Support comes in many ways and we can create our support networks. Where I come from, we grew up in a big family, where we had aunties, grandparents and extended families around. Boredom is never a term we understood. We always had relatives around the home, and friends just around the corner.
I remember when I was young, we had my grandparents at home with us, while my parents were out working. There were always someone at home to talk to or hangout with. My grandparents would help with the day to day running of the house, i.e. my grandfather helped with "entertaining" trades people when they turned up to repair the house, and my grandmother was in charge of our meals and supervising our domestic helper. On top of that, we had friends and relatives dropping in to visit, so we literally were fully occupied from dawn till night.
When my parents came home from work, they will fully focused on resting or taking us to the park in the evening, and did not have to stress about the chores at home.
You see, I personally believe that families are meant to support each other and help each other. Raising children is meant to involve the extended family. However, nowadays, families are more of a nuclear family or a single parent family structure. We now see less of our extended families and friends.
When we moved to Australia, we were on our own for everything. We were on our own to fend for ourselves, and to learn to integrate into the society with our second language. My husband and I went straight into the workforce.
However the challenges began when we started a family… that was whole new learning curve altogether. Did we know what to do? How do you look after your young family?
Thinking back of all the support my parents had, our children only had us to support them. But this is not true – you can find support anywhere, IF you allow yourself to do so. You need not have the fixed idea that you have to have the extended family around for support – yes, it would be nice, but you don't have to rely on that.
Below are a few suggestions about where you can find support:
Become involved with a mother's group if you have one in your area. I have a good friend who I still keep in touch with -we have known each other since mother's group – meeting 22 years ago.
When we moved to Sydney, for the first few weeks, I took my children to various play groups, to integrate into the community and make new friends. This way you can build a supporting network.
Parents from preschools or occasional care
Connect with parents from your child care or occasional care centre.
When my children started school and whenever it was grandparents day at school, my dear neighbours, David and Jane (Jane is still supporting me and is on the mailing list) would go on my parents or parents in law's behalf. They were the adopted grandparents for my two grandchildren during my children's schooling days.
Parents, you need support. It may not be the same like when you were growing up with extended families around, but you can still find your support. You just have to look. You can still create the "adopted" extended family where-ever you are.
Have a connected day with your family.