Monday, August 25, 2014

It Takes a Village

As the school year approaches, I've been thinking about how it's going to take a village to get through it. For the first time since Helen was born, my family will not have full-time, live-in childcare. It was time for a change, and with Helen and Connor both in full-day school (which ends at a shockingly late time - 3:45!) it seemed like full-time care just wasn't needed. (Yes, I already know that I will eat these words, and hire someone within a few weeks!)

The book 2 A.M. At the Cat's Pajamas highlights this theme. A nine year old's mother is dead before the book begins, and her father has sunk into depression. So the neighborhood ladies get her through the day chronicled in the book. Now, I'm grateful that I'm unlikely to need the kind of aid that these women provide throughout the day, but I may need occasional help picking a child or two up at school, caring for a child or two while I rush home from a meeting, or helping ferry Connor and Helen to school if Ed and I both have to be to work before school starts.

And then, of course, there's the after-school practices. Finally, Connor is at the age where it seems fine to drop Connor off if Helen needs me elsewhere (though a shocking number of parents sit through each practice and game). I'm happy to be there for other children on the team as well, while another parent runs an errand, takes a call, cooks dinner, or tends to something else. Most of the team has been playing together for at least three years at this point.

The book, though covering only a brief period, clips right along at a fast pace - which I'm sure the school year will do as well. Or at least I hope it does. I can't take another year like last year, which has truly left me numb towards school.


This post was inspired by 2 A.M. At The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino, a novel about hope, love, and music in snow covered streets of Philadelphia. Join From Left to Write on August 28 we discuss 2 A.M. At The Cat’s Pajamas. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


  1. My kids aren't in any after school activities yet, but sometimes I wish my village lived closer. Just for a drink on the porch at the end of a long day.

  2. I loved the whole group-care aspect to this book! It got me thinking, as someone without kids, about how you can form a family of friends to act as a support system outside of the typical definition of family. It's still a village approach - just that the person being cared for is different. I couldn't figure out how to write coherently about that though...

  3. I worked as a Nanny for over 13 years as I had my own children. I'm now pregnant with #4 a a stay-at-home mom for the first time. I totally get what you are saying. Only difference is that I'M the help now. LOL!! A whole new world.

  4. I don't know what I would do without my village and have learned how ever-expanding it is as we get older and meet more like people. Our first just started kindergarten and the next few weeks of working through our schedule seem scary!