I have always called myself a bit of a hippie. I believe in the saying “it takes a village” in more ways than just child-raising. I believe in farming together, the building of community, homeschool, and sharing resources *voluntarily* that you have to spare.
I am the type of person who cringes when the mom of my stepkids hates me or doesn’t get along with me (I’ve been a stepmom twice so no, I’m not talking about anyone in particular), or doesn’t want to be friends. Yes, ::gasp:: I even want to be friends with my stepkids’ biological mother! A village means more than just you and your partner and friends when you are part of a stepfamily. It can sometimes mean the ex and their new partner, sometimes just the ex, sometimes only their partner wants to communicate (which isn’t as helpful, not being an “official” parent, but still kind of them). Sometimes there is radio silence between the two households.
My dream? I would love to live in a small community someday and have all the extended family around, steps included, and live harmoniously with each other and nature. Yes, that kind of hippie. We would find a good amount of land somewhere in a right to farm community where we could pick up maybe ten acres, and build little houses all over it. I’d like to have a central building with a large kitchen and dining room for “family” meals and homeschool classes for the kids.
So when I say “village” I truly mean it. When last I wrote about this subject there were some rather large changes happening in my life. I was moving *back* into the house I had bought with my ex husband in 2012, this time with my fiancee and his two kids along with my son and myself. My anchor and I have now been back in the house in the country for a year now. We have indeed hosted a number of “crappy dinners”. Our village has changed over the past year. It has grown and expanded and also lost people. We have some surprising additions and some surprising drop offs. Such is life.
I still consider my ex to be part of my son’s family and extended family, despite no contact for a year, which has been hard on my son. I have grown closer with my fiance’s ex wife and her boyfriend. We recently had them over for dinner to discuss kid matters and all of us trying to find two houses in the same town next year when we move. Our “home for lost souls” will move to a new location, but will stay as amazing and helpful as it has always been.
I have added Navy buddies, another boyfriend, lost girlfriends and friends, become closer with friends I’ve had for decades, and had quite the adventurous year of ups and downs.
I believe in my village. I trust it. I value it above many other things. It’s through my village I have had the strength to make it through bad mental health days, to find the motivation to be a good mom despite obstacles, to have people to love and take care of, to inspire me to cook again, to organize, to get my life more on track and achieve some of my goals.
A year later I’m training to be a doula, we’re discussing buying a house with a couple other family members, the kids are thriving, I’m homeschooling my son, I’m writing again, and we are working on family and mental health issues.
So find those crazy people who are a lot like you, love them hard, hold onto them, for that is your tribe.