By Sometimes Mom
Follow her on Instagram @sometimes_mom
Everyone knows it takes a village to raise a child. It’s a cliche as old as time and while often used figuratively, it comes from a time when we literally raised our children in villages. The fragmented and often isolating way we raise children today is a far cry from the villages of our ancestors. But there’s one thing our ancestors didn’t have, the internet. More specifically, Instagram.
When I started my @sometimes_mom Instagram account, I thought I had a unique story to tell. As I began following tons of other foster moms (and some foster dads) I realized, I wasn’t really that unique. News flash, right? But what I discovered was that there are so many people out there who get it. They get this complex thing that I live every day. They understand the pain, frustration, heartbreak, and joy of foster care in a way that few people in my daily life do.
Social media gets a bad rap for portraying a level of perfection that is unattainable and unrealistic, but I mostly see a bunch of moms just trying to hang on. Moms like me. I have met some of the most amazing, supportive, helpful, and genuine fellow foster parents online and I am so grateful to have those people in my life, if only virtually.
I would be remiss to not also give credit to my “real life” village. To my mom, who conveniently retired around the time we began fostering. She is there for every sick day, snow day and random holiday when daycare is closed. To my dad, who watched our foster son (who of course got sick) while we were away for an entire week. To my younger sister, who spent the first six weeks after graduating college as our full-time nanny while we struggled to find a daycare with infant availability. And to my older sister, who had such a bond with our former foster daughter, that time spent with her was an incentive for good behavior.
Then there is the support of my friends. One of my best friends is a kindergarten teacher and always brings the best gifts and activities for our children. And another friend who conveniently works for Lego and brings some amazing gifts, too. To the friends that have kids and can offer advice and the friends that don’t but let me vent anyway. To the Jake’s Kids community for welcoming me aboard and my in-laws who live out of state but are always invested in our foster children, even the ones they never had the chance to meet.
I’m so lucky to have my village nearby but also grateful that pieces of my village expand to New York, Texas, Indiana, Michigan, and California among other places.
To my village: all of you, everywhere, thank you.