Cliques. We all hated them. We all wanted to be a part of one. Even if it was just with one other human with similar characteristics as ourselves. Just because this term may hold a negative meaning as being utterly exclusive and often alienating to those the group deemed unworthy of their attention, it shows a primal part of our human nature. To want to belong. A desire to be surrounded by those who think similarly and who can support you in your decisions based on the fact they often make the same ones. In the mumma world the word clique holds a bit harsh of a meaning but instead they are often referred to as ‘your tribe’.
Before having children I did not quite understand this concept, but after having two I can say that I now see the importance of finding and making the most of this so-called ‘tribe’. Some may envision this as baby wearing, breast feeding (uncovered), hair flowing, no-sugar-allowed women singing in a circle, their children happily frolicking in the grass and their babies suckling soundly at their non saggy breasts. Could this be further from the truth?
As a new mum, or an experienced one, I truly believe finding your tribe, as silly as that sounds, is an important part of motherhood. All of us will raise our children a little bit differently. There are so many decisions to make from birth to empty nest that no one parent will ever make all of the same choices, but many of us are similar in a majority of areas and these other mums are your tribe. I have found the support of other women, in the same walk of life and coming to some of the same conclusions (which means dealing with many of the same issues), to be invaluable at many points of my journey into and through motherhood. And sometimes all you need is to chat with a fellow Mum and know that a hot topic won’t arise that causes awkwardness or another tiring debate/discussion. When in the company of your tribe you can rest and know that, yes you may disagree with certain things, but with most you are in agreement, keeping it a safe haven for you and them.
The beauty of today is that even if you feel that no one around you physically is dealing with the same things you can always find online groups dedicated to a cause where you need support. No one else around you exclusively pumping? Find a facebook group or your local la leche league meetings. On the other end of the spectrum, are you alone trying to figure out tandem feeding (breastfeeding two children at once), again get online to discover a world of women battling the same problems willing to reach out and help!
My tribe is made up of older women who have walked this road before, close friends I have known personally for a long time (not all close friends have to be part of your tribe), local women who I occasionally visit and chat peacefully with, women who I connected with online who have become close but who I may have never met face to face, and groups of ladies who post their questions and get support answers online. As you can see my tribe varies but it is strong and well rounded. I know that when I have a difficult day I can either visit with my local friends, take my little guy and girl down to the early years for female support or just hop online and post a question to a set of women I know can honestly sympathize and support. THIS is what you need.
So what does a tribe look like? No hippie circles here…unless that is you :). Tribes are made up of mothers, often tired and sleep deprived who are working, staying at home, cooking dinner, ordering out, cloth diapering, buying stock in disposables, formula feeding, pumping, exclusively breastfeeding, tired of feeding multiple children, feeding older children real food, still in sweats by dinner, in full hair and make up by breakfast, joyful in their parenting, struggling with depression, enjoying the benefits of school, enjoying the benefits of homeschool, raising their children in a faith, keeping faith at arms length, single mums, blended families, drinking coffee pregnant and mothers who let their toddlers sip from theirs. Should I go on?
Your tribe will look a lot like you, which may or may not look a lot like me.
Mothering is hard work and we too often doubt ourselves and our choices. But when we reach out and find out so many are making the same ones it holds us up as we walk that path, knowing we won’t be alone when the issues arise.
Take time for you, and take time to find your tribe. Have the relationships ready, have your circle surrounding you (they may not even know they are your support quite yet), have your common bonds identified so that when you need to be encouraged or encourage another you can right away and without a doubt that these women will know exactly where you are coming from and offer earnest and knowledgeable help.
You may already be in someone else’s tribe 🙂