This Igbo and Yoruba (Nigeria) proverb exists in different forms in many African languages. The basic meaning is that child upbringing is a communal effort. The responsibility for raising a child is shared with the larger family (sometimes called the extended family). Everyone in the family participates especially the older children, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and even cousins. It is not unusual for African children to stay for long periods with their grandparents or aunts or uncles. Even the wider community gets involved such as neighbors and friends. Children are considered a blessing from God for the whole community. This communal responsibility in raising children is also seen in the Sukuma (Tanzania) proverb “One knee does not bring up a child” and in the Swahili (East and Central Africa) proverb “One hand does not nurse a child.” Read more here
I have been wanting to write about this for a while now. More than wanting to share my own perspective, I am rather looking to hearing from you parents. It takes a whole village to raise a child. Does that mean that raising a child is difficult and you need all the help you can? Or does that mean that your child will benefit from being raised by many people? And what if they don’t see eye to eye with you? What if they don’t share your parenting convictions? Will it affect your child? Or will your child benefit from different “parenting styles”?
I always try to do what I think is right for my child. It may not be the best in the eyes of others, but it is what is best in my heart. I find it very draining to have to justify my choices. Whether it is family or friends and don’t know better, or just people in general, I still don’t understand why some people seem to think that they have better parenting skills than you do, and that they should share their opinions with you. Just like people who always ask if I am cold when I am wearing a skirt. If I was cold, I would probably not wear one. And even if I was, it is my body, my choice. Would you let me borrow your jeans? Probably not. So just keep it to yourself. Thank you. (Sorry for the lousy comparison.)
On the other hand, I have found sharing parenting rewards and challenges with some parents very resourceful. Being a first-time mum away from home, I felt pretty clueless sometimes (look at me using the past tense…Sixtine is only 6 months and I think I know it all already…haha. No. I actually need some help in the feeding solid department. Struggling with what I read, what I know, what I was told, and what I am told…). Feeling connected to other mums in real life, but also virtually has been a life saver. So in that perspective, I totally get the “it takes a village” part.
Now tell me. How do you deal with all that? How does this proverb apply to you? How do you just tell someone that they don’t know what they are saying and to just leave you alone? How did you grow your confidence in the mum/dad department? How do you do it? Please help a first time mum in need who’s refraining herself from telling some people to politely take a hike? I am all ears.
Baby showers aren’t a common trend in France. They probably exist but I have never been to one. I didn’t really have a ” proper” baby shower in Canada (I was probably not much fun company when I was pregnant and since it is not something that we usually do in my home country I didn’t mind too much.) but I still got a mini-one which happened when the baby was a couple months old, a friend of mine invited a couple girls I know and made sweet cupcakes and brought some cheeses and crackers. They brought presents and some things for my husband and I – so we wouldn’t have to cook for a couple days. It was a very thoughtful attention (and very helpful)and I thought it would be nice to have one in France someday.
We celebrated her baby shower yesterday afternoon with many of my friends and family members. We had a lovely time. I had asked everyone to bring something to eat or drink and they didn’t disappoint. I made chocolate chip muffins, banana bread with roasted pecans, and bottle-shaped cookies (that I burnt), as well as mini cotton candies for everyone (store bought but put together with love). There was praline and chocolate chip cookies, salmon and cheese muffins, salmon bread, olives and feta bread, brownies, and many more yummy things ! We played a few fun games such as “How Many Baby Items Can You Name?”, laughed, ate, and everyone got to hold little Sissi who loved being the center of attention.
Did you have a baby shower for your baby or something similar to celebrate his or her upcoming birth/or birth?
I sometimes live on the edge and go out without my daughter’s diaper bag. I
almost always regret it. Even for a short trip out, there is always something I wish I had taken with us.
Her diaper bag is a lovely Eddie Bauer Canvas Tote and I absolutely love it. It is a very nice, versatile bag, with lots of room, and pockets for bottles. It doesn’t look like one at all which is why I love it.
I recently came across a post where the author was asking her readers what was in their purse. I really enjoyed reading it and thought I would create my own version !
You will find in Sixtine’s diaper bag:
- Green disposable diapers. I find it easier to use disposable when we are out and about but I still want her to use green-er ones.
- Chlorine-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free, 100% compostable and biodegradable wipes.
- Dr. Browns’ Bottle.
- Boiled water or Evian water.
- Good Start Formula.
- Spare soother.
- Book for baby. (optional)
- Spare onesies, pants, and sometimes PJS if we are going out for the evening.
- Natural Face/Body balm. By Dimpleskins
- Weleda baby oil. Great for dry skin, and Lusa, booty balm. Great with both disposable and cloth diapers and
- Her favorite going out toys: The Rhino Toy Ball with Rattle (offered by a friend) and her Teething Toy with crochet chocolate, coral, and teal wooden beads and two wooden rings.
- Grovia Wet Bag for baby’s dirty clothes and cloth diapers. (ps: they work wonderfully. We have huge one for a cloth diaper pail and I am very happy with it) The one in the picture is purple, ours are yellow (travel-small) and green (laundry -large size). I am not too fan of these two colors but I suppose they are so amazing that this is the only color that were left.
Now, tell me (or even better: show us – you can email your picture and I will add it) what is in YOUR diaper bag.
- You want to better yourself for your baby.
- You silly dance and sing publicly for your baby like no one is watching.
- You become less self-conscious. I am talking bad hair day, shaving strike, nude face… You name it !
- You talk about poop and puke like it is the most natural thing in the world. It is, really.
- You see the world differently. You have new priorities.
- Stronger bond with your husband/partner.
- Get out of the door quickly. Well, actually, according to my husband, I never really did. But it’s gotten worse.
- Being addressed as —’s mother. It is the best feeling in the world.
- Guest contribution from my husband: You cherish your free time.
- New found respect for your mother. Our relationship has grown a lot since I became a mother myself. I appreciate her more and all she did for me.
Let’s make this list a longer one, share !