I remember when my daughter was born I was sort of floating in this void of “What the hell do I do now?” I hadn’t planned on having children, so I felt completely lost.
I slowly began to realize that I had automatically become part of a vast community of women who understand every aspect of what I was going through.
I had joined the “Mom Club”.
It was almost as if someone had handed me a badge to commemorate my new status. I was included in conversations about parenthood. I was invited to play dates. I was supported in my struggles.
This is the power of the mom tribe and, even if you don’t think you need one, there are many benefits to having one.
And finding them isn’t difficult – moms are everywhere and it’s almost as if there’s this automatic connection and understanding when you meet.
Your mom tribe doesn’t have to be a close-knit circle of your most trusted confidants. They simply need to be other moms who empathize with your life and can offer you understanding and support.
Why You Should Have a Mom Tribe
While I’m not advocating that you should give up all your independence as a mom and rely on others to help you through the struggles of motherhood, there are benefits to surrounding yourself with other moms.
“It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.”
In the grand scheme of things, mothering should never be done alone. No one person should be expected to carry that entire burden unsupported.
Unfortunately, nowadays, we don’t live in close-knit communities like we used to. We barely know our neighbours and we’re terrified to let our children roam the streets unattended.
That’s why mom tribes are more important now than ever. We don’t have those natural connections anymore, so we need to seek out like-minded moms to create a system of support.
To Remind You That You Are Not Perfect
I know I talk a lot about letting go of perfection when it comes to being a mother, but this is not easy advice to follow.
We, as mothers, naturally default to weighing ourselves down with so many expectations to the point where anything but perfection is automatic failure.
So we definitely need other mothers around us to remind us that none of us are perfect. You need friends that are going through the same struggles you are – and ones that you don’t compare yourself to.
Because Motherhood is Lonely
As soon as you push a baby out of your body, you are immediately on a different wavelength than your non-mom friends.
You’ve entered a stage of your life they will never completely understand – and that’s lonely.
Having other mom friends, who are lonely too, creates a community of understanding and support. They know what it’s like to be isolated, so they can empathize with you.
It Benefits Your Child’s Development
Not only can you benefit from having a mom tribe, but your little ones benefit too.
Babies and children enjoy human interaction and getting as much as possible helps them to learn trust and develop empathy. Plus, variety is the spice of life, so meeting different people gives them more opportunities to learn these things.
And they also have an opportunity to socially engage with your mom friends’ children. Having a mom tribe means having an endless supply of kids for play dates.
Unexpected Places to Find Mom Tribes
If you’re lucky, your mom tribe kind of falls into place. I met my circle of mom friends through work and, although none of us work together anymore, we are still very much involved in each others’ lives.
However, it’s not always that easy.
Even if you don’t come across your mom tribe naturally, there are still ways you can reach out and connect with other moms:
- Library: Many libraries offer free programs for children such as story time, toddler activities and other interest groups. Most also have a play area that children can enjoy while moms sit back and chat.
- Playground: Playgrounds are the perfect place to make mom friends. I made friends with a fellow mom because we kept running into each other at the playground! If your kids are little, you can connect with the other moms chasing their littles around. Once your kid is a older, you can make friends on the playground benches.
- Volunteer: Your child’s school likely has many volunteering opportunities, whether it’s working in the cafeteria or library. You could potentially make some mom friends while volunteering at your kid’s school.
- Peanut App: This app was developed by a mom named Michelle Kennedy who was struggling to meet like-minded moms. The Peanut App connects mothers who want to meet and chat.
- Birthday Parties: I’ll be honest, I dread birthday parties. Nine times out of ten I know none of the other parents. As awkward as this is, I try to use this opportunity to talk to and connect with other moms. You never know, there may be another mom there solo as well!
- Mommy and Me Classes: Check out your area for “mommy and me” classes such as baby sign language, infant massage, gym classes or music classes. These are great places to meet fellow moms!
As you can see, finding your mom tribe means getting out in the world. This could be difficult, however, if you are uncomfortable in large groups of people.
Never fear! Here are some ideas for meeting moms if you’re an introvert:
- Take advantage of online communities. You can use online communities, such as Facebook, to get to know other moms before meeting them.
- Bring the party to you. Sometimes bringing people into your space can be more comfortable than going somewhere unfamiliar. Invite moms and their kids over for play dates.
- Meet your kids’ friends’ moms. In this case, your kid has already done half the work! Use your little one’s friendships to connect with other moms.
This all may seem like a systematic way to force mom friendships, but these situations are merely opportunities to meet other moms. You’d be surprised how many of these meetings naturally develop into a friendship!
A Word on Boundaries Within Your Mom Tribe
Okay, we’re going to head to the dark side for a moment, because there is a caveat to having a mom tribe that can be easily avoided.
Beware the “Taker”. This is the mom that takes a mile when you give her an inch – she will take advantage of your kindness.
Whether she does it knowingly or not, these are imbalanced friendships and can cause more harm than good. The “Taker” is not a malevolent individual – she is simply needy and opportunistic.
While you don’t need to avoid the “Taker” altogether (they can make great friends!), what you need to do is recognize the signs and establish your boundaries by being straightforward about the ways you are willing to help and learning to say “no”.
Here are some signs of the “Taker”:
- Regularly asks you for frivolous favours, such as watching her kids so she can go to the store.
- Is quick to offer her assistance, but uses this as leverage when asking for your help.
- Makes you feel guilty when you decline to help.
I’ve dealt with a “Taker” and, trust me, they can be exhausting and frustrating if you don’t put your foot down early in the friendship. Otherwise, she was a great and supportive friend!
The Importance of Non-Mom Friends
When you do find your mom tribe, it is crucial that you do not leave your non-mom friends behind. These people are just as important in your life as fellow mothers.
Even though you’re part of the “mom club” doesn’t mean these friends are obsolete.
The friends you had before you entered motherhood are a key part of your true identity. Yes, you may not see yourself as “mom” but they see you for who you truly are. Having them in your life will help you to remember that.
Also, there is no competition with non-moms. Since you’re on different wavelengths, comparing your lives is like comparing apples to oranges. You can appreciate each other’s struggles without worrying about being one-upped or judged.
I know maintaining non-mom friendships can be a struggle but, if your friend is really your friend, they’ll stick around.
You just have to remember that these are not moms and they probably don’t want to hear all about your mom woes in fine detail – save this for your mom tribe.
Do try and include your non-mom friends in your child’s life. My best friend is my child’s “aunt” and very involved in her life, even though she has no kids of her own.
Do You Vibe With a Mom Tribe?
I want to hear all about your mom tribe! How did you meet? How do you guys connect?
Let me know in the comments!