It Takes a Village to Raise Children. What if You Don’t Have One?


Recently I read an article that millennials are saying that although “It takes a village,” they have no “village.” And I can relate. I’m not sure if our generation doesn’t ask for help or if our families (extended as well) don’t offer the “help?” 

Don’t get me wrong; my mom would come out and help me if I said, “mom, please help me. I am struggling.” But she wouldn’t offer it, and if she did, it would be on her terms. Granted, beggars can’t be choosers, right? Well, in that case, I’m better off on my own. And sadly, that’s the stance we take because we don’t feel we can ask for what we need. And unfortunately, I don’t have the deep pockets it takes to hire a regular house cleaner who organizes clutter, does the dishes, laundry, and cooks’ meals. We don’t have enough to hire a regular “date night” nanny. However, if you have that within your means, it is 100 percent worth it if you can find someone you trust. 

It Takes a Village to Raise Children. What if you don't have one?
It Takes a Village to Raise Children. What if you don’t have one?

The other day, my husband said, “We never have time for us.” And he was legitimately sad for an hour about it. While I am sad, our almost 2-year-old son needs me all day, and I can’t dwell on the sadness. I always put our kids first. Hiring a nanny has not been something we are comfortable doing, even if we had the extra income. There are very few people we trust with our children. Just like we don’t like to ask for help, we have significant trust “issues” for childcare. 

And no judgment to those who have a village or have managed to create a network to help them. More power to you! At this point in our lives, my husband and I accept our situation and don’t judge others on their own choices or situations. Suppose you have parents that offer to help, and that works for your family. Fantastic. Some families may not have a choice but to accept the help. To each their own!

The problem is, when you have little kids, it’s tough for everyone. Oddly, when I read the headline about not having a village to help, it made me feel less alone. I’m sure others who read the headline thought, well, that’s their fault, but in reality, it’s tough for all of us. Are you a millennial? Do you have help? How do you get self-care and date nights? Or are you also going without self-care or date nights?


  1. A few years ago I was talking to a fellow mom about how hard it is to be a parent, then we started talking about our other mom friend who seems to have it all under control, and I made the comment, “they don’t seem to need help” and my friend replied, “is it that they don’t need help, or they don’t want the help?”. I think there is a lot of pressure these days to be the most perfect parent possible, follow all the advice, guidelines, etc. that a lot of parents end up losing trust in others to take care of their kid(s). I have mom friends who have really tight schedules and menus for their kids that they don’t trust anyone else-grandparents, aunts, uncles, fellow parents-to follow. Or if others do watch their kids, they print out the schedule, the menu, and expect it to be followed precisely. I think villages are out there for parents, but sometimes you have to develop it yourself or look for it. I know, easier said than done. We are actually thinking of enrolling our girl in a private school in hopes that we as full-time working parents can develop a “community” in a smaller education setting.

  2. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Erin. My husband and I have had a total of 2 date nights over the past 5 years, and while we loved spending time with each other, we were also sorely missing and worrying about our son the entire time. We knew that when we got married, we would be a “do everything and go everywhere together” type of family. We’re okay with that, and we tried to make the most out of the first decade of our relationship when it was just the two of us.

  3. Hey Erin I just wanted to say thanks for opening up on this. My wife and I don’t have kids just yet, but young families surround us as all of our friends seem to have kids all at once. They are all millennials, and very few have “a village.” I think over the last few generations our families have exploded geographically and we’ve ended up with less of a built in network. While it’s still possible to find that community, the “village” you create will inevitably be a little less natural, a little more contrived, and a little harder to trust. I think it’s important to recognize the value of raising kids within a tight-knit community, but also that our current society makes that really challenging, even impossible. Thanks for raising this conversation!


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