Today’s post comes to you from Beth Sharpe, founder of Teens, Teaching, And Takeout, a “blowing off steam” blog on the adventures of adult life. Beth is a mom (18 years and running) to two teenage boys, and has been married to her husband for 25 years. She lives in Florida where she teaches first grade.
Here is what she had to say about the importance of Mom Tribes:
Mom Tribe or Mommy Cult?
Mom Tribe — The first time I heard that term, I wasn’t exactly sure what to think. Was a Mom Tribe some kind of club that I had to go through an initiation to get into? Did I have to apply and pay a substantial fee like an exclusive country club? Or was it like a college sorority that I would get rejected from if I didn’t match up with their qualifications?
Actually, a Mom Tribe isn’t any of those things. It has been one of the most beautiful, positive, encouraging experiences that I have had as a mother.
18 years ago, when my older son was born, I was scared. I wasn’t sure of anything about motherhood. My husband and I had moved back to Florida, our home state, on a whim, less than two weeks before the birth of our baby after living in Canada for my husband’s job.
Not A Fairytale
My son was born in mid-October which was one month after 9-11. So trying to get back into the country was a challenge. Here I was, unsure of what was happening with my country, living in a foreign land with a husband that worked endless hours, in a hotel with almost none of my belongings, and eight months pregnant. I wanted to nest but had none of my baby’s items and we only got one television channel which showed a program about the mishaps of birth. It was definitely not a fairy tale.
After settling back into Florida, I learned about a new mommy group that the hospital where our son was born had organized. It met weekly and they brought in specialists in baby-related fields. Having very little knowledge about babies, and very few friends that had babies at this point, I knew this was where I needed to be. The ladies that attended were mostly there to learn, but what really made an impact on me was the other moms.
Mommy Groups Aren’t Just For “New” Moms
The first day I walked into that mommy group, I felt so uncomfortable, literally and figuratively. I didn’t fit into any of my pre-pregnancy clothes. I didn’t have the beautiful baby activity mat like the 30 other moms that had already attended one of these classes. And, I was the new girl. I instantly had flashbacks to middle school trying to find a spot in the cafeteria at lunch time.
I would have turned and walked right out the door never to return if it hadn’t been for the other newbie that walked in behind me. Thank goodness for that girl or I wouldn’t have found my Mom Tribe. She was just as nervous as I was. We gave each other a look of desperate confidence and walked in with our babies.
18 years later, the mommy that walked in with me that day — and four other moms from that class — are my dearest friends. We are that Mom Tribe that I didn’t even know I needed so many years ago and that all moms need when we have little ones, and even when our kids are growing up.
My two boys are now 16 and 18, and I lean on these moms every day. I need them so they can assure me that what I’m going through as a mom isn’t out of the ordinary. I need them for support. I need them for laughs. And sometimes, I need them just to listen. They do all of this for me, but mostly we are friends. We love one another and appreciate our differences. These are women that, almost two decades ago, only came together because we had babies born within weeks of each other. But we have made a bond that has lasted 18 years. We are a Mom Tribe.
Find Your Mom Tribe
We all need a tribe around us. Find your Mom Tribe. Whether it’s when your baby is three months old in a mommy and me group, when your child starts kindergarten and it’s a group of moms from his/her school, or a group from your neighborhood. It doesn’t matter where you find that Mom Tribe, but find it. You’ll thank me!
Thank you for reading. Happy Wednesday, everyone.
Ashley & Beth