Momm-ing ain’t easy… That is for sure. Of all the things that I have had to deal with since becoming a mom, there are two questions that I constantly have to ask myself during the hard times: 1. Who is there for me? 2. Who I am capable of being there for? As a mom, you navigate through your old friends, new friends, other parents, seasoned parents and new parents just trying to find something that fits. Simultaneously you are trying to figure out what kind of mom you are, what kind of parenting styles you want to be around, what type of wife you are and what types of couples are comfortable for both you and your partner.
It’s this massive training ground that you have to get through fast (or so I thought) or you will be doing this whole thing feeling less part of a tribe and a bit more feeling like you’re stranded on an island.
I look at social media posts and photos of these women who have had the same groups of friends since they were five. They’ve synched up their births and are now going to the park and lunch every day with their same aged children and it is absurdly hard not to feel jealous.
How did you know?! How did you plan so well?? I need to hear all your secrets! I was always looking for that idyllic arrangement but once I had my twins and was now the mom with 3 under 2, I couldn’t help but feel totally ousted from any group I was currently a part of. It wasn’t their fault, I was a hard target to pin down. I had no clue what my schedule was or when I could do anything. I was always either on the run or trying to keep someone calm, I was in the thick of it, and some days I still am.
It took a long conversation with a very old friend for me to start looking around and realizing that somehow, over the course of the last four years of living in this once new town for me, I had in fact sorted out a tribe. It was nothing like what I thought, it didn’t look like what you see on stock photos or even a normal social media page. It wasn’t possible for it to look that way because my tribe spreads far and wide. My two best friends are literally in some of the furthest parts of the U.S. from me, and yet they feel like they are by my side every single day.
I go through my day checking in with my work partner in all things doula who is in her mid 50’s and then my old assistant who is 23, I feel just as connected to each of them. I have close friends from childhood that are always around, 4 guys of all walks of life and their amazing wives. I have my mom and my sister, my husband and his brother and sister in law. I suddenly looked around one day and saw it all so clear….what I was searching for was right there all along, waiting for me to figure it out.
This is what they don’t tell you about when you leave college and are out in the world fending for yourself. You are no longer hanging out with 10 friends that all look just like you and are all the exact same age as you with all the same goals, thoughts on the world and upbringing.
You are out there, you are on your own and you have got to figure out who the hell you are if you want to find a tribe that means anything to you, supports you and loves you. I think that right there is the biggest part of this journey, it’s not about those other people, it’s about you finding yourself and once you do that, the rest just falls in to place. Sometimes, those people were right there all along, waiting for you to reach out, waiting for your life chapters to sync up, waiting for you to grow up a bit or maybe waiting for you to slow down a bit…Who knows, but chances are you are not as alone as you think. And sometimes, there are new amazing people, just waiting for you to stumble into each other and create a new life long bond in this chaotic world.
There is no time as vulnerable as those first years after having children. You are jolted into an entirely new life and keeping up can feel terrifying. My advice to new moms is to never stop reaching out. If another mom is busy on Tuesday, try for Thursday. If you texted once and didn’t hear from someone, try again. If you are feeling lonely and stressed say the words out loud, your people are there, they just don’t know you need them. Oh, and of course my biggest piece of advice, if you get even the slightest gut feeling of toxicity in a friendship, run like hell. Here’s to our tribes, may they build us up and grow with us.
With All My Love – Chelsea