I Was Told I Needed a Mom Village—Where the F*** Is it?

In the pursuit of assistance, one mom uncovered the complexity of building a village in the modern world. Spoiler: it's so (so!) hard.
Finding a mom village is increasingly more difficult in the modern world. Here, one mother explores her journey to seek her own.

It’s early morning and I am just waking up with my precious three-month-old baby lying next to me in his DockATot. Dad’s side of the bed has been replaced by the dog since he is out of town for a once-in-a-year work trip.

Something’s off when I wake up; it’s more than just the usual morning grogginess. It’s bad—really bad.

I struggle to drag myself out of bed and my body aches. I take my temperature and sure enough, it’s high. I had no one to turn to in my small New York apartment—my friends are miles away scattered through Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens—and the closest family is three hours away.

Concerned about protecting my son from whatever has taken hold of my immune system, I make a tough decision: I need to get to an urgent care center, stat.

As if moving through the water, I get dressed, breastfeed the baby, change his diaper, get him ready, hunt down the car seat, put him in the stroller and call an Uber. Waiting outside my apartment, I feel like I could be knocked over by a gentle breeze. When the Uber finally arrives, I’m on my way to an urgent care on the Upper West Side.

I was given a flu diagnosis—the very thing every new mom dreads, especially because newborns can’t get vaccinated.

I want to freak out… but I’m so tired I can’t.

The doctor sends prescriptions to my pharmacy near the apartment. Before having a baby, I could go home and crawl into bed to heal, but as a mom, I call the pediatrician who urges me to come in.

And so, we set out again, this time to the Upper East Side, completely across town. The baby and I navigate stairs, lugging that heavy car seat, wrestling with the cumbersome stroller—all with a fever. My eyes barely stay open and I feel like hell.

We reach the pediatrician, who tests the baby, and luckily, he’s negative, but she sends medication to the pharmacist to prevent him from getting sick.

It’s time to return home, but I still have to stop at the pharmacy, and there is nothing I want more at that moment than to be in my bed asleep. It’s been about four hours now and I haven’t eaten or drank anything, and I feel like I’m on death’s doorstep. Amid all this, I’ve had to change diapers and breastfeed every half hour, as my baby remains blissfully ignorant of my misery.

Back home with the necessary supplies in hand, we begin our treatment regimen, and I collapse into bed for what felt like three full days. I feel like I might not make it. Once some of the fog dissipates in my mind, I decide fuck this, I can’t do this alone. I need help beyond my husband. I need a family.

Where is this village or tribe that everyone talks about?

After this experience, my husband and I decided it’s best to relocate to be near my family in South Florida. I’d never envisioned or desired this return—not until I had dentures, perhaps. But my parents are youthful, and vibrant, and have been pleading with me to come back since they dropped me off at college in Boston. 

They would promise me that if I moved back they would buy me a car, or help buy me a house. I always assumed it was a ploy to get me back… and I was partially right. 

So, against my heart’s wishes, we packed up and headed to Florida.

Now, when I think of grandparents, a very specific image pops into my head. This image is reminiscent of what I had as a child. My grandma had white hair, was always jolly, baked cookies and hand-knitted our Christmas stockings. Weekends at her place were filled with make-believe games and what seemed like magical moments in her garden. 

She once cared for me when I had the chickenpox for an entire weekend and was my personal hairdresser. She epitomized the classic grandma you’d see in old movies. 

Grandpa was a goofy character who could always make us laugh, tickling and chasing us around the house. He’d sneak bites of the food grandma was cooking and share it with us before she’d shoo us out of the kitchen. He’d play our favorite movies, tell us bedtime stories, and read books to us. We shared so much of our childhood with them, and it was always joyous and wholesome.

What I did not imagine for a grandmother was someone too busy to watch the kids because she had happy hour with her girlfriends. A grandmother who didn’t know how to play make-believe and would rather sit on the couch and play Candy Crush on her phone. A grandma who thought that taking them to a store so she could shop or just giving them the phone to watch YouTube videos was a suitable pastime. 

When I ask her to watch the kids it seems like an annoying chore, so I awkwardly sugarcoat the request with statements like ‘your grandkids have been asking for you’. 

Every time I picked them up from babysitting it would be met with a sigh of relief and a few complaining comments of how exhausting my children are. A grandmother that only wants to hang out with us if it’s something she will enjoy—like going to a brewery or restaurant.

I also didn’t imagine a grandpa who worked 12-hour days and had little time for his grandkids. When he did have time, it mostly meant sitting on the couch, watching a movie until the snoring started. His single day off per week was often spent on household chores and activities he’d been eagerly anticipating all week.

So I moved to Florida for support, for a tribe and maybe my expectations were too high, but it’s not what I had. Feelings of anger and sadness had been slowly rising in me for months, making me question if I was selfish, ungrateful or just a brat. 

However, speaking with my best friend in Detroit, I realized that my struggles mirrored hers. So although Instagram was confirming my idea that all new mothers lived in supportive communes surrounded with love, it wasn’t always the truth.

I often hear, "It takes a village," but I found myself asking: “Where the actual fuck is my village?” 

My initial vision was quite different from my reality—I imagined having grandparents to help care for the kids and a close-knit community of friends and fellow parents to rely on. However, the truth is, that my parents both work full time, my closest friends are scattered across the United States, and making new friends at 36 with two kids and a demanding job is hard to do. What I have come to understand is that a ‘village’ for me, is a patchwork of what we can piece together:

A supportive partner who can be the 70 percent when I am at 30 percent.

Jobs that recognize flexibility and family life.

A reliable daycare with dedicated teachers.

A wonderful babysitter for those rare date nights.

A few friends who have kids for playdates.

A few friends who don’t have kids for adult playdates.

Some family members for emergencies.

and, yes, a little bit of hope and prayer.

I’m happy for those who build dreamlike communes where everyone lives together and raises kids as a collective, but that’s not the reality for most of us. Generations change, and we’re products of our upbringing. I might end up knitting stockings for my grandkids and taking them to the theater to watch Annie

What my kids have isn’t what I envisioned or what I need, but I’m learning to appreciate the love and attention my parents can give. It may not be ideal, but it’s the best they can offer, and I’d rather cherish the moments we have now than be upset about unmet expectations.

The “village” is a personal construct, and it varies for everyone. I’ve learned that it’s what you make of it, and sometimes, it doesn’t look like what you imagined.

 I am the village and you are the village.


  • Kayla David

    Kayla David, an HR professional by day and a creative dabbler by night. She is the mother of two living angels and finds her inspiration in a multitude of artistic pursuits. From crafting melodies on her ukulele to sewing her kids' Halloween costumes, her heart lies in all forms of art. Her writing is driven by the passion for sharing her stories with others, creating a sense of community through shared experiences and vulnerability.

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