As a newbie at this whole mom thing and a stranger in a new town I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my “mom tribe.” This mom tribe is the group of moms you rely on for just about everything. They are the people you go to when you need support, the people you tell about potty training nightmares, and the people you trust to care for your children.
I had high hopes for my first circle of mom friends, I really did. I kept ignoring the signs that we didn’t have much in common because I wanted them to be my tribe. But they weren’t. Like so many other moms, I was hoping that merely having a child the same age would be enough to overcome such diverse value systems and parenting styles. It wasn’t. When it comes to finding your tribe, you can’t just play fast and loose. If you’re willing to spin the wheel of roulette on some friendships, let me set you up with some guidelines…
While parenting style may sound like I’m being judge-y, trust me when I tell you that if you have vastly different parenting styles, your friendship will not last. Take for example someone who has basically no rules whatsoever while you run a tight ship. Now imagine a play date together. See where I’m going with this? Eventually you will lose your mind on the kid who wants to glue your sofa cushions together. Your new friend might also gape at your use of time outs. Together, this friendship is much like that duet with Frank Sinatra and David Bowie. Not so good.
My husband and I always joke about how he moves like a snail compared to my energizer bunny-like pace. It’s no secret that I love to be out and about and taking in new sights and experiences. If you find yourself with 8 errands under your belt by 10am, then please consider yourself as insane as I am. What you might want to consider is that friendship with someone who doesn’t get out of bed until 10am. In your pre-kid life this subtle difference in lifestyle probably didn’t matter much. As a mom, you find these differences glaringly obvious.
When you set up a play date at 9am, your new friend might not drag herself over until 11:30am, precisely the time when you’re closing up shop for naps and quiet time. When she and her little cherub are making their rounds about town in the early afternoon, you are settling in for some at-home crafts. This relationship might work if you don’t mind seeing this person only once in awhile, but for a tribe member? Maybe not.
There are lots of reasons you want your new tribe member to be in your immediate vicinity. First, you might be zoned for the same school so that these nice little play dates can continue after your kids are in school. Second, you want to have someone close by in case you have a mental breakdown and need to go there immediately for advice. Finally, you want someone who can easily pick up your kid in case of an emergency. I recently found out that I was on several pick up lists! For those of us who don’t have family in the area, this reason is perhaps the most important.
I probably should have put this at the top of my list because I think it is most important. Are the women you associate yourself with kind? This question should be a no brainer, but it isn’t. Some of the women I found myself in contact with were simply not kind. I want the people who are around my child to be kind to one another. I want my daughter to see the adults around her as kind. The only way to do this is to surround her with the kind of women who lift one another up instead of bringing one another down.
I’m a giver, which is why my husband insists that people take advantage of me. Even still, that won’t change who I am. The difference is when I find that what I give is coming back to me. By giving, I don’t mean anything of monetary value, but things like kindness, encouragement, love, and support. You know that you have found your tribe when your cup runneth over with these beautiful things.
While I have to say that it took me some time, I did finally find my tribe! If you’re still looking, take heart. There are plenty of wonderful mamas out there waiting to join your tribe.
Need some types more making new mom friend? Check out Kelly’s post here!