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It Takes A Village (But We're Doing It Alone)

by What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood
December 2nd 2020
For the last 1.8 million years or so, children were raised village-style. But 2020 has meant a lot of us raising our kids without the usual help of grandparents or schools or caregivers or friends. As... More
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in my hermetically sealed bubble. What fresh hell laughing in the face of motherhood. Bananas. Gorilla is up to no good with Margaret Apples and Amy Wilson. I'm in hell, a podcast that solves today's parenting dilemmas so you don't have Thio. We're all stuck home waiting for a spring, right? Hello, everyone. And welcome to this episode of what Fresh hell Laughing in the face of motherhood. This is Margaret, and this is Amy. And this week we're talking about how it takes a village, but we're doing it alone. The village has cast us out, and we are alone in our hut and we are not happy. I've done some research for this. We can go down the research rabbit hole about like what the village means and when it started and why it went away and why it's particularly bad right now and what we can do about it. I'm hoping to make us all feel better about how lonely

this is. By the end of the episode, when you're only gonna make us feel better by telling us that we're right about how much it stinks, though, right? Like you're not gonna actually make us feel better. Yes. Okay. I just want to manage expectations for our listeners. I got this idea after reading an article by Jessica Gross for the New York Times parenting page, and it was called parenting was never meant to be this isolating. And this is a quote that will make you feel better, I think throughout basically all of human history, she says, parents have never, ever raised Children in isolated nuclear units the way we have been doing for much of 2020 with little to no hands on family or community support. So this is a hard as you think it is basically the same Jessica the same. Yeah, on. And I think we're feeling this more keenly as the holidays approach right and the cousin Time and the Grand Parent Time is either not happening this year are happening a lot less this year are happening differently this year, and that break that we were all looking forward to

is has been pushed off just a little bit longer, and this is a kind of thing, and I think I've made this parallel, but I think it's worth revisiting. I think we don't even know how bad it is right now because we're still in it. You know, it's like being tired from having a baby and the first week that you get decent sleep, you think, Oh, I had no idea. I thought I was fine, you know, And then you realize that the world is just Technicolor again and you're fine, you know? And you didn't realize how tired you were because it just became your new normal. And and that's what I think we're in right now where I'm just kind of like, you know, it's not that bad. And I think I have, Ah, possibly I'm overinvested in the sentiment that it's not that bad and that I'm so busy saying how, but not bad it is that I might be missing out a little bit on how actually bad it is. I'm pretty tapped into how bad it is this week. I just I'm feeling really lonely and, you know, New York City. You think of New York City where I live is being a very anonymous

place, and it is in a way. But there's also like I have this sort of old fashioned village life where I, you know, bring the clothes to the dry cleaner, and I have a chat with the woman behind the counter. Or how's your daughter? Right? And then I go into the coffee shop and the butcher from across the street comes in like that. Life is possible in your neighborhood in New York, and everybody walks everywhere. So you see people. We walk our kids to school. I would see the same parents have to drop off every day, Right? It's busy town. You're like waving to the other cats. And like the mouse the worm is driving by in his sports car and his apple car. Yeah, his apple cart. You're exactly correct. Bananas. Gorilla is up to no good. Yeah, I do kind of have that, except not right now. Everything's boarded up. No, everybody's like masked head down. I've had two experiences when my dad recently relocated to a new kind of community living situation and

he I keep saying, Have you met anyone? He's like, I can't meet anybody. I'm 10 ft away from the nearest person. We're both wearing masks like you don't make a connection with another person that way. I might recognize that that general form is al, but I were not friends, you know, and it's right. You can't really connect with people in this situation, and I recently had an experience where I went to, and this was a couple of months ago now, but I went to an outdoor gathering and everyone's wearing masks, and it was some people I know. And some people I didn't maybe 10 people and someone said, Oh, do you know Jason? And I'm like, How would I know If I know Jason? That's a person in a hat. Sunglasses and a face mask like that could literally be any human being. So I don't really know if I know him. Maybe we're best friends. I don't know. We're gonna all end up getting like sleeves of tattoos so we can sort of recognize each other freely in the outside world, right? Like all right. Right now, I do know her. She's sun, moon and stars on the bicep. Yeah, there are some upsides to it. Sometimes I'm like, it's kind of nice to be anonymous

, you know, like to be able to move through the world unrecognized. But the problem is, it is like we're all paper bag. Had people just walking around, and you really cannot connect with paper bag people. Yes. And I am kind of like I'm a little turtle shell in my real life, you know? I'm introverted. But there's something about the fact that other people are saying like, Oh, hi, how are you like that? You can at least sort of dip into that. When you walk down the street. You know the people in your neighborhood. Oh, I think it's a really shot. It's a shot of like dopamine and basically I was driving in my car the other day and it was a warm day and unseasonably warm day in New York, and I kept recognizing people and I was like, Oh, there and that people weren't wearing mask because they were out walking outside far away from people. But I would drive by people, and I felt like This is kind of a metaphor for my life. I'm stuck inside my car, recognizing people and kind of smiling at the thought of them, but not able to direct with them at all. I'm in my hermetically sealed bubble and you know it's not easy

, guys. It's not easy. And then on the flip side, all of us are sealed in with the same people all the time with the same three year old and 17 month old, and you're seven months pregnant and your husband's pooping all the time and hiding. Yeah, but being sealed in with a 12, 10 and eight year old, it's got some downsides as well. Oh, my gosh, yes, and being Yeah, well done with teenagers who rarely leave their room except to bark at you and demand more food. Yeah, it's all we've all got our own kind of lonely, and it's all not great. Can I tell you a little bit about like the history of the Village? Because I feel like it helps you understand. Like, yes, this is nuts and not how it's supposed to be a little research. Robin Nelson, who's a professor of anthropology, explains that throughout, like two million years of history, our primate ancestors and now humans, we have engaged in cooperative breeding with other parents. In other words, like, you know, baboon parents

share the job of raising young with other baboon mothers, and that sort of group parenting is something called aloe parents, which I've never heard that term. Have you heard that term? Never heard of it. I don't think as much about baboon parents is You did, though, Amy, So it's not surprising that I have not heard that term, but you have been in a low parent. And Allah parent is any parental care that's provided by an individual towards young who is not their direct descendants. So, like your fun and tears, you were being an AL a parent, right? And so there are many kinds of Allah parents right in our lives, like grand parents and your sister, how much he loves your kids in the baby sitter and even think about like, Were you a mother's helper when you were like 14 years old? That Did you do baby sitting? I loved it. Yeah, I didn't love it, but I did it for the cash. I loved it for the suite. $2 an hour. I was raking in. That's what I did it for. And what I learned about our parents as I was looking at this is like it's something that

guerrillas say do. But on Lee, when they have extra food like the guerrillas not feeding the young that aren't her young unless she has extra, she's not carrying the other baby on her back unless she's not dealing with the baby right now. You see what I'm saying, like they give their extra attention and time and food toe other people's young and they raise in a village when things you're good. And that's another reason things air hard right now because your friend, like, let me come over. I'll bring you some soup. Take a nap. I know you're having a bad day, right? I know you're like throwing up every five minutes because you're pregnant. Whatever the aloe parents around us who would come in and pick up the slack for us because we're having a bad day are also having a bad day right now and can't come over and help out there Having a bad year to, you know, like it's not even like we're all having one bad day. It's lengthy. Wow, Amy, I was depressed when I got on this call, and now I'm, like, 10 times more depressed. Yes, I like that. Your responses? Yes. Like you're like No, no, no. I'm about to turn it around for you. Okay

, so now I can go, like, deep nerdy with you. Like why Allah parenting? Why raising other people's young actually helped us exist. Okay, So 1.8 million years ago. This is an anthropologist named Sarah Hardy suggesting that as long as two million years ago that apes started doing this and not every species does this right. Many species don't but certain species and a piece of the closest to us obviously do parent each other's young, and she suggests that started happening. And then that meant that babies could stay babies longer, like little ones could stay a little longer when there's more than one person to take care of them. And that meant our brains could develop. So she says that this sort of group parenting thing literally enabled the human brain to become the human brain like it wouldn't have happened unless apes decided that they wanted to start helping take care of other people's babies. That came first, not the big brain. Interesting. I think, as we move into our human counterparts to I mean, it just

gives you an opportunity. I think of all the hours I spent with my friend Alex out on this playground in Los Angeles and our whatever what do we have 45 kids between us? It gives the kids an opportunity to socialize, and it gives the Mom's an opportunity to, like, keep their mom brains activated. Yes, for moms, right? It helps us conserve energy. That helps us get more nourishment. It helps us get more sleep. It helps us remain safe from predators like talk about biological imperative. Like This is good, of course, for the kids, but it's definitely also good for the parent. Like, you know, we actually live longer when we do this thing when we don't Yes, So how do we create this sense of village in a time when we're cut off? Because if there's anything that reading up on this has taught me, it's like, Yes, this isn't supposed to be this way, and it's not good for us for it to be this way. So we have to do something about it. I have developed the skill

over my long lifetime a me that one of the things I find the most helpful thing to say to moms who are struggling is you should be struggling. That sounds really, really hard. That stinks. You are in over your head, and I find that people often are like, thank you so much for saying that like they don't want someone to tell them like Buck up. It'll be fine. All moms go through this. They want someone to say, This is hard. I'm watching. Are you watching the crown of one's watching the crown? Amy? Yes, I'm watching the crown. It's Charles and Diana were just watching episode, but like their basic whole dynamic is like I want someone to tell me that I'm good on. They both have it, and neither one of them will say it to each other. And that's what makes their marriage kind of tragic. And, like the whole royal family is like we do our job. We do not tell each other that we are good, you know? And it's like, could someone just parachute into Buckingham Palace and tell these people that they're all OK? You know, But I think that when you skipped the step of saying

like This is hard for a reason and you have every right to be struggling right now, I think that is such a helpful thing to say it. And so even though you're depressing the heck out of me, I thank you for saying it, and it has to come from one another because this article from The New York Times that started this whole idea. Jessica Gross said. She started doing this research and about the village and writing about it because she read some article about how, during the pandemic, people who didn't have kids were tired of picking up the slack for people who do during this crazy time because like, Oh, please, like your home with the baby like you get to hang out all day And it was, you know, a group of people who don't really get what it's like to be a parent during a pandemic, saying like Come on, this is ridiculous. It's not that hard And why should they get all the attention and support now? Your heart is hard and people who don't have kids are struggling there in the pandemic. I'm not saying that, but she was saying, If you don't get it, you don't get it. And so we need to be around other people who dio right only another parent

or only somebody who has been somebody with two under two at home understands what it's like to be a parent right now on how hard it is, so we do need each other. Yeah, and also for sure. People who don't have kids have it really, really hard as well. So it's sort of like I think we always have the instinct to be like, you know, who does this person has. Like, It's not the Olympics of who has it hard. It's Everybody has it hard. It's not the Olympics, but right going to that. Well, you know, your coworker who doesn't have kids probably doesn't get it right now. And so maybe is a useful part of your virtual village and maybe isn't it's not their fault. That's just the way it iss. All right, let's take a break when we come back. Let's talk about the possibility of connection and where we're going to find it. Amy Choosing between what's best for your baby and what's best for your wallet. Never been my strong suit. Not so easy. No, I recall spending more of my infant daughter's Easter outfit than I did on my own. I mean, we got cute pictures, but still, luckily, hello, Bello is here. Toe. Lighten the load on your bank account by offering premium baby products at

affordable prices. Hello, bellows Diaper bundling service lets you choose from over 20 different fund rotating designs. Each bundle comes with seven packs of diapers, four packs of plant based wipes and a special freebie with your first order guys. Thoughts and prayers to all of you still dealing with diapers. I do not miss those days. If you go to hell Abello dot com slash laughing, you'll get 25% off your diaper bundle order. That's a huge bang for your buck and a lot of potential blowouts saved. That's hello. Bellow dot com slash laughing to start bundling with 25% off your order, plus, get 15% off any add ons like vitamins or wipes. Don't forget, that's hello. Bellow dot com slash laughing. I have two teenage boys to feed, so when it comes time for dinner, I'm always grateful when it's a hello fresh night. Not only does hello fresh, let me skip trips to the grocery store. It has lower prices for their larger box sizes, so more servings means more savings. You've heard us talk about Green Chef, and we really like them, too. And that's because Hello, Fresh owns Green Chef

, which allows them to offer a wider array of meal plans to choose from and US to offer discounts on both. Hello Fresh offers more than 20 chef crafted delicious options every week to help you break out of your recipe, right, Try new things and make any night feel special. We made the salsa roja chicken enchiladas this week. They were so good, we want sort of like a medium spicy version. It was a total crowd pleaser. We love a crowd pleaser. Keep your fridge stocked by adding extra meals or additional proteins, quick meals like breakfast on the go or their 10 minute lunches and even deserts. To satisfy that sweet tooth. Go to hello! Fresh dot com slash 80 laughing and use the code 80 laughing to get $80 off, including free shipping. Oh, you heard us. That's $80 off when you goto Hello. Fresh dot com slash 80 laughing and use the code 80 laughing Amy, we're back. Who are we connecting with? Please tell me quickly. I'm only connecting with my husband and my three Children, and they're like, Leave me alone, weirdo. Not only do we get judgment for saying that

this is hard from people who say from the outside, Judy, it doesn't seem like it would be that hard. I love Thio. Hang around with the baby all day, you know, whatever. There's also judgment, I think, in where we as moms find connection. This was a scary mommy quote that I saw, like, sort of all over the Internet, being shared over and over again. Not everyone has helped from grand parents, family members or friends, and not everyone has a village to turn to for support. Some of us find solace inside our phones and virtual mom groups were parenting pages. Not all support looks the same in every bit counts. I felt like I needed to read that. True that. Just look at our Facebook group. Everyone's helping each other out. Yeah, I mean, maybe we're preaching to the choir, right? But that Facebook group is It's a safe space, and people who are spending more time on Facebook right now need to spend more time on Facebook right now, they're not neglecting their Children, their drawing like mental health support. Yeah, I think this is something that used to be more of an issue than it maybe is now that I feel like people understand a little bit

more than, like the virtual world exists to support people. And there are people. I wonder if it's easier. Let me posit this allowed I may. Do you think it's easier for people who were relying more on virtual help beforehand? Could be, I don't know. I feel like I mean, I have virtual support and I have, uh, in person support. I feel I've said this before and it may be wrong. I feel that this is extremely hard on me mentally, because I am a person who is like, I like connecting with strangers all day. Yes, that's my whatever it fills my love tank. You know, I like to talk to the guy at the grocery store. I'd like to talk to the taxi driver. I like to talk to, like the deli guy. What? I'm getting my sandwich. I like to go through the world interacting with strangers. It gives me a great amount of I don't know happiness. I have watched this happen like I have watched you have a conversation with a guy behind the counter at a CVS in New Orleans. And like in 15 seconds. You were having a a deep connected

conversation with this. Like you just have an ability, yes, to draw people out and find their story that I love to be around. I'm not that person. And when I spend time with you, yeah, it's sort of like you reminded every time. Like everybody has a story, everybody, the person you're sitting next to on the train. And I met my spouse on a bus like my spouse and that, like, strike up a conversation. I know that it can work, but I tend not to move through the world that way. But you dio. But I don't find that same satisfaction. Virtual. I don't I have trouble replacing that. Even I like reading Facebook. My name is the dog who's like looking at the fence at the two other dogs, fighting and being like I can't remember what it says for the joke is basically like it's me just watching other people interact online like that's how I feel online like a lurker. I feel like I don't I'm not as connected with other people online, but I'd like to watch other people have I don't know, fights discussions, whatever. But I don't find myself interacting that way in a satisfying way. The first time I found, like an online

virtual community that was a support. When was when I was trying to get pregnant with my first child, who's now almost 18. But at the time, you know, seemed like with something that might never happen for me. I mean, I you know, I went there, and I think we all do when your body sort of betrays you And like the thing that's supposed to be the easiest thing in the most natural thing in the world is just not happening for you. I found a group of women, and this was 18 years ago, so there was no Facebook yet. I'm not old, but there was a bullet board. They called it like an online bulletin board. And I found a group of women there, one of whom I still have ah, real life friendship with all these years later. But that connection got me through and all of us knew, like when you're next, you know, injection date, waas and what we're numbers looking like today and like they wanted to drill down and was a completely supportive group and also a hard group because somebody would graduate, so to speak and leave right? And that was that. Give you hope

like somebody's gonna leave and not be in this group anymore. But it was also weird when somebody left, but that totally got me through. And you have to put up with when you have a meaningful, like group like that, the sort of side eye from the rest of the world that that's stupid or not, really, or a waste of time or worse, like weird, you know, creepy. But for me, it was really useful. It's funny. I know so many people who have this, whether it's like around specific needs of their kids or infertility boards or, you know, exercise boards, people who have, like, really, really strong connections with people online. But I just I don't happen to have that. Yeah, like even like the Pell itan moms who have like their favorite like Team Cody, and you always take Cody's rides or whatever these air. Some of them are lifelines, and some of them are just like a little silly virtual club. But I feel like I've spent a little time feeling bad about those. And I'm not going to anymore because they're great for so helpful right now. Oh, I wouldn't waste one second of energy feeling bad about it. I just

wish I could find that for myself in a way that you know, because I am. I'm super, you know, lonely and disconnected. But I enjoy interacting with people online, but it doesn't feed any need for some reason. In May, I don't know. Maybe I need to dial into it a little bit more. So what about group texts? You and I are on one group text I can think of. Do you have group texts that air keeping you going? Right now I have a bunch of group text group text has definitely become a thing that has happened. Texting in general has been really good for May. I do like the texting, both group texts and just texting. I have one friend who I just you know, every couple of weeks. I'm like, Hey, what's up? And then we just have, like, a 30 minute funny back and forth about the world and like she's incredibly funny and we just make stupid jokes and it always made. That does brighten my day. I do like that. And then I'm on like family group text I'm on. We're on a group text together with smart, funny women. I mean, it's nice. It's

nice. It's nice. I don't know. I guess I'm just looking to make it actually better. And like, I think I have to stop treating it like a scale like, Oh, this thing will make it fine that I'm living in isolation during a global pandemic like that, I have to stop trying to weigh them out like yes, group texture. Nice. Do they solve the fact that I haven't seen, you know, my in laws in a year? No. So, like you're not going to get their Lynn stagger Strong wrote an article for Time magazine about women in group texts right now during a pandemic, and she argues that there are a valuable lifeline and it's funny, like I have one that I kind of, you know, I don't know. I guess I have to. I have to that I dabble in. I haven't I thought to myself like I'm going to invest in this and create this is a lifeline, But she argues that they're totally crucial, and she says it is. It's the group text. It's not the zoom call. It's just the group text because she says, it's low impact and it's your village, right, she says. You can send a missive to the group. You're not placing pressure on a single friend who might

not be able to deal with it right now because you have your own stuff going on. You send it to the group and somebody will be able to help you. And if you see a tax that comes in and it feels heavy and you have your own stuff right now, you don't have to, you know, rush to the scene of the fire because somebody else will be able to do it. And it's just like it's not too heavy when it's being sent to six people at once instead of one person at a time. That makes a lot of sense to me, and I hadn't thought of it that way before. I think that's right. You have to take group text in that spirit because the flip side of this is the meme that is I've never been, ah, hostage. But I have been on a group text on like yes, and you can sometimes be like I'm trapped in a conversation with 12 other people. But, I mean, it's pretty low impact. Thio even be on the receiving end. You could just be like Okay, you know, sometimes I get home and I have 27 texts and it's like two people on a group text chatting with each other on. I feel like we've come to accept group texting that, like, I feel like back in the day, I might have been like, I've been assaulted by 27 text, but

it's fine. You could just move on with your day. Actually, I never really thought of them that way. Like somebody said a long time ago about social media that you have to think of it more like a stream. Like when I first got on Facebook, I felt like I had to read everything my friends put on Facebook and, like, go back to where I was starting over. You know what I mean? Like go back into you. Your well, that's very you. You're like, I'm going to get an A plus on Facebook. Gonna be good of Facebook. And now, of course, they have changed the algorithm. So you tend to see the same three things you saw yesterday when you sign on. I don't know why they did that, but you can't be done. And Twitter was always that way, like there's always more. And so a sort of social media manager said. And I thought it was really wise that it's like a stream. You dip your hand in when you want to, and then you don't have to keep up with it. It's just there for you to enjoy, but you control. And so I think I've thought of group texts also as this thing that, like if somebody writes, you have to respond, Do you have to give it a little hard sign? You have to do this and it just feels like something else I need to do before I go to bed. I need to brush my teeth and I need to make sure that I've liked the three things. But you don't and

I would probably use it better and more wisely and more often if you feel like it's okay to be like Hello. Is anybody up like right? That somebody's gonna answer And it doesn't have to be you. It doesn't require everybody. It just like parenting is a team, right? It's the parenting is a team thing we were talking about. Except it's with our friends. We don't all have to be 100% it committed to answering this person's, you know, joke or cry for help. At the same time. It's okay. We're in a group. Well, it also reminds me of what Ali Wentworth was saying when she was on the podcast, which is just like using humor in all things. And I know my people who Aiken text and just be like I'm in hell and they'll just send me like, bad gifts of people on fire and it doesn't solve anything. But it does lighten my load. Just ah, hair that day, and that might be all that's really needed. And like we have a family, we used Thio have much more because unfortunately, the Giants are so bad and we've all kind of stopped watching football. But we used to have a

Sunday Giants game text threat. That was the whole family just writing jokes about how about the Giants were or whatever, and it just was a thing that happened on Sundays, and it was kind of it was fun. And I think things like that can be the key to me is that it's less heavy than the zoom, because we do a lot of families zooming, but the family text thread is a little bit lighter, and I'm gonna veer off. May I veer from a moment? Amy, I know you've done a lot of research, but I'm gonna be here for a second with an idea. This is an idea that my husband's family had, and I like it a lot. The zoom dropped by window as opposed to like sit down and we're all family zooming. So like we did this on Thanksgiving, right? It's like it's just three hours, and if you're cooking or you happen to be, you could drop by the zoom. There's 14 people on it, and maybe you go in. Nobody's there, but maybe you go in one other persons there, but you're doing other things. It's a little bit less heavy than the full zoom. Does it make sense

? Yes, The zoom three hour window because I think the problem of the family zoom is my family. We all try to talk at once. Then everyone gets like I was trying to say something or we have nothing to say And like the zoom family dropped by window, I'm kind of feeling it. Okay, I like that, too. Yeah. I mean, give it a swing. It worked for Thanksgiving is easier because everybody's busy there cooking and they're making cocktails. And so it's like, Oh, how's your turkey coming out there stuff to talk about? So I don't know if it will work as well with, like, you know, in total absence of that, But I think it's a nice option. That's not Let's all sit here for one hour and feel like we're traffic looking at our own dopey faces. We've talked before about how the key to a successful zoom for our kids or with our college roommates is a secondary activity. Right is the virtual escape room, or Grandma's going to read you this bedtime story over Zoom that when we just kind of sit there and look at each other like

Okay, I ran a eight minute mile today like I don't know. It's just a weird You feel like it's weirdly formal and you have sort of newsy updates and we don't have newsy updates. We're all stuck home waiting for a spring, right? It takes the pressure off Amy Winter hasn't even started yet, but I like that you're waiting for spring. You're like we're waiting for spring. Oh, yes, I'm already looking forward to April getting a head start on waiting for spring Amy. All right, we'll be right back. I love getting mail, you know, like actual mail. Not Val pack flyers, right When you get an envelope with your name on it, it is so exciting. I don't know why, but it ISS there times when you have to send more than a text. And that's when there's reminded by u dot com. It's a greeting card subscription service that keeps track of all the birthdays and the anniversaries, so you never forget another important occasion again. And you always have a card. Here's the clutch feature to me. Amy, you can have the card sent to you intend to sign and send or you can use reminded by you sign and send feature

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touch around the dining room table with kids. See, cushions are definitely where your kids are hiding their unwanted vegetables. You need to check those things after every meal without kids. Theme principles of feng shui suggest that placing a plant in the corner of a room conserve to draw in the positive energy with kids. The way potty training has been going suggests that that puddle in the corner, it's definitely P without kids. Consider a white sofa for a clean, elegant addition to your living room with kids. Literally. Never consider a white sofa seriously, if you have to think. Are the kids old enough for a white sofa? And guess what? They're not without kids. Framed prints are great for adding that pop of color. Thio. Any room with kids? Oh, you want a pop of color? Well, it's your lucky day. Your two year old found a Sharpie

a e eso. I wanted to give you one more quote from this Time magazine article that Lynn Steiger Strong wrote about group texts for women right now and how we're gonna save each other, she says. We're scared and we were exhausted and were often by ourselves. We know better than to complain too much because no one besides the women like us seem to want to hear it. And that's why I think it's worth investing in. Like our family. Zoom Village is nice, but having the village of moms who are struggling is really crucial. Yeah, and I just think the only thing that we need to step way back from is the idea that any of us are going to save each other. Like, I think I would love to do a podcast. It's like, here's how to solve this, but we are all. I mean, I feel like Amy and I we got on today, and normally one of us is in a good mood, like one of us is struggling and the other is like All right, Okay, Yeah, that sounds like it's hard. All right, let's go. We're both

miserable today. Like we're just at the point of this were like, the darkness has come the holidays air here. We're eating turkey alone in a closet. It's not fun, you know? And so I think that we're not here to offer any. We're not here to depress you, which we may well be doing. But we should just play. Hello, Darkness, my old friend, for the rest of the episode. And call it a day just like guys. I'm sorry this stinks, but I do think we should take off of ourselves. The idea that we're supposed to make the holidays just like any other holiday and just is good and it's different. I mean, we I think we're gonna have ah, fun holiday season in its own dopey way. I went to the I had Thio Go and get a computer repaired the other day, and it led me into a mall and I was like, I couldn't believe how many people were still at the mall. But it's fine, whatever. But like, I was like, Oh, and then there was the mall Santa in the mall with a mask on what? And then the kids were standing 6 ft in front of Santa and Santa was just hanging

out in the background. And I was like, I think we have to call some things. I think we have to just be like we can't make everything the same. Okay, it's okay to not have a mosque, and we can skip this Guys, it's a certain point. Not skipping it becomes more depressing than skipping it, you know? And I mean, God bless you if you want to get your picture taken with the mall Santa from 6 ft away. But I do think the idea that we're all supposed to do the pandemic and do it like Donna Reed twirling around in the kitchen and making everything okay, is the number one thing we should let go off. Well, that's interesting. There's a book called The Way We Never Were American Families and The Nostalgia Trap. It was written back in the nineties by somebody named Stephanie Coontz, but her point of view is because we also could get trapped in thinking like that. The Donna Reed thing. I mean, talk about Goldilocks Alerts that was a sitcom for the fifties that showed a you know, a happy housewife with her apron on, greeting her husband at the door when he came home from work that we kind of think like, Well, it's always been that way right? And I should be happy doing

this because this is always how it's been. And Stephanie Coontz really carefully unpacked in this book like That's not true. It was never that way until post World War Two that this idea that you lived alone and your primary job was to take care of the house and the kids and, like live by yourself and vacuum that was a construct of the 20th century. It was never supposed to be that way. So it's okay that that feels lonely to you. It's totally okay, and it's especially okay to feel that way in these remarkable circumstances. Let us pray once in a lifetime circumstances, you know, And I think the idea. I had my kids, we went out. We're fostering dogs as people now, So we have a foster dog with us this week. And so one of the good things about having the foster dog is that I make the kids go out in the woods on a long walk with the dog, and normally they are very wood resistant. But I'm like, if you want to get another dog, we've take the dog out walking. We went out into the woods yesterday, and my

two boys spent the entire time playing this game where one of them would run ahead and then, like Tigger would pounce out on the other one and they would kick and punch each other. It was like a fighting game as we know my kids favorite game is fight, but I was kind of like even in the Woods, even walking the dog, they have to do this. And then at bedtime, they were like Today was such a fun day. We had the best time in the woods fighting with each other like they thought that game was hilarious and great. And so I think the only thing I could put in people's path at this time is that that your kids will probably think it's hilarious and great whatever you end up doing, because their kids, you know and they'll find fun in it. And so it's not your job to cruise direct. It may be your job to just get them out into the woods, to just change their location every once in a while to try to keep something going that they can participate in. But they're going to remember fighting in the woods. They're not going to remember that it wasn't perfect, and I think that's where we fall down. Sometimes

it's this idea that like Oh, it has to be good, right? It doesn't have to be anything. It just has to be you all together and alive. I mean, it's another benefit. It occurs to me of sort of village parent living that we're missing out on right now. We had MEREDITH Mason E. On the show last month, and she was talking about how, when it comes to like p t a stuff, she's right. I'm the napkin, mom, she said. Like I bring napkins. That's what I'm good at. I don't do big goods. Not gonna. And you're like, I will dress up like, you know, a potato for vegetable week. But I don't want to be in charge of the spreadsheet like we all have different guests that we bring to the table. And when we're parenting in a village, the school play gets done because, you know, this mom's good at this, and this dad is good at that. But now we're stuck at home with our kids, and maybe we're a making spirits bright cruise director, kind of mom, and maybe we're not right. And but we all feel like we're supposed to be all the moms right now, instead of just the kind of mom we're good at, which in normal times is enough to get us through because

there's other moms around well, and two things about that. The first is that one thing that has been good for me and the pandemic is the feeling of like the race is not on right now because I do think I had an internal story that was I am kind of laid back. I'm not a super participate or my kids aren't in any sports. They don't play sports, they don't do a ton of after school activities. That's kind of how I was raised, and I've always had this feeling of. It's fine, like I don't have Thio do that stuff, But I always have had the hum of like looking at Facebook and thinking, Oh, no, like all the other kids are doing special things that my kids are just sitting around at home kicking each other, which is what they like to dio. That has been good for me, like feeling like everyone's paused right now does. It helps me to a certain degree and so that I'm leaning into not having the craziness around the holidays. We do a ton of traveling and then it's like who's shipping what gives to who were kind of off the track this year. That is kind of relaxing, so I'm trying to kind of enjoy that, you know, And then the other thing is that I think that this idea

of virtual community is you have to listen to your needs a little bit. So I have a friend who has a beautiful outdoor fireplace, and she's put some heaters around and it's pretty comfortable, like we can sit out there if it's 35 degrees outside. And so once a week she has. You know, it's a standing kind of like Stop by if you want. That sounds so heavenly. Yeah, okay, Yeah, it's pretty heavenly, and then probably everybody else doesn't have it. But I have another friend who has a yard. She needed help with her dog the other day, and we happened to be free. And I was like, My kids would love to come to your yard and play with your dog. That would be their best day, and they have a swing, and they just My kids were like in love with their yard. It's all the same stuff we have in our yard, but it was just a different yard. You know, somebody else's yard exactly. And I was like we should make a spreadsheet and just switch yards every weekend, you know? But of course I was like, I don't want to take that on. But anyway, I think that you should find times and both of us today are having bad days, right? Like I was just thinking this morning, even before we started

talking like I should probably find something today. Just call a friend, get out for a walk in the woods. Like I think you don't have the incoming stream of socializing. So you do have to make more of an active effort to get out. So, like enjoy what you're not having to deal with, but then find things for myself. I have a friend who I walk with, and I'll call her today and say like, Hey, let's get out for half an hour Sometimes if we're lazy, we walked around the parking lot in town. You know, we both wear masks and we walked 6 ft apart, but we just walked around the parking lots and talk. And then, if it's a little nicer, whatever, we get out into the woods and it's cold and miserable here and I don't want to do it, but I have to make opportunities because it feels like another chore. But it's like exercise. It's like you really got to do it. It feels much better when you do it. That's exactly it. Yeah, when I'm having a bad day, you know, I'm introverted, and I, in normal times, have friends who are connectors, and I cling to them because the kind of friend who was like, Oh

yeah, my yard, Yeah, we have these great heat lamps and everybody just come over whenever, like, you need that person in your life if you are not that person, find that person and become good friends with that person And that's worked for me in regular times. But now I need that person, and that person has struggles of her own. She's not having us over because her mom's sick. You know what I'm saying? And so I do have to create those things for myself, and I'm not particularly good at it. And when you are feeling down because you're struggling, it's the time when you're least likely to call up your old chum from middle school, right? And but we need to, and then maybe that's why that group taxes okay, it's kind of like self care, that thing that that person said to me that has stayed with me like you can't just double meditate on a bad day. You have to meditate every day or do yoga or breathe deeply or drink tea or whatever it is. You do that self care. You do it all the time, so it's there when you need it. So you know you have your group text practice. You have your Facebook groups, you love you have your you know, friend

, who you have enough of a relationship that you can call and talk for 45 seconds. It doesn't have to be half on hour or nothing have those things in place before you need them. And I think it's falls into a very like tweet tweet cliche, right, which is like, you know, make yourself happy or you can make anyone happy, blah, blah, blah. But I do think this is a time to focus on yourself. You know, to really say this is a hard as I think it is. They said so And Margaret and Amy have acknowledged for me that this is a hard as I think it ISS They told me I could do this and therefore I find my husband and I watched, like, an hour of TV at the end of the day, cuddled in bed. It's cold here, so it's like the one time I know I'm gonna be perfectly warm. The kids were in bed and I find at about five o'clock I started thinking about it like, Oh, we're gonna be in bed watching our show, you know, whatever happiness you have, I decided for ourselves this year that I have always been a bath person. I love baths. And

this year, because the holidays are a mass and Christmas, I'm like, I don't want anything. I don't want to give the great, you know, exchange of garbage and we're gonna try. We haven't figured it out yet to pull all of our resource is this holiday and find some sort of big thing of hot water, like whether that's putting in one nice bathtub in the house, or maybe putting a hot tub outside that, like that's our focus this year. Like I know I am happiest when I am in a tub of hot water, and so however we can make that happen, But that's me saying to myself, How am I going to do this? And I realized that's like probably for us a couple of $1000 investment and like, you know, I don't want anyone listening to be like, just spend thousands of dollars and make yourself happy. But I do think the process of saying like, What is the happiness I can claim for myself this year in these desperate situations and trying to find that And sometimes for me, that's just I'm going to Danish, baby wrap

up, sit by myself outside with a cup of hot tea for one hour and no one is allowed to talk to me, whatever it is. But that all stems from putting my happiness at the center of my focus, which is something I think we're generally not that great at whatever it ISS. You don't apologize for what it looks like, right? I'm gonna take an hour off and go sit outside, and you could be in charge of the kids for a while or you're taking a long bath or you're on Facebook rather more than your partner thinks is necessary. You know, it doesn't matter. Whatever you're using to get by right now. If it's centered in self care and happiness and other people, when that's possible, then don't apologize for what that looks like because you need it. And I feel like it veered a little bit off Amy, what we started to talk about. We're doing this alone, but I think it is. I think for me I have finally discovered that, like there's no amount of Marco Polo House Party zoom thing that is filling the need that I have to be connected with people. And

so instead, I'm kind of turning my attention toe like radical self care because I know I think we're going to be out of this by, you know, next year. I'm hoping early next year. But you know, until then, I don't think I consume my way out of this. I think I have to just put myself in a tub of hot water and take really good care of myself. I'm gonna do this slightly. Other thing. I'm pretty good at the, you know, cuddle up and be alone, and I'm going to invest a little more and the friends and the group text I love the idea of the group text being low impact and, you know, get a group of or the walk by zoom while you're cooking as you suggested, there are maybe sort of low demand. The chat room is open. Ways to stay in touch with people right now that will make this be a little easier just for this little while. We have to go. I love my big take away on that is low impact that it doesn't owe it because I feel like it's like, um, I'm gonna organize another zoom for the kids I went to camp with in 1987 like that doesn't sound appealing to me. But like finding

the low impact ways to connect seems really helpful. We solved it, solved it. We totally 1% solve that. You should definitely be connecting with us guys and you know how to do that. Come to facebook dot com forward slash What fresh hell. Cast and join our community. It's very low impact. Everyone's very loving. Stay loving. Don't come. If you're not gonna be loving, just be loving all your social media. If you're on instagram person, a Twitter person, a tick tock person Pinterest person were on all the things Come find us. We are on all the things, guys. And we look forward to seeing you there. And until then, stay well, guys, hang in there. Talk to you next time.

It Takes A Village (But We're Doing It Alone)
It Takes A Village (But We're Doing It Alone)
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