Everyone has heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” As a single parent your village is even more important. Your village becomes your family; the people that you rely on to help you and child. When you are a single parent, especially when you are not in close proximity of actual relatives, the family that you create for yourself is critical to you and your child’s well being.
Somewhere along the way, my friends I had been leaning on became family and new friends joined the family. I may be a single mom, but I am certainly not alone. My biological family may live 200 miles away, but I always have family close by to turn to when I need to feel that familial support. But most importantly, my son has that large family experience that many children of single parents miss out on.
Christian has benefited in so many ways from our extended chosen family. He has learned to ride ATV’s, gotten to experience river rafting, and learned to ride a bicycle. He has had many consistent positive male influences in his life even when I have not. Christian has a gazillion auntie’s and uncle’s chosen because they are great people, and not just because we are related by blood. Christian has other kids in his life who act as little sisters and older brothers, and teach him the importance of give and take and compromise even though I only have one child.
We are lucky to have these wonderful, giving people in our lives but it doesn’t just happen. You have to cultivate these relationships and you have to be open to being vulnerable. Vulnerability isn’t always easy for me, but you can only truly let yourself develop deep friendships by opening up and letting others in.
I have an amazing family, but sadly they don’t live close by. The family that Christian and I have created is an essential part of our lives. Both of us benefit from having these people in our lives. There is a reason why they say it takes a village…it’s because it really does.