Becoming a mother is a deeply emotional journey and the learning curve is steep and rapid. I was not unprepared. I took every class I could find postpartum and still found myself googling a thousand different oddities that I could not innately come up with solutions for once my babe was born. There are also so many opinions of how we as mothers should parent and I found that I would question myself constantly as I was developing confidence in motherhood.
At first, my babe and I stayed home a lot especially when my husband was still on leave. That time felt very full and we figured things out together. But when he went back to work spending so much time at home started to feel lonely. I craved adult interaction and was curious about how my baby would interact with the world.
So, at three-months postpartum, we decided to go out. I searched online and found a new moms group at Carmel Blue. I decided to try it out. When I arrived, to my surprise there were moms and babes filling the room. I didn’t know this then but many of this woman would become my mom-tribe. At the first circle, I didn’t speak much. Instead, I soaked in the wisdom and questions of these mothers as they discussed what was going on with themselves and their babies that week. Eventually, I opened up too and we found that our babies were going through similar things or that we were using similar parenting styles.
Building a Mom Tribe was not effortless. I had to show up! I had to open up! But when I did, it became one of the best things I did for myself as a mother. If you are looking to form your own Mom Tribe here are a few tips from my experience.
Show up consistently
The Mom Circle that I went to was about an hour walk away from my house. There were many days I dreaded walking over the huge hills. And there were certainly times the warm cozy house won. But in general, I made myself show up. Showing up consistently allowed for natural friendships to form as we all began to experience things together like when our babies first lifted up their bodies in tummy time, crawled, walked, and said their first words. It was great to see the development of the mothers and the babies and how the babies interacted with each other.
Sharing what is going on with you with others who may be in the same place provides an outlet for expression of yourself as a mother and a place for others to provide a bit of advice when needed. I’ve found that the people that allow themselves to be a little bit vulnerable in their motherhood journey tend to make really good friends and are easy to relate to. Finding those points of connection becomes easier when you are able to be real about what is going on and find solutions together. I’m not saying that you should lay out all of your deepest emotions in the first group meeting but open up at your pace and be open to being vulnerable when you need to be.
Sometimes the mom at the park or at the mom circle sitting next to you might be super introverted or may have had an emotional day. Start off just saying “Hi” and see if things open up. If you already have a small group forming suggest places you can go. Perhaps meeting a second time that week at the park could be fun! Go to lunch! Or ask them where they are taking their baby that week. Maybe there is a fun class you both could join in on together. We all tend to get really busy so making things easy on our friends by providing a no-obligation space and time they can meet with you opens the door to more fun experiences together.
It’s ok to be selective
It’s totally ok to not surround yourself with people you don’t jive with. Your Mom Tribe should be fun but not forced. And, it can be small groups of people who share common interests with you. The important thing is to feel good when you are around the people you are spending time with. If a potential mom-friend drains too much of your energy or makes you feel bad about yourself they probably aren’t a good fit and it’s ok to limit interaction with that person. Find people that make you feel supported and will have your back if your baby gets hurt and you need a hug or will celebrate with you if your baby does something amazing.
Going from Lost Mom to Confident Mom could not have happened without the support of my Mom Tribe. I’m forever thankful to my friends who have been with me through this journey so far and I’m excited to see what happens next. I sincerely hope this helps anyone trying to build friendships with other Moms (or Dads) around them and that everyone finds that place of support in parenting. Good luck finding your Mom Tribe!