Build Your Village

By: Mia L. Hazlett

“I’m a strong independent black woman. I don’t need a man.” I spouted this ignorance to create a portrait of I’m not sure what, so many times. Not only am I unsure of my reasoning, but I honestly feel it was so others would think I had my shit together, when I didn’t. But I’ve come to discover, bravado is wonderful in the absence of humility.

I say this because it was a lie. At my weakest, I became dependent. I am not gay and want to be in a relationship, so therefore to do that I need a man. The funniest part about that saying, I’ve heard it said by tons of women, who are either in a relationship with a man or hunting for a man to be in a relationship with.
So, when I became a “single mother”, yet another saying I hate, I didn’t know what to do. I was so hurt and distraught, I initially fell to familiar, “strong” and “independent” thing. My mindset began to change when I realized, with a tad more humility, a touch of vulnerability, and a hint of dependence on others, I wasn’t a single mother anymore, I was a single-income household. You see being a single mother is a choice. Being a single-income household is not a choice. There is a difference.

Obviously, I have people who disagree with me, but I that’s their prerogative. I get some people don’t have family. I get some people may not have many friends. You see, my village went beyond my family and friends. Besides my closest friends, I fell vulnerable to my children’s teachers. I opened up to them about what my family was going through. Letting them into our world allowed an open communication between us, which only benefited my children.

My advice to you, if you’ve recently separated from that second income and you don’t understand how you’re going to support yourself and take care of your children, establish your village.

1. Make a list of people who you can trust and feel comfortable being vulnerable in front of.
2. Ask for help, whether it be with your kids, finances, or just find someone you can talk to about how you’re feeling with your circumstances.
3. Make a plan for how you are going to financially survive on your one income.
4. Don’t feel the need to lie about your circumstances. You will find your village will grow once you are honest and let people in.
5. If people in your village can’t watch your children, see if they may know someone who can handle your childcare needs.

Overall, you need to get comfortable asking for help, but most importantly, accepting it. Good luck building your village!!!!!

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