My Village Lives with Me

We all know the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well in my world, my village lives with me.

Growing up in traditional Asian homes (Vietnamese on my side and Laotian on my husband’s side), we lived with our villages. For me, my grandma helped raise us, and my husband had most of his family (uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents) live with him throughout his youth.

Our families helped support each other in every way possible, including living under the same roof. At times, there are two to three generations in one household. Our cultures have passed these traditions for longer than I’ve been alive. Growing up I was taught that the eldest son takes care of his parents to repay what they did to raise the family. I grew up understanding that you don’t put your parents in a nursing home unless you absolutely have to. You take on the responsibility of helping them in your own home because that is the respectful thing to do.

These traditions are still observed in America, but they have been modernized to fit newly created traditions. I’ve seen the adult children move into their parents’ home with their family or parents move into the oldest child’s home. There are also parents who rotate between multiple adult children’s homes.

One of the main reasons this still happens is to help raise their grandkids while their adult children work outside the home.

Growing up, I was very close to my grandma. She taught me many things and was the disciplinarian in the household while my parents were working. She cooked for us, made sure we bathed, and helped us stay on schedule with our school work. My husband grew up the same way with his uncles and grandparents helping his parents out.

My Village Lives with Me | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo Credit:  Whims and Joy Photography}

Part of my village moved in with us almost four years ago and this has been a blessing. How many families get to say that their village lives with them? My kids wake up to see at least one grandparent every day and go to sleep saying good night to at least one grandparent.

This may be something new you have or have not heard of or seen before, but for Asian families, this has been going on for centuries. This is what I grew up with. Why do you do it? Why does it work? Well one, it helps save financially. Secondly, I believe it helps pass on cultural traditions on to the next generation.

Grandparents have the right (in my opinion) to spoil those grandkids as much as they want, but the hard part is when you live and see them 24/7. Where is the line? Are there boundaries? Set expectations so there is no confusion on how the parent(s) want to raise them. The ultimate responsibility is mine at the end of the day to ensure the growth and safety of my children.

We are blessed to have our village with us every single day. Not everyone has that support and I am so grateful for it. I don’t know how we would have survived going from having one to three sons in a 20-month period without the love, support, and daily help we get.

My village is important. When my kids get older, they will appreciate the time they have had growing up with their village. Their presence has already started to shape how the boys see the world, and I don’t want that to change.

My village may not be there every day for the rest of their lives, but I am thanking my lucky stars that they are here now. The early years make the difference as they are learning at a rapid pace. My kids have the best of both worlds right now with our love and their village’s love day in and day out.

It’s not easy all the time, not going to lie, but when I think back to what it’s all about…

…My baby boys…

My heart is always about to burst with pride and love for my village. You all have helped them become the little men they are today. You will always be an influence to how they see and interact with the world in the future.

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