"It takes a village..." This is one of those sayings that I have struggled with over the past 3.5 years as I have navigated the murky water that is parenting. Today's parents and caregivers of small children are living in this huge global digital village and yet we often find ourselves alone in the trenches of the early years. Many of us believe this statement to be true yet we often have no idea how to find this supposed village.
When I was a new mom 3 years ago I endured a seemingly endless winter with my brand new baby, during which I spent many hours searching online for "mommy and me" groups, and for the first 4 months I came up empty. I was fortunate to finally stumble across a program called Momstown (which has sadly just shut down) that ended up blessing me with more mom friends than I could have ever imagined. They were truly my village and it gave me a brand new sense of belonging in the parent community.
Now, as a mom to a preschooler and a baby I've been having a tough time juggling all that comes with balancing the needs of two very different children. The other morning after a difficult preschool drop off with my son I hit a breaking point and ended up in tears. As I was driving away (hoping not to be spotted having my mildly embarassing weepy mom moment) one of the other moms flagged me down out her car window and told me to park. She got out of her car, held my daughter, and chatted with me for half an hour, letting me ugly cry and spill my guts about all the parental stress that had been piling on. Although she barely knows me, she was there to listen, comfort and reassure because she too knows how lonely and challenging this parenting gig can be.
I realized after that chat that this village thing isn't as easy as making new friends when you have your first baby and carrying on. While some people will be with you on the parental journey from start to finish you will find yourself rebuilding your village time and time again. There are always new challenges coming our way and the village that we need one year may be totally different the next. I had gotten so caught up in the chaos of the last year that I hadn't put the time in to repair the parts of my village that were altered after my second child was born. But knowing how long it took to find my village the first time, the thought of putting myself back out into the community to search again seemed exhausting and overwhelming.
And this is why Tonya and I began to create this website in the first place. It's hard enough just juggling the day to day needs of small children, it be wonderful if there was one place for families to easily find out about the people, places and things that are available to them within their community without endless searching! From where to take the kids on a sunny Saturday or a wintery Wednesday, the best local spots for a family meal or who to call for a myriad of city services available to families, our goal is to to be a hub for all of this information - it's one stop shopping for all things family friendly in the Greater Hamilton Area! Through lighthearted blog posts, Did You Know Facts, Top 5 reviews of our favourite things in The Hammer, as well as detailed listings of the daily, weekly and monthly family programs being offered locally, we promise to keep you up to date on all the best the city has to offer.
By getting out and joining in the large family community we have in Hamilton we hope everyone finds what they need to build their own unique village of support. We welcome all moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents and caregivers to join us in our village and we encourage your questions, suggestions and feedback as to how we can make this the ultimate family resource! Welcome to our village - we hope it will become part of your village too!