“What happened to the “village”?

Photo Credit: Onnig Cavoukian

I don’t even remember how many years ago it was that Shannon, along with ten other moms and I, were in her living room sharing extra baby gear and talking about how to bring back the ‘village’ mentality.

Shannon had just started the Kelowna Facebook group “Mamas for Mamas” and her vision was AMAZING and so in line with mine, but at the time, I was actually the mother who could really use a ‘hand up’.

I was pregnant with my first, had just come back to Canada from the US and my husband and I were starting all over with nothing. Mamas for Mamas got me through that rough patch by helping provide for my son in ways I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

At the time, I was a mom that unfortunately had a lot of pride and refused to access any of the wonderful services in my community, because I felt like my situation was temporary and I didn’t want to take from a real  ‘mom in need’.

What I have now realized, through my journey, is that ALL moms, regardless of income, situation or how they look on the outside, deserve to have the tools they need to successfully be a parent. This includes basic human needs like food, shelter, water, to things such as safe car seats and access to mental health services.

I have many passions in my life, such as recycling and reducing my carbon footprint (even with four kids, I am very conscientious about the impact my family has on our environment). 

My other passion is as a humanitarian.

Seeing people being denied basic human rights/needs, kids aging out of the foster care system and ending up homeless, people with mental health issues being released onto the streets with no real support systems in place. All of this is unacceptable to me in this day and age.

What happened to the “village”? We always talk about it, but where is it?

I see so many moms who don’t have a stable home or are suffering a mental health crisis. Instead of giving these moms the support they need, we exacerbate their mental health issues by taking their children from them and giving them to strangers. Those strangers are then given the support these mothers should have been given in the first place.

Burn out, postpartum depression, loneliness, anxiety – I believe all could be cured if we went back to the basics and lived in the community. Instead of taking a child away from a mother who just really needs a break, why can’t we support her? Give her a breather?

That is why I am turning my yard into a place where moms can escape to and feel supported. I call it “The Village BNME” and believe it compliments the vision “Mamas for Mamas” has set nationwide.

We have a 24/7 free store on my property, we are building a free library/toy exchange, a “She” shed/greenhouse where we can learn how to use tools/grow our own food, a gym space where we can host workshops and promote healthy living, and we have a have a yurt on the property where moms can seek respite from burnout.

I am basically building a tiny intentional village for moms. And I hope you join me as I give back to a community with the umbrella of a community of moms (Mamas for Mamas) who really helped me!

My name is Lisa Marie and I run the Parksville/Qualicum Beach Branch of Mamas for Mamas.