It Takes a Village
By Jen Lindbeck
Perhaps you have heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It sounds nice, right? The sentiment that you are not alone, that there are men and women around you that provide support, encouragement, and practical advice when you need it. You might feel like in order to interact with your village you have to get dressed, comb your hair, load your kids in the car, or let someone in to your less than clean house. It feels hard. When you are in the weeds of parenting, social connection can feel like a luxury, something easily sacrificed in order to prioritize other things, like laundry or dishes.
Here is the truth: social connection and support from your community can make a huge difference to your mental health. Many studies have found that increased levels of support were associated with lower postpartum depression scores.
Having a circle of friends that you can count on, isn’t just great for you, but it is also good for your baby. A new study has found that when moms have a supportive network of friends, their children do better on cognitive tests. According to the research, “social relationships beyond the mother-child-father triad are significantly associated with children’s cognitive development and that maternal social relationships may be associated with the cognitive development of children.”
Your friends don’t care if your hair is combed or that the floor has been vacuumed. They care about you! Reach out. Invite a friend to coffee or accept an invitation for a playdate. If you are looking to expand your circle of friends, we can help! Here are some great opportunities for you to meet other parents in your community.
1. Bright Beginnings Play Dates: Playdates are Monday through Thursday, 11:00-12:00pm at a park near you until August 22. Bright Beginnings is sponsoring the playdates and has invited members of Skagit County Children’s Council to host the playdates and share information about their organization. Snacks and activities for the kids are provided. Follow us on Facebook for up to date information on the organizations that are hosting and locations of the playdates.
2. Parent Support Groups: Peer to peer support groups are happening throughout our community at various times and locations. Meet with other parents and caregivers who understand the joys and difficulties of parenting. Go here for more information.
3. Mom’s Group at Skagit Valley Hospital Birth Center: The Mom’s Group at Skagit Valley Hospital is 11am – 12pm every Thursday. This group is led by a Family Birth Center RN/ Lactation Consultant. Meet other moms, weigh your baby, and get answers to your questions about infant feeding, development and much more. For more information go here.
4. Parent Café: Parent Café offers coffee, tea, treats, and great conversation. Coming this fall. Go to Bright Beginnings for more information!
Jen Lindbeck has a M.Ed., Early Childhood Education, Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University and is the Early Childhood Program Manager for United Way of Skagit County and Welcome Baby Coordinator at Skagit Valley Hospital.