My husband and I often remark about how capitalism has ripple effects into personal lives in our society. In a version of the American Dream its very typical to see a big house, a fancy car, nice clothes, etc. What we find interesting is that very often these large houses have huge fences built around them and are on enough land, even in crowded cities, that you can’t even see your neighbors. Or if you live close, you most certainly can’t hear them and even then layouts are designed for extreme privacy. Evolutionarily this is not how we survived as a species.
Evolutionarily, going off by yourself, or with a couple other people, was a way of asking for trouble. Think of any scary movie you’ve ever watched…what happens to the guy who goes on a solo adventure to find what’s outside, or the one person who stays behind… it ends badly for them, right? Thats because, technology and modern advances aside, we’re not on the top of the food chain even in the slightest.
We’re smaller than most predators, we’re slow, and we sleep 8 hours a night (I’m laughing out loud right now because no Mom I know sleeps 8 hours). We’re a community species. It’s how we survived. And my argument is that individualistic, developed nations deprive us of our abilities to thrive when we forget this. And this ESPECIALLY affects us when we have children.
This is NOT an argument to have your parents and your in-laws live with you (although I’ve heard this arrangement works for some people, for most it does not.) Instead, this is an argument to invest yourself in community and address issues of isolationism when they arise.
I talked before about a Mama Tribe, and how I thought it was so dumb and cliche until I found myself in need of one and am now a full on Mama Tribe Evangelist. The underlying value in such a tribe or community is the connection to other members of your “tribe”, other parents who are progressing through the same stages you are at the same time.
Another thread in this sort of setup is feelings of loneliness and isolation. Being a stay at home mom can be really lonely. Especially when it’s snowing outside and you can’t leave the house (I mean like really can’t leave. Not the “I don’t want to put real clothes on” can’t leave, but the “Snowstorm is causing power outages” can’t leave). In the winter here in Boston I am keenly aware of what those feel and look like.
The world of parenting in America today looks completely different from what hundreds of thousands of generations did before us. Does that mean it’s wrong and “Down with Capitalism”? No. But it does mean that we need to be more aware than ever of society’s engrained individualistic nature and how to best address our parenting needs.
If you’re a mom and you’re lonely, just remember that you’re not alone. Take advantage of the resources at your disposal. There’s free mom meet up groups all over every major city. If there’s none near you find an online community. If you’re needing something deeper I personally am a huge advocate for therapy. Connecting with a therapist can sound really intimidating, but a good therapist will never make you feel that way.
We didn’t survive thousands of years as a species living and parenting on our own. Draw from those around you that you admire and trust. As a stay at home mom who deals with all these feelings too, I’m personally rooting for all the Mamas out there.
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