A friend with four children recently posted on social media how since she has a husband who is frequently away from home for long stretches of time how grateful she is to have an "amazing network of friends" who help out with such things and dropping off and picking up the kids from school  I only have one kid and a husband who is stay at home and we have a network too.  The phrase used to be "it takes a village;" now it's "you need a network."

Life is busier than ever.  Is there such a thing as a "traditional" family where dad works from 9-5 and mom just stays home and takes care of the house?   The stay at home moms and dads that I know are always on the go; certainly not "just" staying at home.  We all have so much to do for and with our families.  

What's defined as "traditional" family has changed too.  It's not just mom, dad and the kids.  Today mom and dad are helping to take care of their parents.  Or the grandparents are there to take care of the grandkids.  We ALL need a network of family and friend to keep our heads above water  AND to keep sane.

Again, with only one child, I don't know what I would do without the support of my family and friends.  My family's life would certainly be much poorer without them.  As a result of the help of family and friends:
  • As a baby, my son's life was calmer thanks to the neighbor who insisted on getting us a "bouncy chair."  (Can't imagine his first year of life without it!)
  • My son has learned to love all marine life by being able to spend weeks at the shore with my parents.  It was my father who "discovered" marine science camp.
  • My son has developed interest in history that my in laws who have encouraged and fostered.  They've taken him on trips to historical sites and given him oral history lessons as only they could.
  •  He's been shown and knows that you don't have to be a grown up to make a difference in his world.  Our church "family" have helped him grow into the caring young man that he is.
  • Has a safe place to play in our neighborhood.  My son can run out the door and play in a number of backyards and I don't have to worry.  Everyone looks out for everyone else.  My son also gets well fed thanks to neighborhood moms and dad.  (Writing this makes me miss our one "Avenue Mom" all the more.  If anyone embodied the spirit of the block mom, it was Mary, who fed us all and not just with delicious food and drink, but with her kindness and love.)
  •  He's had an excellent education both inside and outside the classroom.  I can't think of a teacher who wasn't committed to his success.  I could always get in touch with any of his teachers via phone, email or even text.  Each and every one of them have been special individuals.
  • No matter what the situation, there's always been someone there to help out.  The moms who volunteered to pick up and drop off my son during the harsh winter when my husband was laid up.  The parents that included my son in outside activities (movies, events, etc.)  
The above is just a small sample part of "the network" that have made our lives "doable" and manageable.  I can't imagine what life would be like without this complex and wonderful network of people.  I need them and I am there for them as well.  (Wouldn't be a network if I couldn't help out in return.)  The wonderful thing is that the network keeps growing and getting stronger. As life changes so does the network; it grows and evolves and ALWAYS supports.

To all those in my network, thank you.  You have made my life and my family's life all the much better.  Know that I am here for you, just as you have been here for me.  I always will be.  For without a network how can any of us thrive or even survive?


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