The Importance of the Mommy Tribe
It’s so important as a parent to have a “mommy tribe.” Parenting is hard. It’s undoubtedly the toughest job I’ve ever had. And I love it, and I love my family. And I really love the small boy in my life. He gives me a run for my money every single day. He’s so sweet, and so kind-hearted. His hijincks are legendary. And, he isn’t even three yet!
Every stage and age has its trials and its joys. When he was a baby, we had a tough time nursing. He and I both cried an awful lot until everything came together at around 4 months. I remember sitting up late, working so hard to get him to nurse, tears streaming down my face while my husband snored away in the next room. It was so hard!
I need to step in for a minute here to state that my husband continues to be the most amazing parenting partner. He’s so incredible at engaging with our son… and always has been. But that didn’t stop me from resenting the hell out of him while he slept… well, like a baby, while I was up half the night with ours. I’m still the first to wake up to our little one’s cries, but they say that’s the biology of being a mom.
Back to the mommy tribe. As a parent, it’s so important to find a group of people who perhaps have similar parenting philosophies, but more importantly kids that are roughly the same age. Within a few years or so. The only people that will truly get the hard days are the people who have walked in those shoes. But, I think, people with older kids forget what it’s like in the moment. Because their kids are on to other things. Other challenges that are making them go gray. I’m pretty sure it never ends.
And the pain of making friends with other parents is real. It can feel so lonely until you find your tribe, especially before your kid is old enough to do much. It’s so worth it though. I call it a mommy tribe, but really, your mommy tribe can be any caregivers – moms, dads, even nannies or grandparents. Anyone actively involved with the day-in-day-out tasks of raising kids.
Your mommy tribe will be there for you through the myriad ups and downs. Having a rough day? They’ll show up with wine. Or, maybe a Facebook chat session while you each drink wine in your own respective homes. They’ll talk you down from the ledge of sanity your child is urging you towards with their insane behaviors. They’ll give you hugs when you need one. Or when your child spikes a nasty fever, and your myriad thermometers are hiding in a box somewhere because unpacking everything isn’t yet on your priority list. Your mommy tribe will show up on your porch with a thermometer and pedialyte, so that you don’t have to tow your sick little one to the store. (True store – this happened last night.)
If you need a sanity break – a hair cut, a massage, or a rare dinner date with your honey – your mommy tribe will come to your rescue. They’ll let you drop off your darling child for an hour or two, or an afternoon, no questions asked. Your mommy tribe will jump in at the playground, when your kid is throwing rocks, or being a little too pushy or rough. Because they know you’ve got their back too.
You may not always see eye to eye with everyone in your mommy tribe. But you don’t need to, because what matters is that you’re there for each other. To save each other’s bacon when the parenting frying pan starts to heat up. And they’ll help you not feel so alone when your child is the one throwing a tantrum at the playground, at the zoo, or even at their own party.
So how do you find your own mommy tribe. That, my dears, is the hardest part. Maybe you’re lucky and several of your friends have young kids. But if you are the first of your friends to have kids, you know that everything changes. Overnight. And your other friends still have their normal kid-free adult lives. Or if you move to a new town where you don’t know anyone, it’s not easy to find friends. So maybe you find your mommy tribe at new parent groups. Or maybe you join a Hike it Baby outing or find a local babywearing group. Or maybe you strike up a conversation at the grocery store with another mom. And you say “I hope this isn’t weird, but can we be friends?” You’re not alone. And you will find your mommy tribe. Hugs to you as you find your way through parenthood. It’s not easy, but a mommy tribe makes it better.