Motherhood can be one of the most isolating jobs on the planet. You are never alone – not even to go to the bathroom most days – yet sometimes the weight of loneliness is so heavy you can barely move. Our minds are racing, our bodies are tired, and our hearts are full. Even if you venture off into the “real world” each day, your most important job is a 24/7 gig. And those tiny bosses sticking their hands under the bathroom door are relentless and unforgiving. Sometimes us moms need someone to talk to that understands how we feel and who has been in our shoes. Every mom needs a mom tribe.
What is a Mom Tribe?
A tribe is defined as:
a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.
But a mom tribe? A mom tribe is so much more. Yes, we are typically a group of women who have a commonality (besides motherhood) that brings us together as a small community. Yes, we are friends who help each other when we can. But there is so much more to being a part of a mom tribe than that.
The women in your mom tribe are people who have the unique ability to understand your experiences as a mother. Your spouse, although good-intentioned, doesn’t often understand what it’s like to be a mother. As the mom, you are often the default parent – the main caretaker for your children – and it can be exhausting. And rewarding. And frustrating. And amazing. Those who are not in your shoes can’t possibly understand the overwhelmingly complicated feelings associated with motherhood.
But those in your mom tribe can. They have gone through the sleepless nights, the toddler temper tantrums in Target, and the bedtime snuggles that make all the crappy stuff during the day melt away. They listen to you vent about whatever struggles you are experiencing and commiserate with stories of their own. They bring you food when you have a new baby, and they don’t judge your messy house and dirty kids. Your mom tribe takes your kids for the afternoon to give you a break and invites you over for dinner when your spouse is out of town. They plan playdates with you and bring wine instead of coffee because they know from your 10 pm text session the night before that you need someone to talk to. Your mom tribe buys stuff from your Stella & Dot or Lularoe party, and supports your efforts to help support your family. They are there to pick up your kids from the bus when you can’t, and they treat your children as their own. You trust them, you love them, and you need them. They trust you, they love you, and they need you. Your relationship with your mom tribe is unique and a force to be reckoned with in your chaotic life.
You’ve had friends, of course. In your younger years you would meet over drinks and talk about your current situation – work, classes, relationships. You may have had a strong connection with your friends, much like your mom tribe. You may even keep in touch with those friends and see them from time to time. The best part about those friends are that you can pick up where you left off. But now, as a mother, your mom tribe is… different. It’s not better or worse, but your mom tribe truly understands your situations.
But how do you go from friends from your previous childless life to your mom tribe? It’s not as easy as it was before. Before you had certain indelible things in common that brought you together naturally – classes, school, work. Now you are in your own bubble, surrounded by others and putting your own needs last. Luckily for us, there are other moms out there that want to build a tribe, and they are waiting for you to join them.
How to Find Your Tribe
Our generation has a tool that our parents didn’t have: social media. Facebook, particularly, is a great way to find other moms that share a common interest with you. A simple search in the toolbar will give you loads of groups for your particular interest and perhaps in your area. Interested in a more natural lifestyle with cloth diapers and organic foods? There’s a Facebook group for that. Looking for some #fitmoms wanting to set up workout playdates? There’s a Facebook group for that. Want advice on food allergies, sleep transitions, fevers, and how to teach your kid to tie their shoes? There’s a Facebook group for that.
However, one of the best ways to find your mom tribe is the good old-fashioned way – in person. Here are a few ways you can get yourself out there in the “mommy-dating world”:
- If you’re ever out on the playground and your child seems to enjoy playing with someone there, strike up a conversation with their mom.
- Ask another mom to have coffee with you after your morning mommy-and-me music class.
- Attend mommy playdates organized by your community – many times communities will offer library story time or playgroups in a community recreation center.
- Check Facebook for any local chapters of groups you may be interested in – fitness, baby wearing, nursing moms, running, etc.
It’s understandable that situations like that can cause some people social anxiety, though. If you tend to feel anxious in new situations such as the ones described above there are a few things you can do:
- Carry a Mommy Card – These are small business cards that have your contact information. If you are feeling nervous about talking to another mom, simply hand her the card and tell her to get in touch if she ever wants to set up a playdate.
- Look from Afar – If you are interested in attending a larger social gathering, watch from the perimeter so you can get a feel of how the group works and what to expect before you join in.
- Make Contact – This is also for larger social gatherings if observing from the outside isn’t possible. Contact the leader of the group you are interested in and ask how meetings usually run so you know what to expect before you show up.
Benefits of Finding Your Tribe
Putting yourself out there to meet other moms will reap huge benefits not only for you, but also for your family. The Mayo Clinic says that having friendships can
increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost your happiness and reduce your stress, and improve your self-confidence and self-worth.
Amazing things can come from finding your mom tribe. Not only will you feel happier because of the inherent benefits of friendship, but you will also gain valuable advice and knowledge. You will laugh, you will learn, and you will have a real adult conversation. You will find yourself snipping at your spouse less because now you have others to vent to that truly understand what you mean when you say you have no time for yourself. Your children will gain friends too, and you will feel happier after spending some time with people who don’t need their noses wiped for them.
As mothers we tend to lose our identity into that of “so-and-so’s mom.” Having a mom tribe helps maintain your sense of self as those around you begin to see you as less of “Jimmy’s mom” and more of “the one with the awesome laugh who makes a killer cup of coffee.”
You’ll know your tribe when you’ve found it. The only thing you might have in common with some of the others in your tribe is that both your kids attend the same swim lessons. And that’s ok. No matter how you find them, they’re yours. And you are theirs. So go out, warrior mamas, and find your tribe if only to hear an adult person’s voice a few times per week.
Do you have a mom tribe? Tell us about it below!
Want other tips on how to make friends? Check out 10 Tips for Making Friends as an Adult here on Daily Mom!