around and ask her in the moment, or even when we stood up at the end of the plane ride? No, like I waited at the end of the long hallway. And when she like came around the corner it’s like creepily standing there and jumped out after she wanted to share an Uber. And we’ve been best friends ever since. So, she and I regularly talk and coach each other and we’re there for each other. And what I really have found that she is an integral part of my village because, no matter what, she sees and hears me and I can present my struggles and my wins without there ever being judgment or jealousy or enviousness, and she feels the same way, even though we’re in different phases and different age groups right now in our lives. The fact that we come together in a very loving way, that no matter what we can talk about the hard things, we can talk about the amazing, beautiful things, and she sees and hears that, that’s an example of like what the loving piece of your village, who in your life can really see and hear you and can present that in such a loving way, and that may or may not be a spouse, of course my spouse fulfills that too. I just want to use the example of Amy, your family members. It may also be your friends, where you have a social aspect, and they fulfill a loving part. They can fulfill multiple pieces within your village. So then, the last one that I’ll mention is when it comes to child rearing. Sometimes when because a lot of us have that belief I’m like I’ve always wanted to be a mom, I want to be the one raising my kids. I need to be there for them, and sometimes people do use childcare and it’s a necessity and they are uncomfortable with it and that’s a I want to, you know, create a very safe place that, like I’m not talking about like you have to be a stay at home mom in order to fulfill these things. But what I will say with all of this is that the beliefs that I had that I was going to be the one to raise my kids kept me from fulfilling my purpose for a very long time, Because what I didn’t realize was that when we look back in history, almost always there is a village in a community that are helping to raise each other’s children. That has always been part of our history as women, and when we get to the belief and when we get stuck in that mindset that we’re the one raising our kids, we’re actually blocking off our children from having amazing opportunities to learn and grow and be loved by other secure, trustworthy adults, and that is really. That was a really big shift for me. So some of the things that I wanted to mention is that, like when we are looking at child rearing, it’s making sure we have a really great relationship with their dentist, having a great relationship with their doctor, having a great relationship with the people that care, give them in addition to your own family, like you or your spouse. So even teachers are an integral part or can be partners in that child rearing. But what I will say was that the biggest shift for me that came in this area like I was okay with someone temporarily watching it while I went on a date or having someone else watch my children while I went to the grocery store, or you know think like small windows. But I will tell you that one of the hardest lessons for me was needing to hire a part-time nanny this year and it sounds so bougie to even say that it like makes my skin crawl, even though she is like the most amazing woman. But what I realized well, like that I have always wanted to like justify, like why I need her and also why we hired her was one because I do work within the home and I am on client calls and so, even though I’ve always worked from home, it’s been during naps and early in the morning and late at night, but I got to the point where I was ready to do some work calls during the day and I want to be present for my clients and not be bouncing a baby at the same time. So that was one reason. The other is we had some very big struggles within our home that I’ve talked about in the past, where, for safety reasons, two adults needed to be in the house at all times and I had to get to the point where I had to hire someone to come in and help me raise my kids and that was so horribly uncomfortable for me and I will tell you that now, being on this other side of things, she is worth giving up anything to have Like. There are things you know, we drive an older car, we don’t go on a lot of big vacations, we I don’t shop a lot, I don’t dye my hair All of those things are temporarily set aside because I choose to hire a part-time nanny instead, and that was a choice that I made to bring somebody in to help me raise my children. And the part that I guess was most surprising to me was that when I came into it, I realized that I wanted to find someone that’s obsessed with my kids just as much as I am, meaning like that they love and want to squeeze them and kiss them, and it’s been so fun being able to share that with someone else. If you had told me you know, even a year ago, that that would be the case, I wouldn’t have believed you. But the biggest shift I’ve realized was that I like to share my kids love. They have so much of it to go around and it doesn’t take away for the love that they have for me, it doesn’t take away from my ability to connect and to share that with them, but that they have such a gift and their love is multiplied and expounded and they get to have more loving adults in their life that are rooting for them, that are seeing their gifts and able to encourage and inspire them More, not more, just like in addition to me, and that’s a huge blessing for them and a huge blessing for me. So, I wanted to mention that, just because I think there can be such a negative stigma around somebody else helping you raise your children. This isn’t just because we have a part-time nanny. You can see this within the teachers that your children have. When you have a teacher that really sees and loves your kids, that’s gold. Same thing with, like, a childcare provider that may even be a grandparent that you’re letting your, it’s like you’re opening and like lowering your vulnerability wall and letting them into your home to help with some things. Okay, all of those things can happen and as you start to do that, that’s where your children will benefit from having multiple people that love and care about them, and it’s fun being able to share that love and excitement with them. And I am so grateful that we have been able to take that leap this year because it’s not only opened us up to love her and her to love us. Her family lives right next door to her parents and siblings and so I get to love them, and they call. You know, next door that’s Aunt Stephanie, and her daughter, Lexi, is the one that Annie’s for us, and so my children are my babies, just as much kissed by Aunt Stephanie and Lexi and her siblings, and they are by our own family. And it is such a joy that I have always missed out on being able to share all the exciting things of motherhood with someone else because I had blocked so many people out of my village for so long because of the beliefs that I have. So that’s my invitation for you is to go, think about all of the people within your village based on these five areas the social, the mental and emotional, physical, the loving and the childrearing and when you really build out those pieces of your village, chances are you already have some pieces of that village built out. Now you can consciously think about where are the gaps and where do I want to build out these areas. It will be a huge blessing in your life to be able to see and accept and allow them to come into your space and you into theirs. So have a wonderful week. Thank you for listening. Please share, review and subscribe to this podcast so that together we can live life on purpose.