There’s so much talk these days about “mom tribes.” What does that even mean exactly?
Just for fun, I plugged the word “tribe” into Google. Here’s what I got: “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.”
I chuckled at some of the characteristics but in many ways, this is a relatively accurate way to describe moms who have come together to love, support, and encourage each other through a wonderful yet trying time of life.
There are MOPS and BBM groups, church groups, exercise-based groups, hiking groups, and the list goes on. While these groups have their differences, they all have a common theme. If it’s a good fit, the mom picks the group, and the group picks her. It feels like home and meets some part of our innermost needs of belonging.
When my daughter was born four and a half years ago, I went from working full time to staying at home. I transitioned from being surrounded by a group of people who did the same thing I did day in and day out to being around just one person who I was just getting to know. Oh, and my dog.
As we got in the swing of things, we started play dates. Looking back, I laugh inside thinking about how easy and glorious those “play dates” were. Once I actually got out the door, which could be a feat at times, my daughter laid on a blanket while I talked with a friend over coffee. Heavenly. I was so fortunate to have a number of friends staying at home like I was, all of them from different parts of my life.
The thought dawned on me one day to bring them all together. Why not? Selfishly this would make my life easier. It could be awkward or fail but I was willing to give it a go. After texting with eight different mom friends, I had them all over my house one cold January morning when my first born was just shy of five months old. We sat in a circle, appearing as if we would break out in Kum Ba Yah, but we didn’t. We introduced ourselves, our babies, and a little about ourselves. I threw out my general idea of meeting on a set day and time, rotating houses – with the expectation that there were none. No being on time, no having a clean house, no having homemade pastries on a polished serving dish. We decided we would meet weekly on Tuesday mornings and adjust as needed for nap times as they evolved. Everyone left, and I waited to see.
Fast forward four and a half years. Our group has grown from eight tiny babies to 17 kids, one baby in heaven, several miscarriages, and one new baby due any day. From what started as a group of practical strangers all having just two things in common- knowing myself and being a mom – has grown into a group of women that are the dearest of friends. Or, in mom culture speak, a “mom tribe.” We jokingly dubbed ourselves “MC” for “Mom’s Club,” and it has stuck. We still meet weekly and do monthly nights out with just moms. We share the good, the bad, and the ugly. We laugh, cry and commiserate. We do life.
Do you have a group like this? If not, I have a challenge for you. Be brave and start your own version of MC. What are your needs? Cater it to what will fuel you as a mom. Cater it to your schedule and lifestyle, whether it’s with or without kids present. Entice a group of friends over with coffee one morning or invite a group of friends out for coffee or drinks one night and see what happens. What do you have to lose?