“Extraordinary and Terrifying” – Motherhood and the need for a new village

“I do a lot of this professionally. I read about parenting, I read about education, I read about child development, and its still really hard…We’ve moved away from this village society that supports each other to, you know, maybe you partner can take off a couple weeks to help with the baby or you mom lives nearby. I was very lucky to have both.

The biggest challenge is just learning that our society puts the burden on individual families to handle this on their own and I would love to see us moving way from that more.”

Last year, I had the opportunity speak to Rose Wood on her podcast – since renamed The Smart Parent – about the world of early childhood policy and my experience in early motherhood. I did this interview when baby K was 10 weeks old (you can hear him cry in the background at one point!). Listening to it a year later is a bit like opening up a time capsule to a really stressful time – I actually wasn’t even back to work yet when this was recorded.

A year later, my remarks still seem pretty spot on. Motherhood continues to be “extraordinary and terrifying,” and we make it through parenting every day thanks to an amazing network of loved ones who contribute as “para-parents” in K’s life. I still struggle to ask for help – but I think I’ve gotten better! – and now we’re in the position to start “paying forward” the help that we got.

And I have never been more fired up about the need to re-conceptualize extended family engagement in our policies and every day life to ensure families take advantage of every resource available as they dive into this wonderful adventure of raising the next generation.

You can listen to the podcast here. A happy mother’s day to all honoring the amazing women and para-parents in your lives, regardless of their official title!


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