Parenting is a massive job. In current Western socio-economic conditions it has become easy to take parenting struggles as personal failure. Pretty much everyone has heard the saying it takes a village to raise a child yet most parents do it with very little daily, or even weekly, support. Even though we may have heard the saying it can be a bit elusive to connect with what it really means and so struggle on in parenting circumstances that are in many ways inhuman. Yes inhuman!
Human beings are tribal or clan based creatures. All of us. And not that long ago! Let’s just think about the modern man era for a moment, Homo sapiens, appearing on the scene 195,000 years ago. You can check that out here
Now let’s do some scaling with that in terms of when we stopped living in more connected communities to raise children. It was the Industrial Revolution that initiated work disrupting family life and 1780 AD is a well documented figure in choosing ‘a year’ to mark this. That is only 236 years ago, which is 0.1% of the entire time of the modern era. So, for 99.9% of the time that Homo Sapiens have been raising families, parenting has happened in the context of active, connected, supportive other adults. We are still genetically blueprinted for this!
If we compress the entire 195,000 years into one hour, yes, once around the clock face, it has only been in the final couple of seconds that we have been living in nuclear families and often parenting without our clan or tribe. So if you struggle as a parent, please don’t feel bad about yourself, we live in a society that is out-of-kilter with our humanness. Parenting was never meant to be a job that two people alone could do. Or, even harder . . . solo! Congratulate yourself for how well you are doing in a system that is a mismatch for the human blueprint and then go about building stronger connections. However it may look for you, parenting is easier and children thrive better when supported by others.
I once came across a definition I liked “An under-privileged child is one who can’t name 12 caring adults”. It’s not always possible to be surrounded by family but it is possible to build a family of friends . . . community of caring.