Finding Your Mom Tribe

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IMG_8150When 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.
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Katie is a Butler University graduate, who was lucky enough to meet her husband the third day of college. After graduating as one of Butler’s top 10 women, she went on to do Teach for America; South Carolina. She was a second grade teacher in a school with a high Hispanic population and loved every second of it. Never intending to be a stay-at-home parent, she worked until the day before she gave birth, took one look into her son’s eyes, and decided she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom after all. After re-prioritizing upon the birth of their son, Katie and her husband decided to move back to Indianapolis to be closer to family. She recently graduated with her master’s degree in education. She loves to cook, celebrate holidays, watch movies, party plan, travel the world, take walks, and play with her Border Collie. You will likely find her seeking adventure, hunting for bargains, helping others get healthy through her passion as a health coach, or cuddling on the couch with her hubby, baby, and puppy. If you’re interested in reading more about her crazy adventures, check out her personal blog, A Quinning Love.