In this episode, I discuss the show Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu featuring Reese Witherspoon as Elena Richardson and Kerry Washington as Mia Warren with Jenaye Arbelo-Figueroa, Ann Givens, & Carmelita Rogers.
*Disclaimer: If you haven’t watched/finished the show, there are spoilers in this episode!
A village is a group of like-minded people who care enough about each other to hold one another accountable, be truly vulnerable, celebrate each other, and raise your children. Each person can help you self-reflect, even when it’s hard to hear, but you always know they are doing it out of love. It’s the people you intentionally are doing life with!
As the show opens, Elena, a white woman in a predominantly white, wealthy small town, seems to have a village, or at least a group of friends. She is prim and proper, has a lawyer husband, and has everything perfect. Mia, a black woman and single mother, on the other hand, is shown living in her car with her daughter and they live a nomad lifestyle. Originally, Elena calls the cops on Mia, but then feels bad and rents out her other home to Mia. Their children quickly become friends and things start happening.
If Elena had a village, we’re not sure she would have allowed input or accountability because she had to shine and be #1. If Mia had a village, she would have probably done a lot better. Because her mother disowned her for pursuing an art career, she had to figure everything out all by herself. Having a village would have allowed her to feel loved in the way she was desiring.
Elena’s two daughters, Lexie & Izzy, both want their mother’s love, but go about it in different ways. Izzy as the fourth child, was an unexpected pregnancy because Elena had wanted to go back to work and pursue her career dreams. Elena never really let that go and always resented her daughter that her dreams were not fulfill. Izzy grows up rebelling and trying to win her mother’s attention by doing the opposite of what her mother wants her to. She’s also post-losing her best friend/girlfriend, so she has lost all of her security out of her home. She is an outsider at school and now in her family too.
Lexie, on the other hand, does exactly what her mother expects of her and will do anything to make sure she is “perfect.” She is willing to steal, lie, bully, and say whatever she needs to say to be the girl on top in her school, friendships, relationships, schooling, sibling, etc.
Mia’s entire life was about Pearl. As a surrogate, she was always supposed to give up her daughter to a married couple that were unable to have kids. But she instead, after losing her brother, her lover, and being disowned by her mother, Mia lied about miscarrying the baby and ran away. She selfishly needed one person to be there for her when no one else was. Maybe with a village, things would have been different for Mia and her decision may have changed.
Because of this, Mia and Pearl were always moving around from town to town. There was never any stability for Pearl as a child, so when they arrived in Shaker Heights, she was amazed by all the beautiful things about this community.
What we’re seeing with both Mia and Elena is a lack of community. They didn’t have people to mourn, celebrate, and be vulnerable with. But there is value beyond just the mothers having people to do life with. As a child, I found so much value in having a village because I could go to other women when I didn’t want to go to my mother. In having that like-minded group of people around me, my mother knew the women around us would give wisdom to me when I did go to someone else. There is benefit for the entire family when you are surrounded by a village.
Yvette: Motherhood can be the biggest identity thief, but I am not a victim. It benefits my children that I pursue my dreams so I can maintain what separates me from mom and wife. Protect those pieces of yourself in motherhood.
Jenaye: What you think it right is not necessarily what everyone else thinks is right. Take things for what they are for individual people and not just for you. Ultimately everyone was doing the best that they could with what they have, and some people don’t grow past what they have.
Ann: We can mess our kids up if we don’t take time to self-reflect or we can do really beautiful things in our kids.
Carmelita: Teach your children the importance of self worth. They have a voice, and they should know who they are.
Hey, hey! I'm Yvette!
I'm a thirty-four year old wife, mother of four, podcast host, and writer from San Diego, California. I'm a former math teacher turned stay-at-home parent and influencer with the unique opportunity to bring women into community with one another and encourage them in their seasons of life through my podcast, Yvette, Unplugged and my online community, Women, Unplugged.
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