Mothers Take a Day | Embrace the Village

I have been trying to decide what to write about this Mother’s Day. This is officially my fourth Mother’s Day since my eldest child was born – there are so many topics I could write about… the love, resentment, lifestyle change, influences, etc… In the past I reflected on the year – having Irish twins and the identity crisis. This year I decided to write about the village that has literally kept my sanity during these last few years of motherhood.

The proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” is one that seems to trace its origins to Africa and potentially to the Igbo or Yoruba (both Nigerian tribes). I have found it to be so true in many examples in my life. In my own childhood we had a whole neighborhood of families who looked out for each other’s children. Every home had an open door which allowed us children to always be fed, looked after, and loved. When I studied abroad in Ghana our tour guide Armstrong often discussed the importance to him of family, which was comprised of his village just outside of Kumasi; he attributed his success as a man and college student at the University of Ghana to their guidance. I was reminded yet again recently of how important the village is at a charity fishing tournament called Price’s Point. This event is for a dear friend of mine’s brother who was taken too soon in a tragic accident. Every year since his passing, family and friends get together to raise money in his name. This was my first year and I was seriously moved at the dedication, attendance, and support that comes together in remembrance of Price Thornal.  Although I was resistant to having a village due to pride and stubbornness, I really would not able to be as good of a mother without their support.

Creating my village – When I first became a parent – like most first-time parents – I was extremely paranoid. I already have some social anxiety, so of course it was exacerbated once I had children. I was concerned that we wouldn’t bond, my child would get sick, or someone would take my child. What I didn’t know was that no matter what your plan for motherhood is… it will always change and probably won’t be how you envisioned! After I had Vivian we struggled to breastfeed, she was severely underweight, she never slept (and STILL doesn’t sleep), and worst of all I probably had PPD without realizing it. I wanted to do it all on my own – as has always been my life mantra! I am an INDEPENDENT WOMAN after all!! HA! I didn’t realize that having a village didn’t make me less independent; it made me an EMPOWERED WOMAN! When I became pregnant with my second child so quickly thereafter, I knew I needed to change my ways and begin to build my village.

The Village in SC – I felt like building a village in SC would be so easy. I had lived there for almost a decade and had family nearby. But alas it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. Friends disappeared and we were in such a different place that many of our previous support group began to become acquaintances. The ONLY easy part was our family. Thankfully my sister-in-law lived one town over, my Mother lived two hours away, and my Mother in-law visited as often as she could since she lived 4 hours away. All of these women often gave up work and other commitments to come help my family. I will always be so grateful for their sacrifice. BUT my family couldn’t always be there for me when I just needed to get out of the house, or have a social life, or be with someone who was in the same place of life as me. Thankfully some people came to my life who were really more helpful then they probably know!

First were Sarah and Lyndsay. Sarah and I had been in the same book club but it had been a while since we had hung out. When she found out I was struggling, she was gracious enough to offer weekly playdates which I cherished!! It was so nice having somewhere to go weekly – where I would NEVER be judged, and always be accepted! I still miss seeing Sarah, her sons, and husband so often. Lyndsay was a friend of a friend and I didn’t realize how many things we would have in common!! Our playdates were fantastic because our kids played so well and it was a much needed relief for both of our Mommy lives! Now living farther away from these women, there are many times where I so miss our playdates and friendship!


{Picture Taken by Lauren Carlisle of Lyndsay, Sarah, and Lauren’s children}

Then one of the most amazing things happened – one of my best college friends moved back to town! Eva is seriously my sister FOREVER! We have been co-workers and close through marriages, divorce, employment changes, pregnancies and loss. No matter the distance, we have always supported each other. When she moved to town I felt an immense relief!! It was so nice being with someone who was like-minded and knew my thoughts without me speaking any words. Although we are apart now once again we are still such a massive support system for each other!


{Picture by Eva Frye of Lauren, Eva, and her daughter}

Then I met a new friend who turned out to become one of my most dear friends, Candace. She lived down the street from me and little did I know she also had Irish Twin girls as well. We had the same schedules and our girls played so well together! It was great just to have to look down the street for a quick playdate. I hate that we met so close to when we moved from SC but honestly having our four girls run the small town of Liberty would have be a little scary! HAHAHA!


{Picture Taken by Candace Fruster of Lauren and Candace’s children}

*Note: There are so many more people who were so helpful and supportive – like the people of Pickens High School, my trainer and boss at Soby’s, Rick, my BESTIE Michael, and the list goes on – but I really wanted to focus on some special Moms (sorry boys).

Beginning Again – When our family moved to Florida it was such a shock that I didn’t really have time to fret over losing my village until the final days. Once my husband found out about his new position, we sold our house and moved in two short months. Luckily, I quickly found the perfect preschool who could take my girls so I could create a home. But to my surprise, this preschool has given me so much more. Temple Israel Preschool has given our family a home base, friendship and more importantly a village. It started when my husband interviewed one of the teachers, Miss Merritt’s, husband. The men quickly developed a true bromance and Merritt and I have also become very close. Their family has been there for us when we moved, needed friendship, and had some hard times here as well. I was so glad to see and meet some of her village when I went to Price’s Point this year! I am so thankful for the people Merritt introduced me too – I could never repay what she has given my family.


{Picture taken by Emily Brown of the Newell and Carlisle children}

Another teacher I have become close with always amazes me with her patience and ability to work with children. Miss Becca is my oldest’s primary teacher and every child just adores her. When you go into the school, she is always followed by a gaggle of children vying for her attention. I have learned so much from her about how to deal with children. I am also thankful to find a new running partner since moving to our house and out of the apartment (more on that later).

Miss Hayley is another teacher I have learned so much from – we have similar passions and its great bouncing ideas off of each other. She has so much more gardening and animal experience then I do, it’s great to be able to share our experiences and successes as well! Not to mention we have similar music tastes – which means we must get off our lazy butts and see a show some day!! There are so many more women to be thankful for at TIP it would take me days to write all the fantastic amazing things these women have done for my family – financially, care for my children, support etc… I am so thankful to be a part of their school family!

Now I must not forget the women who first welcomed me to Tallahassee. They helped me burn off stress, get in better shape, and allowed me to have adult conversations again. The Buck Lake area Moms Run This Town running group allowed me to run with them without any awkward introductions. We just ran, supported each other, and talked about life. They really helped the transition move so quickly after moving from SC. I am sad that I no longer live as close to them – but it is so nice to be able to see and chat with them as a continuation of our friendship.

Reflecting on the villages I have experienced and built as well, I have learned too many invaluable lessons. You never truly have to be alone. Help is there if you ask. Your children will be cared for always within the village. Your DESERVE a break once in a while. So Mama’s don’t be like me and try to do it all alone. You really can’t! You need your support system to be the best mother and woman that you can be. If it wasn’t for my village, I would never have been able to overcome the feelings of resentment, loss of self, and depression that I have dealt with over the years. So Mama learn from me – take a day when you need it – depend on your village. Have a relaxing Mother’s Day!!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James
is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

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  1. I enjoyed meeting you at the paint a Verse of the Week session on Sunday and too that y’all live in our neighborhood. All culminating into reading your Olive Shoe Blog. Love how God arranges life when we are listening and fully embrace our surroundings! See you in the neighborhood
    Susan and Danny McLees


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