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AIBU?

AIBU to not need "the village"?

393 replies

holycannaloni · 27/06/2023 14:57

Prompted to ask this by a number of threads over the last few days, and particularly today (childless friends with friend with baby, person whose family is all on holiday without them, childless weddings), where people end up asking "where is the village nowadays?" The concept of needing "a village" to be a parent seems to be such an online Mum-ism of the last few years, and I just don't get it. I've never felt the need for a big group of friends and relatives to pitch in with child-raising, or for me to pitch in with them, and I don't see it in the parents around me either.

I suppose I'm lucky in some senses as I have a great husband who is completely 50/50 on all home and children things, and we earn enough money that we have been able to pay for the nurseries that we've needed over the years, but that's not to say it's always been easy. But we've just gotten on with it, as have most of my peers who have children. Both our sets of parents are abroad, and we don't have other family in the UK, so it's not like we're getting loads of family help either.

I guess I just don't recognise this craving for a village, or a bemoaning that the UK isn't like other countries who apparently are better at child raising in this collective way. It's nice that our children (and us!) have close friends and that our families love our kids and feel close to them, which they do, but this collaborative parenting isn't something we've ever looked for.

Does anyone else feel that the mystical "village" actually sounds a bit OTT, or am I just the odd one out on here?

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Am I being unreasonable?

1063 votes. Final results.

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You are being unreasonable
61%
You are NOT being unreasonable
39%
GloomySkies · 27/06/2023 14:59

You have a supportive husband, money, reliable childcare, you and your children have close friends - and you simply cannot picture that other people in a less fortunate position may wish they had support? Honestly?

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ginslinger · 27/06/2023 15:00

I'm late 60's and the expression 'it takes a village to raise a child' was around when I was in my teens - it's not a new idea.

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SisterAgatha · 27/06/2023 15:01

I don’t have a village, the village are all falling over themselves to help out my husbands sisters. There are several options for them. I have my mum only, disabled, lives an hour away. I am disabled myself.

we cope well, I think I am stronger generally and more engaged with the children but it was hard when they were smaller.

If you don’t have a village, but have the money to buy “a village” ie childcare; then you kind of do have a village tbh.

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Needmorelego · 27/06/2023 15:01

If you are using a nursery to take care of your children then that’s part of “a village “.
You and your husband aren’t just going alone.

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InTheGardenShed · 27/06/2023 15:01

You absolutely DO need outside input!

You just don't know it yet

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FourTeaFallOut · 27/06/2023 15:02

It's not necessarily just about support but it's a village to provide a tapestry of people that your child can be around and learn from, to interact the different people and personalities, to see their different skills and perspectives.

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Spinet · 27/06/2023 15:02

Are your children at / have they been to school? I would say it's very difficult to have small children at primary school and not notice the bloody great village assisting in their upbringing in various ways, paid, unpaid, helpful, and a pain in the arse. It's not all about physical childcare.

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Youcancallmeirrelevant · 27/06/2023 15:02

Its not so much about the 'need' for a village for me (although it is or a lot of parents), it's more the 'want'. We have created a village and I love it! I adore my friends children, and they are the same with mine. Socialising is easy as everyone is close and gets on (for the most part with the kids). They are there when we need emergency childcare, and us the same, or if the kids just fancy a play date or sleepover.

To me a village isn't collaborative parenting, its just having that wider group or friends and family outside of just parents/kids

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Creditcrunch2243 · 27/06/2023 15:02

I know you have worked hard for what you have but you are speaking from a place of privilege that a lot don’t have. Single moms born to drug addict parents who are escaping DV themselves probably would love a ‘village’…

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Toddler101 · 27/06/2023 15:03

InTheGardenShed · 27/06/2023 15:01

You absolutely DO need outside input!

You just don't know it yet

When does this need start though? I have 2 kids and yet to see this need for a village either.

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MelaniaT · 27/06/2023 15:03

I’ve always understood the expression to be more about the importance of community and collective wisdom in raising children, rather than being about free childcare etc.

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Weal · 27/06/2023 15:03

I do crave a village. When I see people with engaged grandparents who see their grandkids weekly, sisters who help each other with mutual childcare etc. I do crave that. I especially noticed the lack of a village when writing our Will recently and realised I have no idea who would have our kids if we both died.

Do you think you would want a village if you suddenly had a terrible Illness, or split from your husband or if one of your children had additional needs? I think the lack of a village is most often felt at times of need when you realise there is no one to call on!!

I do hate the phrase - “village” though. When I say that I just mean supportive close relationships.

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TeeBee · 27/06/2023 15:03

What about if your supportive husband left you? Or you lost your jobs? Or fell on other hard times. Would you need the village then? I have the archetypal 'village' and I don't live close to family...I've leaned on them and they've leaned on me. The sense of mutual support and community is second to none. Not necessary, of course, but it sure adds to the quality of my life.

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pristinequeen · 27/06/2023 15:04

Grandparents have been a godsend for childcare over here, so not necessarily a village but more than just me and their dad

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RoseslnTheHospital · 27/06/2023 15:04

You specifically, at the moment, don't need a village in that sense. So in the strictest sense of your question, no you are not being unreasonable.

But if you removed many of your current advantages, then you might well need some support from the wider community around you and that shouldn't be something that is impossible or difficult. People in vulnerable situations often end up completely isolated, which is worth trying to prevent.

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holycannaloni · 27/06/2023 15:05

Needmorelego · 27/06/2023 15:01

If you are using a nursery to take care of your children then that’s part of “a village “.
You and your husband aren’t just going alone.

But that's not the village that everyone on here talks about, it's the threads I've referenced with people talking about family and friends

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Yellowdays · 27/06/2023 15:05

It includes school and all those other influences. It isn't a literal phrase 😄

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CecilyP · 27/06/2023 15:05

ginslinger · 27/06/2023 15:00

I'm late 60's and the expression 'it takes a village to raise a child' was around when I was in my teens - it's not a new idea.

I’m a similar age but had never heard it before I discovered Mumsnet!

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Panicmode1 · 27/06/2023 15:06

I work at a well known charity that provides a 'village' to those with preschool children who don't have one, and the families we help range from those using food banks to those living in affluent splendour. We support families for all sorts of reasons and some need more help than others. Just because you feel you can say "I'm alright, Jack", doesn't mean that everyone can ...!

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Raaasaur · 27/06/2023 15:06

I have lived overseas with young children, and while I didn’t have a family village, I had a good network of friends to meet with interact, and to a very small degree, share the load of children (although no one else ever actually looked after my children).

Having returned to my home country, where all of my friends now have a family village, it’s a lot harder. They get all the support they want and need from their family, so have no need or desire (understandably) to extend their ‘village’ to friends.

So, actually, despite appearances, I was better off abroad, where everyone had no village but became each others, than at home, where I should have one but don’t.

(I hope this makes sense!)

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SisterAgatha · 27/06/2023 15:06

Also the term village for me means how I grew up, on a council estate. We played on the green, all parents could see us and would collectively chip in if we were misbehaving. Everyone knew each other. I walked to school from 9 with my friends “alone” but I wasn’t because the other estate mums and kids knew us and looked out for us. You could go in and out of each others houses and get fed.

that’s not always so in many ways today, so the use of the term village is changing to mean grandparents and family.

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ChadCMulligan · 27/06/2023 15:07

We split the work between us, send the eldest to nursery 5 days a week etc.

I can't imagine how hard it would be if we didn't have the support of our family in both directions. Knowing that you have someone who on short notice can look after children (or you can look after theirs) makes everything so much easier.

It doesn't even have to stop with young children. I had my grown up nephew around the other day to help out with mowing and I'll be helping out his family in other ways. We've got a big car and trailer so we end up taking people on furniture shopping runs etc.

I definitely understand why people would like a village, it saves a ton of money and stress.

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holycannaloni · 27/06/2023 15:07

Weal · 27/06/2023 15:03

I do crave a village. When I see people with engaged grandparents who see their grandkids weekly, sisters who help each other with mutual childcare etc. I do crave that. I especially noticed the lack of a village when writing our Will recently and realised I have no idea who would have our kids if we both died.

Do you think you would want a village if you suddenly had a terrible Illness, or split from your husband or if one of your children had additional needs? I think the lack of a village is most often felt at times of need when you realise there is no one to call on!!

I do hate the phrase - “village” though. When I say that I just mean supportive close relationships.

This is probably very true - we've been relatively lucky with regards to illnesses and things like that. I imagine that I maybe would feel different if things were different, although I still think I wouldn't 'crave' that. But maybe that's about me as a person.

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Stickybackplasticbear · 27/06/2023 15:07

This is one of the most smug things I've read on here and that's saying something.

Well done you I guess.

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Needmorelego · 27/06/2023 15:07

@Toddler101 do you never take your children to any “stay and play” type groups, or to a clinic at a children’s centre, rhyme time at a library or plan to send them to school?
All of those will contain people that will be part of your “village “.
You can’t honestly say you are literally doing everything to raise them by yourself (plus husband?).

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