Finding Your Momma Tribe
I've learned a lot in my 3 short years in motherhood... probably more than my previous 25 years of life combined. I truly believe God allows us to raise children so that they can in-turn raise us, expose us, and shape us. It's been my biggest personal growth, my happiest days, but also my loneliest hours. I've learned over these last 3 years that this is not a road that is to be traveled alone. Motherhood is to be shared within a tribe. I don't use the term "tribe" loosely. I truly believe all of us mommas need a sacred group of women that is our tribe.
God created us to be communal creatures; we need each other, and more than that, our hearts long for each other. We need a safe place that we share our real life, a place that we can be truly authentic. A place that says "it's ok to be human". We mothers need to see each other's dirt in order to feel normal.
I can't tell you what peace I get when I'm talking to another woman and she says, "This is so hard, I'm feeling overwhelmed and incapable." I feel peace because I FEEL THE SAME WAY, and her courage to share that has made me feel normal for thinking those thoughts. We need each other's dirt, we need to show our authentic selves. As mothers we have enough guilt, enough "I should be doing more", enough laundry lists of things to do... we don't need to paint on a pretty, fake smile in front of our friends too. Ladies, give yourselves the gift of being real with each other. I love these words by an 18th century French writer: "We discover in ourselves what others hide from us, and we recognize in others what we hide from ourselves." In the midst of true authenticity we have an opportunity to inspire.
What does it take to have a successful momma tribe?
1. Be like minded.
Variety is the spice of life, but not when it comes to your inner circle. I prayed long and hard for a group of women that my heart related to... people who shared the same beliefs, passions and parenting philosophies. In order for your guard to completely come down, you need to all be on the same page. As much as I respect all parenting philosophies, I can’t be inspired or learn positively from an authoritarian mindset if I'm trying to be a conscious gentle parent. It just doesn’t work.
2. Show up for each other.
Have a servants heart. This is not only key to a life-long friendship, but is also a great example to our children. When your friends have been ill for days, bring over a meal or some home remedies. Check in with them and genuinely care. When someone in your group is having a rough time in mommy-hood, take her toddler for the day. When a new baby is born, come over with a warm meal and tidy up their house; do the dishes sitting in the sink, take the older children for a walk, offer to pick up groceries. Be a support system and always go over and above your call of duty.
3. Be intentional about personal growth.
Read a book together and discuss what you're learning. This doesn’t have to be intense or feel like homework. In my group, we are currently reading 21 Ways to Finding Peace and Happiness by Joyce Meyer. We read 2 pages a day or 14 pages a week. It's important to keep it realistic so that it's not adding something else to everyone's plate. It's been such a blessing to learn alongside women I love and hear their perspectives on things, as well as keep me on track. We also share blog posts we’ve learnt from, or anything else we’ve come across. Great minds can accomplish more together, the same goes for learning.
4. Love each other's children.
It's important for our kids to be loved on from other adults other than family members. It's important that they feel unconditionally accepted from their peers and it's incredibly important that we build them a close inner circle, foster great relationships for them and have Godly role models in their lives. Create a safe, loving environment within your tribe so even if you're not there, your children feel loved and at peace.
5. Be YOU!
You can, at best, be only a second-class version of somebody else, so don’t try and be someone you are not. Your tribe should be a safe place to be free to become your best self. Accept everyone where they are at--we all make mistakes. Motherhood is messy and a momma tribe is not a place to put your best face forward, but a place to put your unfiltered life in front of others. I also believe that we all have unique qualities and strengths that we bring to a group and you can’t let those shine if you're not being true to who you are, which makes the whole tribe lose out on something so valuable.
If you don’t have a momma tribe right now, pray for one. God wants this for you and he will be faithful to this desire of your heart. I longed for a group of like-minded mommas--I begged God for it. I met every momma in my tribe randomly and at different times, but we all clicked instantly and have kids all the same ages. If that's not God's hand at work, I don’t know what is. This small but powerful group in my life is one of my greatest blessings and a key to being a successful mother.
Mommy tribes can change the world--it brings back the "village" we are intended to have, but that we have unfortunately lost.