I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “IT TAKES A VILLAGE”. Well, I’ve experienced raising children with a small village (family a few hours away) and a large village thanks to my neighbors. And let me tell you, a large village makes life MUCH better.
Before my husband and I bought our first home, we lived in a small apartment on the 3rd floor. We knew a few of our neighbors, but never really spoke to them. Then we took the plunge and bought our first home when our son was a year old. The owner of the home had multiple offers, but after finding out that we had a baby she chose us because the family living next to her also had two small children. Who knew that little family next door would now be some of my closest friends and biggest supporters.
We moved in and slowly began to meet our neighbors down our street. We’ve become extremely close to our neighbors that are 2 houses to the left and 3 houses to the right. We were very lucky that most of our neighbors have children the same ages as we do, and even though we are all very different in hobbies, beliefs, and parenting…we all get along and truly enjoy each other’s company.
My neighbors have watched my kids when I’ve been in a bind, helped me move things, lent me and egg or two, texted me when my garage door was open and we weren’t home, picked up an amazon package that was left out in the rain, and so much more. We switch off hosting BBQs, have game nights once the kiddos go to sleep, and have a party for almost every holiday. It’s SO nice to be able to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and then get to walk less than a minute home!
Most days around 4-6pm we find ourselves migrating to our neighbor in the middle’s front yard where after many days of standing and chatting, we decided to add chairs that are there permanently. Our kids play together running from yard to yard, sharing toys, even going in to each others houses at times. And these days when I have my hands full with two babies, my neighbors have come over to hold one or take a walk with me so I can vent about the struggles of motherhood, marriage, and parenting! The women of my neighborhood are a HUGE support system for me as a mom. When I’m questioning myself, need guidance, or simply need to VENT, these ladies are here for me at the drop of a hat. Who needs a therapist? Life without my neighbors would be much harder. We built these relationships by being open to each others views, opinions and lifestyles. We don’t have to agree with each other on everything, but we respect each other.
There are other neighbors on my street that I’m not as close with due to the age difference, but I still know their names and every once in a while will strike up a conversation. I think it’s important to be familiar with everyone so that you can protect your neighborhood if you see something suspicious.
It can be extremely difficult to walk down the street and introduce yourself to a neighbor, but believe me…it’s worth it! Don’t just wave next time you see someone walk by, introduce yourself, and remember their name! Become friends with them on Facebook and swap phone numbers. Don’t be afraid to get personal, because that is how you foster a more than surface level relationship. Build a positive and supportive community where you live!