When I was pregnant, everyone gave me advice or told me horror stories. Other moms. Well-meaning strangers. The mailman. I felt like I was in a vortex of advice about everything from how long I should breastfeed my child to whether I should cloth diaper, and IT WAS EXHAUSTING.
By the time my son arrived, I was done listening to advice. I was tired. The house was a mess. I suffered from anxiety. And Mama Google was my best friend. Note: Mama Google was NOT my best friend when I would search for things like baby rash at 3 a.m. and discover that my child was in jeopardy of paralysis or death if I didn’t get it treated RIGHT THAT SECOND. But I digress…
That first year was spent figuring out what it meant to be a mom and looking for my mom tribe. I so desperately wanted friends to have playdates with and ask questions that yielded real answers (I’m looking at you, Mama Google). I found a group of ladies to spend time with, but it was never a true fit. I made a few real friends, but overall, the group lacked substance and meaning.
I read article after article about mom tribes. I prayed. I reached out. I read books that insisted that mom tribes were essential on our journey of motherhood, and the more I read, the more alone I felt.
None of my closest friends had kids. Our son is the only baby anywhere in the family. And while it’s fine having mom friends who have ‘been there, done that,’ I was really searching for other moms who were in the trenches with me. Friends who would cheer me on and not judge me for not taking a shower for the third day in a row. Friends who would understand when I said I just couldn’t because I was at the end of my rope. Friends who just got me.
When our son was 18 months old, I strengthened friendships with a few other 20-something year old moms who had kids the same age. I hadn’t attempted to pursue these ladies as my tribe because we’re spread out across the country, and in my mind, mom tribes = playdates and girl’s nights.
We started a group text message, and slowly, we built up trust and understanding. Together, we’ve gone through miscarriages, pregnancies, traveling husbands, messy homes, family struggles, grief, buying and selling houses, and the tough day-to-day stuff. We make each other video messages, “meet up” over video chat, and have a couple in-person events we get to see one another at throughout the year.
These women are my heart. I madly love my husband and son, but I still need my people.
And let me add that my tribe isn’t all just like me. I think that’s important. But we all have a common goal- to love our families well. Our conversations have an easy ebb and flow from deep to trivial.
So let me leave you with this. I don’t want this to be just another mom tribe article that leaves you feeling like you’re alone and still without those people who you’ve been searching so desperately to find. Your people are out there. Broaden your scope. And remember that mom tribes take awhile to find and build. It may mean trial and error. Don’t give up the hunt. It’s worth it. And if you get tired of searching, give me a call. I would be happy to get together for coffee. We’re all in this crazy, messy journey of motherhood together.