Carpool Q&A [E14] How Do I Create My "Village?"

February 23, 2024 00:19:39
Carpool Q&A [E14] How Do I Create My "Village?"
Empowered to Connect Podcast
Carpool Q&A [E14] How Do I Create My "Village?"

Feb 23 2024 | 00:19:39

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Show Notes

We've all heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child - and no doubt if you've listened to this podcast for one episode or all 200+, you know, we advocate heavily for having community support on your parenting journey. Today's Carpool Q&A Question was "I hear you talking about finding your village - but what if I don't HAVE a village?" 

Join Tona, Becca and JD as they explore together how to create your village around you when one doesn't exist yet!

You can learn more about Empowered to Connect on our Website or on Social Media!

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:13] Speaker A: Well, welcome to Carpool QA, where we give you one topic, one conversation to get you from point a to point b on your morning commute or afternoon commute or evening commute or whatever. We're not judging when you're driving. We're just saying, we're here to give you some conversation to help preparing day. So each week, we bring one question. One person brings a question. No preparation. We talk about it. And so this week, Becca's got a question for us. And so, Becca, why don't you hit us with your question, and we'll go from there. [00:00:41] Speaker B: Okay, people, my question today is, we just talked to a lot of parents who feel super isolated and lonely. And so I think my question for today is, how do you find your team, or your people, or your village, or whatever you want to call it, how do you find those people? And so I think we could kind of talk about what are characteristics of the village and or how do you build that when you feel like you don't have that in your area. So I think that's what I was wanting to process together. [00:01:11] Speaker C: I love that. [00:01:13] Speaker A: I mean, because that isolation and loneliness is such a real feeling. And I think it might have been. Our friends Shane and Mindy, we were talking with recently on the podcast about how there is such a powerful, powerful effect to just knowing you're not alone and knowing you're not the only one who's going through what you're going through. And I think Tana, you guys, you and Mo would have families over a lot as we were first moving to Memphis, and we would go and hang out. This is not from your kids, but. [00:01:49] Speaker C: You watch somebody's say that it's okay. [00:01:51] Speaker A: Meltdown, yes. But you'd watch somebody's kid melt down. And there was something so soothing and reassuring about it. As twisted as that's going to sound to people who don't have context for it, just seeing what happens in your house happen with somebody else and knowing that it's not only you going through it is hugely helpful. So I think, one, I would say you don't have to be in the exact same parenting situation to find your people. I think that's one helpful thing to keep in mind. It sometimes can feel like, well, I can't share what we're going through. They're not going to understand it. And that does not usually have any bearing on whether or not somebody can be there for you. Be your person. I will say one of our closest friends, and Becca has fitness category for forever, but she's right here. So I won't use her as an example. But one of our closest friends does not have kids, probably does not want to have kids, and especially the more they're around us. She questions it a lot more, but she has become like part of our family and is there for the good, bad and ugly all the time, and she's there for it. She keeps coming back. And she has no paradigm of what it's like to parent a kid from an adoptive background or a kid who tells you they hate your guts or whatever, and yet she is one of the greatest supports that we've got. So just keep that in mind. You don't have to find somebody in your exact same situation. It can be helpful. But that's my first kind of piece of advice here. [00:03:27] Speaker C: Oh, goodness. I'm glad you said that, jd, because I think that's a huge part of how do you actually manage those moments of isolation and loneliness? I think it takes a lot of courage to be lonely. And I think sometimes loneliness comes whenever you're standing against a group of people that you're usually with or you're thinking about things differently, or you're trying to change your mind or your actions, and it's like, maybe incongruent suddenly with whatever community is, because I think that we all are wired to have people around us and to have a sense of belonging, right? So belonging is such a powerful thing that when parenting or parenting styles or decisions or extraordinary circumstances in parenting suddenly makes you feel like you have a lack of belonging, that is, I think, potentially one of the most difficult seasons of parenting to walk through, for sure. So if you're feeling that genuinely you are not alone, how you navigate it is probably a lot based on personality and wiring and place and space and maybe even some of the community or culture at which you're navigating that season through. So I think how you move forward is probably very unique based on circumstances and situations. But I like what you bring to the table and that thought, because you're saying it's a complex scenario, so there's not one right way to support your loneliness. Yeah, it could be a safe young adult that sees the world in a similar way and they're there to support you. Some of my closest friends navigating those early changes were gals that were my age, that never married and had no children, and they actually had time and they were willing to think about things differently because it wasn't applying to their family. And then we did say, we've got to find new people that I'm going to say, I'm not totally sure this is true. I haven't thought about it this succinctly. It's curiosity and compassion, I think are the hallmarks of finding your people. They don't have to have the same experience. They don't have to have your same kind of family dynamic. But if they are curious and see humans with compassion, I think there's a lot of possibility there for them to become a safe person for you in your know, that's. That's kind of what's off the top of my head. Becca, what is coming to mind for you? I mean, you've been a safe person for me and you weren't parenting well. [00:06:19] Speaker B: I'm resonating with what Judy was sharing is like. I think for people that don't have kids or that just have more time, maybe your kids are older and so you have more time to help younger families or kids that are younger. I think that there's know, how do you be a safe person for someone else is exactly what you said is like, show up non judgmentally and do what you can. I mean, sometimes it's just showing up to babysit and doing the dishes because you have time and energy and it doesn't hurt anything. Other times it's picking up the phone when someone calls you. Even if you know that it's probably just going to be a vent and just being like, you know what? I'll make time to listen to you vent and to be that person for you, for people that are looking for support. I really like what you said, jd, that they don't have to be in your exact shoes, because sometimes I think we predecide, well, you can't be my person because you won't get it. And I think I appreciate you saying you don't have to get it 100% to still be part of your village or be part of your team. And I think that there's value in different kinds of friends. And so I think, yeah, it's great to have the friends that really do get it. That's awesome. And if you can't find that in your area, I would encourage you to find those friends now online. There's lots of places where you can find conversations and people that can kind of give you that, like, yeah, us too. I would just say that's not the only thing you need. You also need the friends who can show up and help you do the dishes. You also need the friends who can help you problem solve or just have the grace for yourself to get through a tough interaction that you just had. So I think a lot of times, whenever we're lonely, what can happen? And this is not speaking from parenting. This is just like a human thing. I have been lonely before, and I have gotten into situations where I wanted one specific friend to be all the types of friend that I needed. And I think what you're saying, jd, is like, not everybody has to fill every single thing, right? So instead of having one friend who can meet all of my lonely needs, what if I had a friend that was this person for me, a friend that was that person for me? So my encouragement to people listening is just like, if you're looking for your village, be okay with what someone can offer, even if it's small. Maybe they're not your call in a cris person, that doesn't mean they can't be part of your village. It's just a different part. [00:08:41] Speaker C: Yeah, I agree with that. [00:08:42] Speaker A: That's a great what? So I'll use our friend Emily, for example, part of for us what is so know, in the beginning, she was part of the young adult ministry that I led at our church. And so she would come over to help figure out planning get togethers, or we used to have potluck dinners at our house all the time with all the young adults, and she would just witness some of this stuff going on in our house. And I'm not an idiot. I would see her lock on to something happening, and I would just try to, as casual as I could, explain what was happening, why we have the approach we have just kind of, as we were going through living life, and she got to be really close with Elizabeth, with my wife, and so she would just say, hey, can I come hop in the car with you? And ride to go get kids from Carpool. And she's a photographer, so some of that is like, she's got that availability, right? She's got lots of time where most of her work is nights and weekends. The more that she was around and the more that she just kind of picked up, she would be over. And early on, I remember asking her, hey, do you babysit? Because that was usually my question to every young adult because we were desperate, hey, do you love kids? And she's like, I don't. I really don't. That's good. [00:09:53] Speaker C: Interesting. [00:09:54] Speaker A: And she's like, I mean, I'm not mean to kids. Like, I'm not going to be a dangerous person around kids, but I just don't enjoy them. And they mess stuff up and I was like, well, that ain't wrong. Here's what happened. The more she was around and the more that she was just there and willing to just be herself and be around our kids, they all got really comfortable with her and loved her and they sucked her into being a kid person. Right? And so she's not clamoring to babysit, but we had an emergency situation in the fall where midnight, we had to make a run to the ER and both adults had to leave the house. And who's the person I'm going to call in that moment? I called Emily, and in a second she was there. She popped up and she's like, I knew there's a reason I wasn't sleeping. And tomorrow just happens to be the first day of school. So she's like, just let me know what to do and I'll take them to school. Like, I got it. And if you're a parent of multiple kids, you know, that's a find. And that was not somebody we found in adoption support group. It wasn't somebody that we found through another parenting class. So just keep that in mind. I think practically because you might be listening to this. Yeah. Cool. All of you guys have people. I get it. That's awesome. Practically, I think, Beck, you touched on it. Finding groups online can be just a place to start. You might be in a super remote place listening to this, and you might need for that to be your primary support in the near term. And if that's your kind of triage to get you through this season, awesome. One shameless plug for us, we have a mighty networks is an online community platform. We've got a spot where for people who want to come and just be part of the podcast community and talk about what they're hearing on here and just share and sometimes commiserate with each other, that's the space that's there for it. So I'll make sure to link that in the show notes below where you can click and become a part of that. If that's your entry point in, please take advantage of that. Tana, I know you for years ran Facebook groups for adoptive moms and other things. You can probably speak more to that side of things. [00:11:53] Speaker C: I think something that I felt when I was in those seasons was, I can't be the only one that's lonely. I can't be the only one that's feeling this way. So I guess I have choices to make. And I know I can be super pragmatic in black and white and just sort of see things this way often. But I'm like, if I can't be the only one, and if nobody else is creating a space, well, then I'm just going to give it a shot. And then, then came, hey, let's do moms, foster and adoptive coffee nights. And years and years later, they were still going, and 20 or 30 women once a month would show up. And then it was like, I think sometimes, and this is not judgmental, I felt this. When we are feeling that way, we do feel so alone. And so it just has to be a me problem. And I think it's the same adage of, like, if your kid's lonely at school, you say, look for the other kid that's sitting by themselves. They need a friend, too. This is the same thing in human adult interactions. If you will just open up a possibility, your people, you all will find each other, but you can't go passive on that and expect somebody else to always take action. I think that we do that a lot as humans. We don't always understand that somebody else might be waiting on us to make the ask or the invitation. And then I would say, which is why I said, my qualities are curious and compassionate. Don't write people off so soon. Just because they don't understand maybe. [00:13:34] Speaker A: The. [00:13:34] Speaker C: World through the way you're parenting doesn't mean they aren't willing to learn, right? If you can give them a little bit of time and make like, don't make assumptions that they wouldn't be there if you didn't give them a chance to be again. I know that takes energy out, and you may be in a season where you don't feel like you have a lot of that. So I do want to name that and say, it's okay if you're hibernating for a while in grief or sadness or loneliness, but hibernation seasons are best when they end, and then we sort of pull back into the community. So hibernate if you need to, and then maybe be the person somebody else needs and they'll give back to mean. To your point, Becca, a lot of those women that we were doing sort of those evenings with, I mean, I loved them, I always enjoyed being with them, but they weren't my closest of closest friends, and some of my closest and closest of friends weren't going to be able to meet my needs the way those coffee nights did, right? So we do need to think about different kinds of people to make a well rounded social support system. [00:14:42] Speaker B: I think whether you're an adoptive parent or just a parent in general, and you're just struggling with the time to find time. I would just say, if you're parenting with a partner, go grab coffee and talk through where are even spaces where you could interact with people. This is going to sound silly, but as an adult, I have found friends by joining an indoor cycling studio, which five years ago I would have laughed at you and said, that's dumb. And now it's like, I know those people. They know my name, I know their names. We catch up, we talk. And it's not deep, deep friendship, but it matters to me and it's community. And so maybe you're part of a church. Maybe you're part of some kind of fitness thing. Maybe you take a pottery class. Maybe it's yoga. I think that sometimes, if you're introverted like me, those things can be really scary. But if you can, if you're feeling lonely, and if you do have either the babysitter on call who wouldn't mind coming on Saturday mornings for an hour, or if you have a parenting partner, you all can trade off. Maybe it's golf, maybe it's sports. [00:15:43] Speaker C: Like, whatever. [00:15:43] Speaker B: The thing is, maybe if you work outside of the home, maybe it's your job. Be willing to just kind of make those. We call them bids for connection when kids are trying to connect with us. But even as adults, are you making bids for connection with people that you're running into on a regular basis and be okay with what that person can offer you, you know what I mean? And take that and then keep finding different ways would be my encouragement. Obviously, none of this is easy. And we're not trying to be like, three steps to less loneliness. That's not what this is. But just like, I just think if you're listening to this and you're lonely, I think all three of us have been there. I think it's normal to go through those seasons. And if you can make a move, make a move a big or small, whatever that means for you. [00:16:30] Speaker C: I remember the time that it was so hard and lonely, and I got a pad of paper out and I was like, I just need to think of, like, three people that I think are kind people. And I wrote them down and I thought, I'm going to be courageous. And I called one of them. This was before text messaging. I just dated myself, and I called one of them that week, and I said, I know this might come out of nowhere, and I know that we haven't spent a lot of time together. I'm in a really hard season and I feel like some of my friendships have closed. I really respect you, and I think highly of you, and I'm feeling kind of lonely. Like, I actually was vulnerable enough to say, I'm lonely. Can we have coffee? And the next couple of years was a beautiful friendship. And look, she wasn't parenting even our same kind of family dynamic. But I knew that she would be curious and kind and love me well, and she's moved, and I still get cards from her sometimes. I just found a person with a tender, sweet, thoughtful, compassionate heart. And I was vulnerable and honest and said, I'm not doing so great, and I'm lonely. And she was right there. [00:17:36] Speaker A: Yeah. My last piece of advice would just kind of tag on with, um. And I learned this from our friend d. Gregory, who y'all will hear from soon out in podcast land. Sometimes you have to kind of help your friends know what you need from them. And so that preface of I'm feeling really lonely. One thing Dee was going through an unspeakably hard season won't steal his thunder. You'll hear his story later. But he would say, hey, I'm just sharing this to be known. I'm not looking for a response. And that actually probably be hurtful because you all are not going through what I'm going through. But if you would just think about us, please let me know that you got this and that you're thinking about what I said or like, hey, I need this. This or this. This is something we're really struggling with. Anybody down to do that. It's okay if you're not. [00:18:21] Speaker C: That's the courage I was talking about, jd, when I was like, it takes courage to find your way out of a lonely season. And vulnerability and courage are like the hallmarks of how you are actually going to make it through. [00:18:32] Speaker A: What a better way to start a relationship, too, or to bolster a friendship by just saying, hey, here's exactly what I need. Because then if that person is not there for it, you at least get the solace of knowing I shared exactly what I need, and they weren't there for it. It's better than if they just faked it and then we're not there for it when the hard stuff came. So great. [00:18:54] Speaker C: It's a great question, and I think it's a shared experience. You're not alone. Take a small little step of courage, be quiet and still, and find a few names in your heart and mind, and then just do a bid for connection. Like you said. Becca. Good. [00:19:11] Speaker A: Awesome. Well, ran a little bit long with this on this. Okay. It was worth it. Great topic. So that's all for us this week at Carpool Q A for Tana, for Becca, for everybody here. See you next week on carpool. [00:19:24] Speaker B: Q A.

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