A Village of Few

We have all heard the expression “It takes a village!” when it comes to raising our kids. But what happens when your village is small? What happens when you look around and everyone seems to have a huge tribe but you? It is where I tend to find myself at 37, and let me tell you – it is an exhausting place to be some days.

Let me start off by saying that I always feel super lucky with the people that I DO have. I do have a tribe and this is NOT to discredit any of them. It’s only to shed light on the differences that others like myself may feel. There are numerous reasons why I don’t feel I have the support system that some of my friends have, but at the end of the day: that’s okay. I am lucky to have what I do and appreciate them beyond belief.

My Mom is not here.

This is a major difference I see in my world vs others. I know it’s not healthy to compare, but it is almost impossible not to feel a tinge of jealousy when I see other mommas having their mom there to help raise their babies. When someone tells me “My Mom keeps my kids X days a week,” my heart weeps a little. What I would do for my mom to be here and enjoy her grandchildren while also helping me out. For her to be here making scrapbooks, costumes, and giving all the love I felt as a kid. My mom was elated when I was pregnant with my daughter, but unfortunately lost her battle with cancer right before Mila was 3 months old. She always talked about staying home & playing with my babies; I wish she could have fulfilled that dream.

My family lives out of town.

Not being originally from Louisiana & having a military family on both sides have spread us across the country. Locally I have only a handful of family members. This is a rarity as in Louisiana part of the culture is having a robust family living within driving distance. Again, jealous! I love my family & we do a good job with all keeping in touch, but we literally cover from California to Louisiana to New England. My husband’s family is here but a lot of them have their own small kids & families – and I hit that in my next two points!

Everyone has busy lives.

It is 2022. Both of our parents still work full time for the most part. They’re not retired yet and aren’t available to just drop their own lives to cater to ours. It is a great concept but in this day and age not exactly realistic. Not every retiree is looking to do that either quite frankly. We have other family & friends that I can turn to and ask, but again – no one is not working with a jam-packed schedule. Life is crazy for all of us lately.

I hate to ask.

I absolutely hate to ask for help. Okay, so I know that this is a self-inflicted problem but I absolutely hate to ask for help. I am Super Mom, duh – I can absolutely do it all! I don’t know if it’s the Virgo in me, my independence, my pride, or my grit that makes me determined to do this all on my own. But something deep down within me just hates asking for support or help when I need it. Often times if I do I can’t help but offer to pay people; “because then it’s not a “hand out or favors.” My husband and I just recently went out of town together without our kids in F I V E years. I realized how long it had been and it was a reality check that maybe I need to call in the troops more often. It is not always easy to find a sitter for a 6-year-old, 10-year-old, a 4-month-old puppy, and a needy Yorkie, but I need to make it happen more often. I can do it all, except spend time with my husband alone (which is so important). I am independent to a fault these days, and I need to accept every now and then I definitely need the help.

Voted off the island.

To be super blunt – I trust very few people with my children. My daughter got injured at an in-home daycare at 9 months old (which I will write about soon). Since that moment as a Mom, I have always had a hard time trusting anyone around my kids. I don’t do random babysitters, or high school kids referred to me, or anyone that isn’t family or that I don’t know, even ten years later. You never know with people nowadays and my kids are never something I am willing to gamble. I have select people I allow into my circle when it comes to my babies.

Small but mighty.

Remember – everyone’s village looks different. It is easy to envy someone else’s situation, but just take into account that our life experiences are what shape us into who we are. Not having a village also has its pros too. My kids spend most of their time with us. We have a super close relationship & have made countless memories together. They’re my tiny besties with boundaries. I thankfully have the luxury of a flexible schedule with my career and am there at pick up & drop off every day. I’m there for everything actually, I (can’t) handoff practices or events or experiences to anyone else. Those are things that I know other people long for, and I don’t take them for granted at all. I work very hard to make it work, but I have found a way to schedule MY little squad the way I need it to be. My husband is my right-hand man in it all and we spend a lot of time trying to balance and make it all flow as smooth as possible. No matter what your village looks like, know that you are the queen of it. We make it happen no matter what whether with a tribe of 2 or 20! I have days when I feel alone and then I remember that one day I will look back in the blink of an eye and say “I did that!” And you will do it too.

Dana Wattigney
Moving from Nebraska in middle school, Dana considers herself a New Orleanian 25 years later. She now lives in Belle Chasse with her husband Ryan, 12-year-old Mila, and 8-year-old Rex. As the Executive Director of the YMCA in her community, she is very involved in all aspects of family life. You can find her on the weekend doing DIY projects, cheering on LSU or the Saints, and spending time with her family. A lover of all revelry, there is no festival, concert, or event that she won't go to! Catch her with the Krewe of Cleopatra each Mardi Gras. She gets out of town with her kids as much as possible, they enjoy the outdoors, especially the mountains & the beach. Affectionately known as "Dana Dolittle" to her friends, you can expect her to have a random animal she is trying to help at any given time. Dana loves to write & says there are no topics off limits.


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