When you become a mother, your life, your lifestyle, your relationships change. Whether you are a stay at home, work from home, return to the workforce kind of mum it doesn’t matter, things (and people) change. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is 100 percent true, but not only for support of the child, but support of the mama too.
The “mom” world can be full of comparison and judgement. Breast vs bottle, baby led weaning vs puree, cloth vs disposable. There is no right or wrong. Its every parent doing their absolute best and working out what is best both for baby and mummy. That’s why finding your mom tribe Is so important. Your mom tribe of friends support your journey no matter what path you choose. These are the friends you can completely be yourself around. The kind that don’t mind if you are 30 minutes late because you had a kid that refused to get dressed or you had a diaper mishap on your way out the door. They understand, they have been there. These are the ladies that won’t look twice when you end up with paint or half chewed cookies all down your front. Heck they won’t even blink an eyelid if you haven’t brushed your hair. They get it. Your mom tribe may not even include your closest circle of friends, but rather mothers whose paths you’ve crossed along the way.
Growing up I lived with aunt in the USA for a year while her children were still very young. I got to know her “mom tribe”, we called them the “mummy mafia” and I saw first-hand how this group of ladies formed bonds across playparks and school classrooms. Over the past 15 years I’ve watched the move through phases, to different schools and graduations. Divorce, Deaths and changes of career, these women have been there for each other through it all. They are the epitome of a “mom tribe” and each other’s family away from family.
Looking back on my journey of motherhood I would say the first year of Aadams life were very different to the past 4 years. I didn’t have a “tribe”, I didn’t take him to any “moms and tots, In fact, looking back, I isolated him a little too much. I think any first time mum can relate to this, I found it quite difficult to coordinate everything: nursing, nap times. I certainly was not a “natural mother” like some of my other friends who seemed to ease into everything. It was hard! Sure I had playdates with friends of similar ages but I don’t remember every doing anything to actively stimulate him (or me). Lets face it though, from newborn to about 6 months you don’t really actively do “playdates”.
Then came our move to the Western Cape, in a new town all alone. I was 7 months pregnant and so desperately wanted my little adventurer to make some friends. Enter my first mom tribe. Our weekly get togethers were so crucial not only for Aadams’ development, but for mine as a mother too. With you first child everything is new! You don’t know about making playdough or stimulation acvities, messy play was a foreign term that I hadn’t even considered! We shared numerous cups of tea, ideas on things to do with the kids, worries of life. These are the friends with whom we may start a conversation via text on Monday and I may not hear back until Friday, but that’s ok. We understand, and we remain constant. 2 years later and a move back home I was left “tribeless again”. With a 1 year old desperate for some additional stimulation I tried various “moms and tots” classes to no avail. Then I stumbled across Adventure Clubs and met up second “Mom Tribe”. We all found ourselves on similar outings, with children on similar ages. All of us trying to balance working from home, motherhood, side hustles to bring in extra income. We all wanted to expand our children’s minds and tried to find alternatives to having them cooped up in classrooms from such a young age.
I am so grateful in my life to have these women. We have lived through the early years of parenting together, when the days were long, and fatigue was strong. My friends that I can completely be myself around. The kind that don’t mind if you are 30 minutes late because you had a kid that refused to get dressed or you had a diaper mishap on your way out the door. They understand, they have been there. These are the ladies that won’t look twice when you end up with paint or half chewed cookies all down your front. They won’t even blink an eyelid if you haven’t brushed your hair. They get it. Your Mom Tribe is more than just finding a group of women… it’s knowing that you have a group of friends that are there through it all.
I’ve been thinking about every single member of my mama tribe lately and how so very lucky I am to have found them. For all the laughs and conversations around “conventions”. Thank you for loving my babies the way you love your own, thank you for lifting me up and for just stepping in and making things easier without being asked. This is a letter of gratitude to every single one of you.
Tips on finding your tribe?
I tried the “moms and babes” classes and never really formed deep connections there, same goes for the ante-natal classes. Though I know a lot of mums who did connect there. I had a few “almosts” with moms of the kids playgroups, amazing ladies but we never really found the time (I’m also to blame). My mom tribes funnily enough came through social media, with all its flaws and scares for helping me find my “mom tribe”. Facebook groups and the adventure clubs app all played a huge role in this and I would highly recommend turning to them for support if you can.