It’s a sad day in our family today.
Janet is leaving.
Who you ask?
Yes, I know. I haven’t mentioned her here before so don’t worry, you haven’t missing anything.
I guess I haven’t told you about Janet before because of that silly mother-guilt thing. Plus, if I’m honest, I’m a little bit ashamed to admit that my family needs Janet.
Like most mums, I want you to think that I’m handling everything swimmingly and have it all together.
On the surface it may even often look that way.
But I don’t.
No mum does.
We all need a village to help us raise our children.
And the village is just as much needed today, in modern society, than it was a hundred or so years ago. Actually, I really believe it’s needed more.
So, to fill you in, Janet is the leader in the Over Two’s room at our local Early Learning Centre.
She was there on the very first day 3.5 years ago when the Centre opened it’s doors and has earnt her reputation as the most respected carer.
Back in 2011 it was my eldest son who was attending two sessions a week from the age of two. I was pregnant with my second son, and needed some uninterrupted time to work on my business, plus a little bit of time now and then to breathe, without a child in my arms.
These days, my second child attends the Centre and he is absolutely in LOVE with Janet.
When we walk into the Centre he looks up to the wall with photos of all the carers and points out Janet first and smiles.
Most days he wants to take something special in “just to show Janet.”
At pick up time when I ask him how his day was, he always replies “Good. I play with Janet.”
In fact, he goes on and on about Janet so much that Master Five (who also loves Janet) chips in with “Oh silly! You can’t play with Janet all the time! You’re supposed to play with the other children too!”
Of course, the other workers at the Centre are beyond fabulous too, but Janet has a special place in our family’s heart.
Like many modern mums without family or even extended family close-by, our Early Learning Centre is a very important part of my “Village”.
It was my saving grace when I returned to town two weeks after having a caesarian section with my then two year old and newborn baby (mums here have to leave town for six weeks to have their babies as there are no birthing facilities in town, or for several hundred kilometres actually!). With no family here to help, it was a super tough time and the Centre was my lifeline.
The quality of care at the Centre is top notch and my boys have always been happy to go. This alone has made it SO much easier for me to send them and has helped tone down my own mother-guilt of using day care.
I’m also fortunate to live in a small town where friends look out for each other.
Here’s an example how….
Late last year when my hubby was out of town on a cricket trip Master Two was very sick and needed to go to the hospital, at 10:30pm on a Saturday night. Master Five was sound asleep in his bed and I didn’t want to disturb him as he’d had a big day himself. So I sent a quick SOS text message to some friends and within five minutes, I had a friend at the door to watch over Master Five while I did the late-night hospital dash.
That’s a Village.
And yes, it is still needed today, even with most mums raising their families in suburbia.
What does YOUR Village look like?
Family? Extended family? Friends? Child Care? Church? Play Group? Gym creche? A regular babysitter? An Au Pair? Cleaner? All of these?
Whatever it is, I just want you to embrace your Village, rely on it, nurture it and never feel guilty or ashamed about needing it!
Because that old saying is so damn true.
It DOES take a village to raise a child.
And if you don’t have family (who are ‘willing to help’) living close by, you need to go out there and find your Village.
The health and happiness of you, your partner and your kids relies on you finding your Village.
But back to Janet…..
After myself and my husband, she would be the next person who knows our children the best.
She cares for them like they are her own.
So yes, it is a sad day in our family today. But rather than be sad, I’m going to choose to be grateful instead.
Grateful that for the past 3.5 years, I have been beyond blessed to have Janet help me raise my young boys into delightful, happy and confident children.
And for that reason alone, I will be forever thankful.
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