A Love Letter To My Mom Tribe
It’s been harder for me to make friends in my adult life, but I’ve never been more vulnerable than when I became a mother. I had access to at least three new mommy friends with children not too much older than my daughter around the time I was pregnant and I thought I was all set. Then, a woman I had been Internet friends with, my best friend from college (one of the three mommy friends I mentioned), and a random mommy whom I taught pole dancing lessons took it upon themselves to add me to some mommy groups online and it changed my experience as a new mom.
I was weird about it at first because, again, I thought my tribe was all set, but I’m actually happy they connected me with so many other mothers who understand what I go through. Sometimes you want to vent to and get advice from people you know, but it also helps to be able to do that with complete strangers. My digital mom tribes have allowed me to vent about everything from stroller drama to that time my husband thought it was cute to eat my chicken wings without judgment.
Some of the women in these groups have been local and some far away, but my fellowship with women in mom groups has turned into real-life brunches, lunches, at-home play dates, girls trips, and a welcome escape from feeling like I’m the only one struggling. Without my mom tribe, it would have taken me longer to find a good daycare for my daughter. Without my mom tribe, I wouldn’t have known about 3k and where some of the good schools are as I enter a new phase of mommyhood with my daughter turning three this summer and getting closer to school age. Applying to schools is another situation that’s even worse than the madness of daycare but it’s good to be surrounded by like-minded women who will give me good, sound advice on how to keep myself sane, healthy and happy while raising a healthy and happy child.
The most important thing to do when you’re apart of mom groups is to learn how to balance which groups are most beneficial to you. Initially, I was part of several but have narrowed it down to four because they had the most active communities. Two out of those four groups actually meet up in person with and without the children so that has been helpful too. I found moms who cosplay, moms who are into dance, who are into comics and music and generally share similar interests and goals with regard to how we take care of ourselves as well as our children. I also feel better about setting up playdates for my daughter because I might be a one and done mom. (That’s another story so I digress.)
Most recently, a friend of mine who isn’t a mom asked me about how to set her friend who is a new mom in another state up with other mothers because she has been feeling lonely. Word of mouth is a good place to start when it comes to finding your mom tribe. Other people, who may or may not be parents, may have heard of groups or have friends who talk about groups that can be beneficial. It’s also good to search on Facebook for terms that include your area + mom and you will certainly find something. I’m part a group for Black moms who live in Brooklyn, and I’m also a part of a group of moms who attended the same college as me and while I didn’t know all of the women in each respective groups, the familiarity of the geographical or educational thing we had in common made me feel more at ease. Through it all, I still maintain relationships with my friends who don’t have children and I hope that should they become mothers at some point, they would know through me that they can find support systems in and through me.
This is a love letter to all the moms who have ever given me advice, brought your child to play with mine, or simply listened, even when I may have been being irrational. Mom Tribes Matter. I hope you find yours.