I don’t often require childcare for my children but, when I do, I know where to find it. If I’m desperate (like the time my friend called to tell me she was in labour and I needed to get to her house right away) I know who I can call. If I need help folding laundry, I know who to ask. I know who would be willing and able to bring my family a meal if I was sick and unable to cook. I even put out a request recently to one of my local groups to help support a friend in her business and the result was absolutely incredible! I have built some pretty amazing friendships in this area and have never had to feel like I’m in this battle journey of motherhood alone.
The value of support has really hit home this last week for two reasons: First, it occurred to me that we could be moving as soon as 2-3 weeks; and second, a mom posted in a local group about how she didn’t feel like she had the support and encouragement she needs. (The group really stepped up with such an accepting and non-judgemental attitude that I believe this wonderful Mama found the love and support she was missing.)
I know that many of my friendships will stay strong even after I move away but things will change. They physically will not be able to support me in the same way (and I won’t be able to support them in the same way either, which is an even harder thought!). There is something to be said for having a neighbor nearby that you can count on.
Though I’m a little nervous about reaching out and developing a whole new local support system, I need to make it a priority.
A local support community isn’t something that just happens. Bake a pie, head over to your neighbors’ house and introduce yourself. Take some time to get to know them and learn what’s important to them. Then offer help with no expectations that they will return the favour because, in most cases, they won’t. And that’s okay. Because most people don’t even understand what community is anymore. If you want community, you need to show those around you what a community is. Community is about going the extra mile to make someone else’s life easier. Keep doing that and you’ll eventually stumble upon someone with the same mindset. It takes time and you may frequently need to step out of your comfort zone. But it will be worth it. And for those of us who are not the type of personality to throw a community BBQ, we can build it up one person at a time.
I read a lot of books about the Amish lifestyle and one of the most admirable things is their sense of community. The women have quilting bees and if someone’s barn burns down, the community gets together and has a barn raising. What have you done to show those around you the value of community? Any tips for me? Also, do you know who would come out to help when you need a barn raising?