Is bringing up children harder than ever before?

Bringing up kids is wonderful & often so rewarding in so many ways...but it is also much tougher than I thought it would be. There is always so much to think about and do all the time, and it seems whatever age the kids are there are new challenges to be faced, boundaries to be put in place, skills to be taught and so on. It's just about manageable when they are well, but when they are ill it's really, really difficult! Often I feel pushed to (& beyond!) my limits, and I have to dig very deep into resilience reserves. 

But has it always been this hard or is it getting more difficult? It strikes me that the way we now bring up children, with just one or two parents in a house with the kids, is not how evolution intended. For the vast majority of our evolutionary history (the last 200,00 years or so!), there was no means of getting anywhere other than by foot or horseback, so we used to live in close communities with relatives all around. It wasn't just the parents that looked after the children, it was also the aunts, uncles, grandparents, the cousins and so on, who were all just on the doorstep (literally!) that helped out too. This meant that the responsibility was shared across many people. Not only taking the strain off the parents, meaning they are less tired, less grumpy (!) but totally advantageous for the children too who would have had a much stronger sense of stability and access to a much wider ranger of knowledge of skills and experience from being brought up by more people.

Do you know anyone that lives within spitting distance of any family members? It just doesn't happen any more. Now we can get on a train or plane and go anywhere, and partly because the grass is always greener (!), and partly due to employment opportunities, most people end up miles, if not hundreds or thousands of miles of away from their family members. My parents are 300 miles away, as is one of my brothers and his family, and my other brother and are relatively near in London, but that is still 2 hours away! This is not because we don't get on, we are extremely close, it's just that life has just taken us to different places to settle down and bring up children. 

Imagine how much easier your life would be if your siblings and your parents were all so close by that your children could walk to their houses within seconds and help out with childcare whenever you wanted!

So what can be done to make rearing children a little easier? Perhaps not a very practical solution, but I would advise anyone with children to live as close to family members as possible - within walking distance ideally! If not family members then be very friendly with your neighbours or encourage good friends to live very nearby. And ask for help when you need it! I am very bad at asking for help, not liking to put people out, but am always so pleased when someone does ask for my help. 
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why social media is so popular, people are trying to fill a void that has been created by us not living in close communities any more.
What else can you do? Create a Whatsapp or email group with your nearest and dearest in which you share experiences, frustrations and advice, I find this invaluable therapy! I think I might have gone completely loopy (even more so!) without the constant support from friends and family. 
I would love to know your thoughts - please feel free to post below! : -) 
Lucy x

1 comment

  • It’s a tough gig Lucy! You’re doing a great job, don’t doubt yourself. Let’s catch up soon. Lots of love x

    Della Moorhouse

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