It Takes a Village: Support in Parenting

Welcome to my blog series, “It Takes A Village: Support in Parenting.” This series of posts explores my thoughts on what it means to be a parent in modern society, as well as some of the many factors that affect our experience.

Who I Am

Holistic Living with KristyAs I mentioned, my name is Kristy. I am a work-at-home mom (WAHM) to two children (Brian, 5, and Leia, 2) and wife to my husband, Brad. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, I became a California girl over 10 years ago, though I regularly go back “home” to visit family.

Family means a lot to me. I grew up in a small, diverse immediate family (my mom is Japanese American while my dad is Caucasian) but with a large extended family on both sides. Most of my childhood memories are of events (both positive and negative) spent with family, from summer road trips with my parents and brother and family reunions at my Auntie’s house to my great-grandmother’s funeral and Obon festivals at our local Buddhist Temple. Now that I have my own children, I try to be conscious of the family traditions and experiences I am providing for them—as they are just as important to me as teaching them good manners and proper nutrition.

Bedtime StoriesI was originally introduced to holistic living through a local mother-baby boutique called Belly Sprout and Christy Funk’s Mommy & Me Yoga and Zen Mamas Playgroup classes back in the fall of 2011. These classes were crucial to me and my development as a parent because, being new to Orange County and a new stay-at-home mom (SAHM), I had a very limited social circle; Belly Sprout’s classes were a great way for me to make mommy friends and receive support from women I could relate to (more on this in later posts).

Why This is Important to Me

In addition to being a parent, I also happen to be trained in parent-infant relationships. I received my Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from CSUN in the spring of 2007 and my research focused on parent development, child development, and the parent-infant relationship. That’s basically a bunch of long words that mean I learned A LOT about moms, dads, and babies, and their relationships with each other over time.

Kristy Grad 2007During my studies, I also realized that parents “develop” in the same way that children do (in stages, over time, and with a host of variables affecting the outcome). By understanding the various factors that impact the parental experience, one can work to help improve that experience.

Of course, studying is one thing… but then, I became a parent myself. And suddenly I understood it all much better than I ever could have before. What’s more, I really began to appreciate how important community really is. We’ve all heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child” … so how did modern, urban society become so conducive to parental isolation? Some are lucky enough to become parents with a wonderfully supportive, close network of family, friends, and like-minded fellow parents in place, but more often parents must make a conscious effort to seek out community, and that’s not easy.

“It Takes A Village” Series

Hopefully, through this series of posts—bringing up these topics, encouraging discussion, and providing additional resources—I can help give back to my parenting community. When I say “Join in the Conversation,” I mean that sincerely. Please use these blog posts as a forum for sharing your story, opinion, or point of view, and continue the spirit of support in which they are written.

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Throughout the next few weeks, I will explore a variety of topics:

  • The Journey to Parenthood
  • Feeding Baby
  • The Value of Community
  • Postpartum Depression/Anxiety
  • Modern Fatherhood & Non-Traditional Families

A Note About Moms/Dads/Partners

Holistic Living with KristyThough these posts are primarily written from and for the perspective of women, I know that families come in all shapes and sizes—from single moms/dads or blended families to same-sex or unmarried parents, I welcome you all. However, for simplicity’s sake, I will most often use the terms “mom” or “mother” to mean the primary caretaker in a household, and “dad” or “father” to mean her partner.

Join the Conversation

Please use the comment section to join in this conversation. What topics do you wish to read about or discuss? Feel free to share your story, as well as any particular highlights or struggles you have had.

Continue Reading

Read Part Two: Becoming a Parent here.

 

*A version of this article originally appeared on Belly Sprout’s Blog.

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