A tribe: a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect (yay for dictionaries!).
In my mind, moms need a tribe. Mothering isn't meant to be done alone. Women need to come along side another, share stories, share hurts, share triumphs. They need to lift each other up in times of need and cheer each other on in times of success. Mothering can be so isolating but by finding a tribe we learn that we aren't alone and that being together and learning from each other can be the most empowering part of parenting.
I want to say a huge thank you to my momma-tribe. Tribes, actually, I've been blessed enough to have four. I know that the support of these women is turning me into a significantly better mother than I could have been without them, so holla! And thanks.
Thank you to my Octo-moms. We've been together for over eight years now. We met on a message board long ago but the coldness of the screen and the emotionless tip-tap of keys quickly turned into deep friendships. We waded through two different forums before eventually creating our own board. We dealt with drama, with "trolls," and with scary situations. We laughed when drama from other boards would try to infiltrate our sanctuary.
And then we turned outward.
We started meeting offline. We developed real friendships. We met for meals, invited each other to our homes, sent birthday and Christmas gifts, sent presents for our little octo-kids, created photo scavenger hunts with jokes from our conversations.
Then life started to get real. Cancer diagnoses, miscarriages, divorce, abuse, family death. We gathered together and supported each member with cards, gifts, and resources. We've lifted each other in prayer without a second thought. We've made phone calls at random hours when we need a supportive friend.
I can't imagine starting my motherhood journey with a more amazing group of women. I learned more from all of you than I could have ever learned in books and articles. There were real life stories behind the lessons and immediate love when we finally met in person. Sorry for getting so sappy. You ladies rock.
Thank you to my MOPS moms. I didn't join MOPS until Jamison joined the picture and was several months old so I was already two years into the mommy thing. As much as I loved my Octo-moms I needed in person friends. I needed women in my life that I could go out for coffee with, learn from in person, and that allowed me to get out of the house! A friend invited me and after a year of putting her off I finally took the plunge.
My MOPS moms have been a saving grace through the last six years of motherhood. We have visited together, learned together both inside and outside of meetings, seen each other grow as moms, wives, and friends, lifted each other up in prayer during hard times and celebrated lavishly just because.
You were there with support when I went through my miscarriages. You stocked my freezer when I was put on hospital bedrest and Micah was home with the kids for two weeks. You watched my kids so he could come to the hospital and visit me. You have helped me discover how to be a leader when I didn't feel up to the task. You've laughed with me about ridiculous things and cried with me about ridiculous things.
Although our group is constantly changing and the people I started with may no longer be active members we are still a tribe. We are still around supporting one another. We are still there with prayers, cheers, and advice. New tribe members are coming in and learning how amazing it feels to have a group of women in the same stage of life to call on. Old tribe members are encouraging us from the side lines that sleepless nights of the early days will end... and then turn into sleepless nights of the teen years. Thank you.
Thank you to my Twin mamas. I'm positive getting through a twin pregnancy, birth, and baby time would have been so much harder and lonelier without you amazing women. I went online looking for other twin moms and I was lucky enough to stumble on all of you. We've only been together for about two years but already there are some deep connections brewing. We've shared stories, tips, and so many woe-is-me rants. We've lifted each other up and held each other back. You are an incredible group of women and I know why we are twin moms - we rock.
There is something so incredible about having twins (or other multiples) and unless you are one of the lucky few it's not something that can be explained. The hardships and the miracles need to be first hand to have as strong of an impact and God knew what He was doing when He chose each of us to be a part of this special group. Journeying this road together is going to be indescribable. Thank you.
Thank you to my Babywearing moms. You are my newest tribe. A tribe I didn't know I needed because I already had two tribes. But you welcomed me with open arms. You ladies are so real and so down to earth that we are sharing crazy and honest stories within moments of meeting. It's raw and heartfelt and feels immediately comfortable.
I've seen you step up to the plate when someone in the group has a family member that has passed, offer up babysitting when a mom has an appointment or simply needs a short sanity break, pray for healing during illnesses, and give an emphatic "ME TOO" when asked if anyone also feels crazy, or down, or whatever. You seek to help the members of the group whether it's related to babywearing or not. You include anyone that joins in and work hard to create an atmosphere where parents from all walks of life are accepted and included. That's amazing, so Thank You.
Phew. That's a lot of sappiness but it needed to be said.
Now don't go thinking that these tribes just fell in my lap. Okay, so I got REALLY lucky with the Octo-moms and twin mamas because most online birth boards are filled with drama and crazies. But in all honesty I had to seek out my tribes. I had to choose to be a part of the online forum and actually post words, not just lurk and read other's replies. Yes, I got invited to both the local groups I'm now a part of but it was up to me to go. I had to summon all my bravery to pack the kids into the car at a time that wasn't super convenient for our schedule and make the drive to the meeting. Then I had to get out of the car with the kids and actually step foot into the building! I remember how intimidating it was to walk into a room with people that all seemed to know each other but I told myself that if I made it that far that I needed to at least stay for the meeting.
Best decisions ever. You read what I found. I found my people.
Do you need a tribe? Are you seeking those connections with people that get you? Find them. Go online and figure out what kind of groups are in your area. See what there is for your interests. Perhaps your church has a group for young moms or an actual MOPS group. Maybe there are La Leche League meetings in your town. What about an exercise group? Natural remedies and lifestyle people? Find those that share a similar interest and check it out. If there isn't a group that seems to fit your likes or hobbies? Start one! Facebook has made creating groups so very easy. Spread the word and you will be amazed at how quickly people come flocking because they are seeking a tribe too.
Go on now, find your tribe.
Do you have a momma-tribe? How did you find each other? What's your favorite part of having people to call your tribe?