Mommy Tribe: A small group of women united by the ties of motherhood and friendship. Members of the tribe often share similar parenting beliefs and hold similar values. Babysitting each others children for free, bringing food when a fellow’s family suffers from illness or a family death, and monthly or bi-monthly gatherings sans children plus rich foods and occasionally alcohol are generally givens in such communities. Consistent communication and weekly or bi-weekly meet ups are often pivotal for the Tribe’s success as a healing and helpful community that maintains members sanity and for the survival, social development, and well being of members’ heathens children.
We’ve all heard the phrase “it takes a village” in reference to raising children, but we often forget that it’s not just the children who need more than their parents; we need more than our children.
“GASP! What are you SAYING, Kristen!? My children are MY LIFE! I would DIE for them! I don’t need ANYTHING more than my family!”
You’re a liar, and you know it.
Yes, our families are our lifeblood.
Yes, they are often the most important earthly relationships we foster and care about, but they’re not the only relationships we need, and they’re definitely not the only relationships we should be tending to and seeking out.
I’m talking about your Mommy Tribe.
You need a Mommy Tribe.
The hard part is finding your Mommy Tribe members. I don’t think there’s any surefire list of ways to find these women, but here’s five places to search for them. Just remember:
Kindness + Support + Chatting = Friendships
Finding Your Tribe: Where to Look
1. The friends you already have.
So many women complain about how their friends without kids just don’t get it when it comes to being a mom, and while I can definitely see ways in which that’s true, I think many of us dismiss our non-mom friends too quickly.
Pre-pregnancy, I had mainly two women in my life who were consistently around to support me and have much needed evenings of wine, pizza, and Cards Against Humanity or Pinterest crafts that often failed miserably (which made it all the more hilarious half a bottle in) or dancing at piano bars. Alicia, Stephanie and I were dubbed “The Trinity” by a coworker, and we thought the name was so hilarious that it stuck.
My Trinity Sisters morphed into the first part of my Mommy Tribe when Alicia battled through a horrendously heartbreaking adoption for her little girl. Whether it was crying together after work, participating in or creating fundraisers to help raise money to cover adoption costs and court fees, or bringing over a bottle of wine to celebrate when the courts finally spoke in the best interest of the child, we fought together for her child, and the success was as sweet for Stephanie and I as it was for Alicia.
Then, Stephanie and I became pregnant around the same time, and we bonded through all of the horrendous and beautiful changes happening in our bodies and the subsequent joy that birth brings.
They were the first friends to visit us in the hospital after Lucas was born. They were the first friends Lucas had. We say they’re cousins and call each other Aunts because that is the depth of love and involvement we have in each others’ lives. It’s been incredible watching them grow and change together, adding more to our brood as time goes on. We cover babysitting when it’s needed and bring each other hugs (and wine) when life starts to feel like too much, and we bring our spinning worlds back to center just by being with one another.
2. The mothers you meet during pregnancy.
I used to teach high school English with my Trinity Sisters, so when they went back to work and I stayed at home, my Tribe had to expand. It was so lonely being home all day, just the two of us, with no motivation to go anywhere or do anything. Lucky for me, I had three women who I met in my Bradley Method birthing class who were also on maternity leave around the same time as I was! Tonya and Leslie and I didn’t get together a lot, but we do as often as we can. It’s so awesome to see these boys grow up with Lucas and to maintain that friendship we started when they were all still little beans growing in the womb. We’ve grown as moms together too, and I love that we text or call each other for parenting advice!
My other pregnancy buddy, Brooke, had her son a few months after I had Lucas. I met Brooke at water aerobics class (she was the instructor) during my pregnancy. Thanks to the pelvic diastasis (early separation of my pelvic bones) that set in around 13 weeks, I started taking water aerobics classes to ease the pain and build strength. (Water is magic when you’re pregnant. If you haven’t tried it, DO.) Brooke became pregnant a few months after I did, and we too bonded through our pregnancies. Later on, she pushed me to get back to exercising by encouraging me to walk a 5K with her when Lucas was 7 months old. We’ve done that 5K together each year since.
While she was on maternity leave for work, the two of us walked the mall together, babies in tow, just to get out of the house and talk to someone who could talk back. It was a sanity saver and always the push I needed to leave the house during the day (because if you’re not yet aware, leaving the house with an infant is quite a production). It was at the mall that I met the majority of the rest of the women who would later expand into the rest of my Mommy Tribe.
3. Soon-not-to-be-strangers at the mall. Go walk the mall. Use the Mother’s Rooms available to you there.
The Von Maur (upscale department store in the Midwest) Mother’s Room is an excellent place to meet new moms. I know it’s so awkward to start up conversations with strangers, but there’s something about motherhood that allows us to lose our normal inhibitions and share our sympathies about projectile vomiting or blowouts or offer advice on awesome nursing bras or your favorite bottles (milk or wine, whichever) with other moms. I met my friend Suzanne asking about her fancy stroller in the Von Maur Mother’s Room. From there, Suzanne introduced me to her Mommy Tribe, who she met by attending classes at Gymboree with her infant. I also met a momma in the Mother’s Room because I opened the door to find her double pumping in front of the door, and I congratulated her on doing something so awesome for her kid. I invited her to a playdate with me and the moms I met through Suzanne, and her initiation into the Mommy Tribe was complete.
4. Attendants of classes centered around babies or aspects of motherhood.
Gymboree offers a free trial class to anyone with a kid. Go try it. From infancy to school age, it’s a great place to meet other local moms. I was able to meet a few other moms this way when attending a class with Suzanne. Our local libraries also do a free story time, which is a few stories and songs followed by free play afterward. We’ve also met a lot of friends that way! My cousin does music classes with her daughter and also recommended them for getting to meet other moms and kiddos.
Breastfeeding USA has support group meetings in our area a few times a week in different places. I never seemed to be able to get my butt out of bed let alone the door on time for any of these morning meetings. I finally did make it to a meeting once, and there, I met Emily, whose baby was born on the same day as mine. I found out she also used cloth diapers and was struggling with her wash routine. I offered to come help her figure it out, and after going to lunch with her for free guacamole day at Moe’s Southwest Grill after the meeting, I went to her house to help her out. We’ve been friends ever since. We see each other weekly, usually, and have gone to MommyCon together the past two years, too. This is my friend I mentioned before who donated milk for Lucas when I stopped responding to the pump. Emily has played such a pivotal role in my Mommy Tribe for me, taking care of me and my son more times than I can count.
5. Workers at or frequenters of stores centered on kids gear and clothes.
I wanted a part time job to have some spending money and to get out of the house by myself a few days a week, so I started working part time at a small kids’ retail and resale clothing store. My coworkers, Leah and Brittany, were also moms, getting out of the house for the same reasons, and we became friends. We became even closer friends after we all left said job. As stay at home moms, we get together or help each other out as often as possible. We gather for play dates, go to the park, bring each other lunch, and even push each other to meet fitness goals by suffering and complaining together!
We are constantly chatting together in a group message on Facebook Messenger (titled “Mommy Tribe” actually) about anything and everything. It’s akin to passing around notes or a notebook in middle school, and it’s gloriously refreshing. When your entire day centers around the needs of someone else, it’s a needed break to talk about something other than Daniel Tiger. Sometimes it’s a necessary break to talk about how much you hate Caillou.
In the end, your Mommy Tribe isn’t necessarily women you see every day or even every week. It’s the women who surround you with love and support in real life. Facebook and chat friends are great, don’t get me wrong, but you need IRL friends too. (That’s “in real life” friends for those of you who don’t speak internet nerd like I do.)
Mommy friends can bring you soup when you and your kid are sick (thanks, Melissa, Rachel, and Suzanne) or rich foods, cards, and a personalized picture frame when your dog and grandmother die in the same week (thanks, Leah, Emily, Alicia, and Stephanie). Tribe members watch your kid so you can get fertility testing done or get a crown replaced or even to see the newest Jurrasic Park movie (thanks, Leah, Emily, Alicia, and Stephanie). Sometimes your tribe includes your family like your sister who watches your son while you go to a concert (thanks, Anna) or your cousin who is consistently there to help you with parenting advice (thanks, Chelsea) or your neighbor who watches your kid while you take your dog to the emergency vet or lets you toss your kid over the fence a few times a week to play with her kid while you have a break (thanks, Rachel). They meet you at the park or invite you to their home and give your kid some much needed social interaction with someone other than you (thanks to everyone in my tribe on this one).
They are your wine fairies and gift bearers and women who share their talents with you by designing your signature graphic and photography watermark or teaching you how to better take care of yourself or showing you how to can peaches or make salsa or decorate a wedding cake (thanks, Haley, Suzanne, Brittany). Your Mommy Tribe checks in on you, reaches out to make plans, and then keeps those plans as often as possible. Your Mommy Tribe breaks out into girls night out and goes to Wine and Canvas together or to Cheeseburger in Paradise for chocolate nachos and expensive (but pretty) drinks. They are your sanity suppliers, advice givers, much needed adult conversationalists, and your comrades in arms through this journey of motherhood.
It takes a village to raise our children because we need each others support and advice when we feel like we aren’t enough.
Dream Diapers would like to thank a Momma Tribe for being awesome friends and a great support system. Enter the giveaway by following the directions below to enter to win a $5 gift certificate to Dream Diapers for you and 4 of your Tribe members!
To be eligible for winning this giveaway, you must complete ALL THREE of following tasks:
1. Subscribe to our blog!
Enter your email address in the “Keep in Touch” box at the top right of our blog webpage and hit “Subscribe”.
2. Leave a blog post comment below. Share something nice/helpful that a friend/Mommy Tribe member has done for you lately.
3. Share this post on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram and tag the women who are in your Momma Tribe or who you would like to be in your Momma Tribe. Be sure to tag @DreamDiapers and use the hashtag #MommaTribeGiveaway on any social media post for contest entry!
For Instagram, take a screen shot of the blog title, including the Dream Diapers logo in the photo.
Be sure to complete all three steps to be eligible to win! This giveaway begins today Thursday, September 10th and will close on Wednesday September 16th at 10:00PM EST. Winner will be chosen via Random.org and announced on Thursday September 17th. Good luck!