It Takes A Village, But I Don’t Have One


I spent much of my last pregnancy willfully avoiding thoughts of what on earth I’d do with my older child when I went into labor. Would I spend an exorbitant amount of money to hire a nanny or a “sibling doula”? Would I opt for medical induction so that I could arrange to have a relative in town? Would I just cross my fingers and hope a solution magically presented itself?


When the time came, we ended up bringing him along with us. True story. Thankfully, it worked out. And while I’m ultimately happy he was there, I also still feel like my hand was kinda forced. There was no good solution.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Unfortunately, I have no village.

I’m a MILITARY WIFE, so in a way, I chose my predicament. I chose a situation where I knew I’d almost certainly be dealing with the realities of childrearing on my own.

It takes a village to raise a child is a phrase you hear often. But, what if you don't have a village of people to help you. This mom's raw and honest post about not having help to raise her kids is one all moms without a village can relate to. #momlife #village #parenting #ittakesavillage #motherhood #raisingkids

But it still sucks sometimes. And the many, many moms in my position—whatever their reason for being in that position—can identify. I don’t think any of us really realize how much we depend on our own families until we’re trying to raise our own.

I was lucky that my mother-in-law was able to come help out for a few weeks after I gave birth, and my own mom came shortly after. BRAND NEW MOMS have so much to deal with—breastfeeding, hormones, sleeplessness, not to mention healing from the birth itself—without having to worry about keeping the house clean and feeding everyone. Throw an older child into the mix and it gets that much more complicated.

But it’s not just childbirth where we village-less mommies suffer. It’s life. Every. Little. Thing. There are so many things we take for granted until we suddenly have to find someone to watch our kids while we do them.

Dentist appointments? I bring my kids along, and endure sighs and sometimes outright glares from the office staff. I’ve breastfed while my teeth were being cleaned. I’ve listened to my child scream from the confines of his CARSEAT while getting x-rays done.

Medical appointments? I not only have to schedule and attend appointments for my kids, but they have the honor of attending mine as well. Nurses smile and coo when you have an infant in tow. Their spirits are less generous when it’s a four-year-old.

Date nights? Ha. You’re joking, right? Do you really expect me to pay expensive babysitter rates just so that my husband and I can sit in a crowded movie theater for three hours? You’re assuming I’d even be able to stay awake late enough to enjoy the ending (spoiler: I can’t).

Appointments Aren’t The Only Time I Miss My Village

If you have the audacity to try to do any kind of “work” with kids underfoot? Good luck with that. For a work-at-home parent, there will be (many) days where your options are “work while baby screams from his crib in the next room” or “work instead of sleeping at night.”

I remember taking leisurely naps with my oldest when he was a baby, but with #2, I find myself instead cramming in as much writing as I can during those two blissfully quiet hours.

I also sometimes worry about whether my kids will suffer in some way by not developing any kind of closeness with their aunts and uncles and cousins. There’s only so much we can accomplish by Skype, after all.

It takes a village to raise a child is a phrase you hear often. But, what if you don't have a village of people to help you. This mom's raw and honest post about not having help to raise her kids is one all moms without a village can relate to. #momlife #village #parenting #ittakesavillage #motherhood #raisingkids

My sons can’t play board games with THEIR COUSINS over the internet. They can’t play hide and seek. Grandma and Grandpa can’t virtually attend birthday parties or Little League games. And we miss out, too—no giant family Christmas dinner, no New Year’s parties. We attend Independence Day celebrations as a small family unit, and watch the fireworks alone.

And as selfish as it may sound, I do miss having ME TIME. I can’t even remember the last time I watched a movie that wasn’t animated or listened to music that contained swear words. I haven’t had my nails done in forever, and on the rare occasion when I try to paint them at home, at least two of them end up smudged because something happens before they’re completely dry. I don’t get massages anymore, my back could use some serious chiropractic care, and even a trip to Starbucks includes at least one child.

I Know These Days Won’t Last Forever

It is what it is. I know these days won’t last forever; the well-meaning, more experienced parents out there don’t need to remind me. Someday, they’ll both be in school and my house will feel empty. Someday, some of the urgency of village-less parenting will subside.

And maybe someday, we’ll be able to live closer to family again. Or maybe we’ll strike it rich and be able to fly home any time we want to.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll just keep trying to build a new village of like-minded friends. But nothing will ever replace the village I left behind.


  1. Also a military wife here. A bit of a seasoned one. 😉 In the beginning it was hard and we will always miss our village. However, my girls are teens now and we are so lucky to pick and choose our village. No matter where we go we always find our people. That’s how we survive now. And don’t get me started on how amazing and polite military children are. I feel it’s because they do have to tag along everywhere with us. One day they won’t be screaming in the dentist office. I’ll never forget the first time I was complimented on how well behaved they where at an appointment for me. It’s all worth it. Trust me. It goes fast and it’s so worth it. Hang in there your doing great!

  2. I am not a military mom, but I am in the same boat. With baby number 3 my now ex husband went AWOL and left when I was 8 weeks along. I had to figure out how to birth a baby with a 2 year old and a 10 year old autistic boy. My mom isn’t reliable and my sister isnt either. The day I brought my son home from the hospital my mom went and movd in across the state with some guy she met online. I can relate to having to takethe kids to your appointments, and not being able to get the care you need because there is no one to watch the kids. I too know it will get better. I need two major surgeries and I am just waiting a few year on them because I wont be able to pick up my kids for a few months after I have the surgery.

  3. I was just telling my friend last night (who lives two provinces away BTW) that I don’t care where we get posted next, I just want a village again. My husband is in the army, we move a lot, and each time it’s harder and harder to find a village. I’m not sure how many more times I can do this honestly. Most of the time I manage fine, but somedays it hits me harder than others.

  4. This is multiplied when you are also a single mom. No family (parents deceased, no aunts and uncles in my state) and no husband to help. I often worry my kids are missing out because I have to work full time don’t get off until 7pm and they miss all the sports and other activities because the only babysitter I can afford doesn’t drive. I wish other parents were willing to help drive but when I ask no one responds and everyone is busy with their own things. All I can do is the best I can do and pray for them.

  5. They’re there. They’re out there. Maybe not with you, but they exist. I too have no village, but no village exists. Not near or far. I get it. I truly do.

  6. When i read the first paragraph it is like i can hear myself. We had just moved to Iapan and it was our first duty station away from home. My husbands boss was a jerk. He had to leave our 2 year old with me in the hospital room with our one day old and go to work. I had never felt more alone in my life. After a while it did get better there was a lady who drove us the next week to bible study. It took a while but we found our village. It is out there and you are not alone. A few years later when we had to take our kid to the hospital with a life threatning condition our village took over. They babysat, they did care packages, and they did meals. I hope you find your people soon.

  7. Sweetheart, I have lived this life since I was 18. I was a soldier myself, have been married to one for fifteen years. The one thing you can do to help remedy having no village is to seek out your no-village sisters. I remember having my two oldest ones together at a GYN appointment when they were 10mons and two in a double stroller. It’s not easy to live this life, and it takes a lot of strength to live it. I applaud you for hanging in there, but you need to reach out to your FRG, church, neighborhood, coworkers. Make a family for you where blood doesn’t run. The people that surround you are invaluable. We’ve had surrogate aunts and grandmothers. Military life is a challenge, but it’s also been my greatest adventure. There have been many times when I have paid the lady next door to keep the kids for four hours so I could ?. Those times are worth your money and sanity. God bless you, honey. Hang in there. Also, there are a heck of a lot better dates to create for your hubs and self than movies, I.e., kid the kids out and stay at home and make a beautiful dinner together and snuggle up on your own couch. It’s awesome!

  8. It’s hard living away from Family being in the Military, If you have the privilege of being on base meet your neighbors, find out when and where spouses club meet, join up with A mommy group of some sort that share the same interests. I know it’s still hard ( my husbands been in 20+ and my kids are older 9-14) but if a mama confided that she needed help somewhere I would definitely step up and I know I’m not the only one


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