← Go back UrbanMom Goes Tribal: Raising your Family in the City
Published on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 by

The Villiage Mom: Senna lives in a remote part of South America. She’s part of an indigenous tribe, a first time mother, wife, and a full time mom. Her day begins rising with the sunset and nursing her little wee one, Zaria. Her husband, Mahid, has already set out for work barefoot, selling fruit to local markets in nearby village’s. With pebble stones catching in between is his toes, with each step, he proceeds on with his daily routine, a 2hr walk up the dirt road from their shanty town.

Her day takes shape with tending to her little one’s every need one again nursing, bathing and clothing. Senna gently places 7 month year old Zaria on her bare back, their skin to skin touching and wraps a cloth that secures their mother and daughter bond. She sets out to clean their modest shack made up of dirt floors, clay, wood and hay.

She then sets out to gather food from their natural outdoor environment, deep in the forest, in order to prepare for their evenings super for her new family. This will also replenish their supply of fresh fruit for her husband to sell at the markets.

Following their lush and ever abundant forest, Senna is greeted by other housewives gathering food, cutting wood, filling barrels up with sparkling water and placing them on the crown of their heads, for the journey back home.

Although their work is considered hard by outsiders, they perform their daily task with grace and elegance and with a strong sense of community.  They laugh and sing, and stomp their feet with rhythm and celebrate their women hood as a unified tribe.

The older children multi task for their elders, and walk the steep bushy trail, pushing the large sticks and tall grass away from their face, down to the moderate crystal clear body of water. There, they wash by hand, the tribes handmade cloths, clay pots, fresh picked  fruit, vegetables, while occasionally making their way over to the waterfall, placing their heads directly under fall cooling off in delight and gratefulness.

All in all, the female tribe of mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters and friends all work in unisons, in between dancing and playing amongst each other. For they know that to do this work alone would be quite a task. Together they are a unified system.

The day has been good to the people living in the village of Kenmore, the sun shining high, little bugs bugging them today was minimal, due to the change of weather. There is a harmony amongst the people and the land, for they end their day with their entire family eating a delicious meal of rice and fresh vegetables, bread and fruit and giving thanks to the earth for its gifts of nourishment and household supply.

As fantasized as it may seem, this is how I envision the perfect life of a mother in a small village.

As a mother of an adorable 20 month year old, (who melts my heart every time I hear Maaama!, or when I’m in the presence of her contagious giggle), I also happen to live in the heart of the city and am a Certified Professional Solution Focused Coach.

I don’t need to verify with statistics to say that many families residing in the city are quite often, hours, cities and countries away from their mother, father, siblings, their family tribe, all you have to do is just look in your own backyard and peep into your neighbor’s to know this.

This universal city fact, leaves parents without that extra needed family support. If there’s one thing we parents know, is that it truly takes a village to raise a child, am I right? So I ask you, as a parent, do you have a village?

I can’t quite help but wonder if there’s a way to adopt and create your very own village, much like the above story.

How would your family as a whole benefit if you had this type of support in place?

I know what you’re thinking…so how do I do it, in a city?

Start in your own backyard. Just as I used my imagination to create the above story of a unified village mom, I wonder how you can use your imagination to truly create your very own urban village for your family.

Albert Einstein considered one of the greatest minds said: “Imagination is a preview of what is possible”

With that in mind, below are a few tips that I discovered through my experience that can get you building:

TIP #1: Look in your own backyard for support
I recently met a couple who gathered trusted friends all who have children. What they do, is take turns watching each other’s kids for free. I asked them how it was going and it’s been good thus far. The children enjoy this because it’s with someone whom they know and are familiar with. This system can also help out financially such as cutting down on childcare fees. It’s also a good idea to match up with parents who share the same child raising, beliefs and values. It’s still always a good idea to do background checks.

TIP#2: Get out in your community
Another good experience I came across, was at a playgroup center. Being an oversized big kid with my sweet pea, rolling around and playing. I engaged in small talk with another mother, who too, wasn’t afraid to let her inner kid shine. We eventually got on one of my favorite topics…food, I love to cook and have even written my own vegetarian cookbook, before we knew it, we were both exchanging recipes for our little ones to enjoy. I tried her recipe of baked natural biscuits made with banana and oatmeal which both I and my daughter devoured!

TIP# 3 Be a catalyst for change
Having a background in the arts, I would love to see a community showcasing spiritual minded artist, performers, poets, singers, musicians, who can also bring their children to enjoy as well. This is something that I’m currently exploring. I would also love to be a part of the building of a community of affordable housing for artist and their families while they are working and developing on their positive artistic endeavors.

Is there something lacking in your community? Would you like to see more support in a certain area for parents, children or both?

Quite often, YOU are the answer! Who else better to either start or get involved in an endeavor that you are passionate about, especially if it’s for the greater good of others.

TIP #4: Share your innate gifts, wisdown and experience with other parents    
Do you have a particular expertise in something?  Or know some great remedies to getting kids to eat their greens?  I believe that we all come to earth with something to share with others. This combined with my belief that every child brings you, the parent, a gift of wisdom through your sacred experience with them. I know that I wouldn’t be writing this article if it wasn’t for my sweet pea daughter. She has inspired me in so many ways I’ve lost count! What is something that you can share with other parents that would enhance their lives or make parenting a little easier?

TIP#5: Have compassion for fellow parents
I recently read an article in a parent magazine, where a foster mom’s child was severely acting out in public and instead of asking the noticeable overwhelmed foster mother if she needed help, instead she was greeted with stares and shacking of heads quick to judge. When children act out, it’s often the parents that are blamed. However this is not always the case. The foster mother later found out, that the child had a severe condition and needed professional attention.

I too remember a time, when my little cute, precious daughter, after playing didn’t want to go back into her stroller, her arched back and vocals that could put a opera to shame…an older couple in their 80’s came over, touched her cheeks and looked my wee one square in her eyes and gently said “now listen to your mother”. She settled into her stroller and off we went. I must admit, I was a little embarrassed but that unexpected support in the form of compassion felt nice.

Whether it’s a friendly smile, a compliment, an opening of a door when a parent has a stroller or when their hands are full, all these acts of kindness and compassion can really boost a parents day.

As parents we know that it’s not always easy being a parent or an infant, and sometimes extra loving attention is just what’s required when both parent and child they have their moments.

TIP# 6: Recycle and contribute to your village
A dear friend of mine by the name of Cindy, has a daughter one year older than my sweet pea. Cindy, who by the way has a large heart, gifted me a large box of her daughter’s gently used items. Once my sweet pea grew out of them, I then passed on this kindness to other parents. In one particular case, I went to a play center and gave a bag of shoes that no longer fit, to the first mother I saw with her younger infant. She was so surprised and grateful for she needed shoes.

It takes many hands to build a community. However, who knew, that you can turn her urban backyard into your very own village!

– By Sharla Evans

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