We are all told "it takes a village." or "you can't do it without your tribe." So... if you don't have a village or a tribe, then how are you supported to get one?! Most of us know that having supportive people around us makes being a new mom easier, so why do we not go out and find it? WE ARE EXHAUSTED! There are so many other things to think about and take care of that many moms don't have the mental energy to spend on finding their tribe.
Let's take a moment to look at ways we can start to build out tribe and village with the little energy we have.
The Benefits of a Mom Tribe
With so much already on our plate, why is worth spending a little energy on finding a tribe? A mom tribe is a source of emotional and sometimes physical support. It's a place where you can share your joys, fears, anxieties, shame and guilt, knowing you won't be judged. These connections with like-minded moms can lessen the gip of isolation and provide reassurance that you're not alone in this journey.
Beyond emotional and physical support, a mom tribe is filled with shared experiences and wisdom. Whether it's tips on breastfeeding, managing sleepless nights, or the best baby products, the knowledge shared within your tribe can be invaluable.
Being part of a mom tribe can also help prevent mom burnout, or help it if you are already feeling it. Knowing you have a group of women who understand your struggles and triumphs can be incredibly reassuring. Knowing that you are not alone in this journey helps you continue along the path.
Personal Growth and Well-Being
Being part of a group of moms isn't just about finding support; it's also a pathway to personal growth. Through these connections, you can boost your self-esteem, discover your resilience, and learn more about yourself. Your mom tribe is a source of empowerment, helping you navigate the challenges of motherhood with confidence.
Your tribe can be a source of inspiration and motivation. You'll learn from others' experiences, gather valuable parenting tips, and become more confident in your parenting journey. Sharing your own wisdom and experiences with fellow moms can boost your self-esteem and reinforce your sense of self-worth.
The support of your mom tribe can be the lifeline you need when times are tough. It can be a source of motivation on the days when you're feeling overwhelmed. Your tribe provides encouragement, a listening ear, and often, a sense of perspective when you're navigating the complex world of motherhood.
The Difficulties of Finding Your Mom Tribe
So, if we all know how amazing it is to belong to a mom tribe or village, why aren't we all connected to one?! Well, it is because there are a lot of hurdles stopping up from making these connections with ease.
One of the most common difficulties we face as new moms is social anxiety. If you have social anxiety before becoming a mom, it doesn't just go away because you have added on a new life role. It can actually be the opposite. Being unsure of this new role of yours can add to the social anxiety you feel. It can be intimidating to put yourself out there and initiate conversations with other moms, especially when you're already dealing with the pressures of motherhood. It isn't just you that is feeling this... many moms feel the same way, and sometimes, it just takes that first brave step to start a conversation.
Time constraints are another significant obstacle. Being a new mom is more than a full-time job, and finding the time to spend on making friends can feel nearly impossible. Between feedings, diaper changes, and nap schedules, your day may be so packed that even a shower seems like a luxury, let alone attending a social event. Remember that it's okay if you can't commit to a group. There are other options for connection besides taking the time out to meet people in person.
I don't have moms near me
Where you live and where the moms you want to connect with live can also make it challenging to connect. Some of us live in different states or across the country from the people that are in our current tribe. The area you live in can also just not be really conducive to getting out there and meeting new moms. The idea of traveling a distance to meet someone in person when your little one is only a few weeks old may not feel doable.
Where to Look for Your Mom Tribe
If you are still with me and trying to figure out where to find a tribe, I have good news! There are plenty of mommas looking to get connected and in ways that don't take a bunch of energy or time!
I don't know where to look:
Local mom groups and parenting classes can be a great starting place. They offer a chance to connect with moms in your area who are experiencing similar challenges. These groups often hold meetings, playdates, or workshops where you can meet other moms face to face. Parenting classes, whether focused on childbirth, infant care, or breastfeeding, can be an excellent way to connect with moms who share your current stage of life.
(If you are in the Monterey CA area: parents place, the birth network, reclaim fitness, mom walk collective, Mental Health for moms support group just to name a few)
Your local library can also be a valuable resource. Many libraries host storytime sessions, baby playgroups, and parenting workshops. These events are a fantastic way to connect with other moms in your community.
I have social anxiety:
Online communities and social media groups offer the convenience of connecting from the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule. Joining an online community allows you to engage with other moms, ask questions, and share your experiences, without the pressure of interacting in person. You can make connections with people online and decide if you would like to connect with them in person. If you don't know where to start looking, reach out to online support groups, social apps like peanut, meet up, event brite or go to your local libraries website to see if they have online events.
Social media is great and it is also not so great for the new momma. Finding like-minded people on social media can be really easy. Finding mommas or providers that just cause you to spiral into mom guilt and shame is also really easy. Be selective in what you take in. Follow accounts that are supportive, honest and helpful. Unfollow accounts and block people that make your anxiety, shame and guilt go up. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have made it easier than ever to connect with local moms. Social media is a great tool for making initial connections and being able to meet in person once the connections have been made.
(recommended accounts: mentalhealth4moms, themomwalkco.montereycounty, la_madre_cachimbona, montereybaykids, reclaimfitnessllc, montereybaymoms, parentingconnectionmc, shawnathemom, bigtimeadulting, the.mom.therapist, lindseygurk and more)
Once you figure out where moms are that you would like to connect with, building those connections is more than just being in the same physical or virtual space. In order to build connection you need to feel safe and the other people need to feel safe around you. Active listening, empathy, and open communication all ways to make people feel heard, understood and not judged. Sharing your experiences and vulnerabilities, and encourage others to do the same makes a safe space to connect on things that aren't all roses and butterflies. These connections can deepen and evolve over time, with continued watering of time and effort.
Vulnerability can be a powerful tool for building connections. One of my favorite definitions of vulnerability is opening up and letting people in who have shown they can take care of your heart. Vulnerability is not just telling anyone who has ears about yourself and your fears. Sometimes, that is how we get hurt. Vulnerability is when we make connections and have trust in the other person to take what we are going to share and be careful with it. Motherhood isn't always picture-perfect, and by embracing the messy moments and challenges, with people you can trust, you create an environment where authenticity and genuine connections thrive.
Your mom tribe doesn't just provide support fo your current challenges of motherhood but also offers a strong support system for the future challenges that you will face. Whether you're navigating your child's first steps, tackling potty training, or helping your teenager through the ups and downs of adolescence, your mom tribe will be there with you through every step.
Navigating Different Mom Tribes
It's important to acknowledge that not all mom tribes are the same. Each group has its own dynamics and unique benefits. Some may focus on practical parenting advice, while others prioritize emotional support. The diversity of mom tribes means that you can find a community that aligns with your specific needs.
For example, if you're a first-time mom, you might be particularly interested in a group that provides parenting tips and advice on newborn care. On the other hand, a mom with older children may seek a tribe that focuses on discussing topics like school, extracurricular activities, and the challenges of parenting teenagers.
Different tribes can coexist within your life, offering support for various aspects of your journey through motherhood. Remember that you're not limited to one group; you can belong to multiple mom tribes to meet your diverse needs.
Maintaining connections with your mom tribe can be challenging, especially as the demands of motherhood pile up or people move away. Our phones can be a powerful tool to stay connected with supports that are not easily accessible. So, what does meaningful connection look like when someone is too far away to meet up? Yes, sending videos and memes to each other can feel like connection, but it is not building anything. Staying connected might look like: regular check-ins, video chats, or quick text messages even when life gets hectic.
It's important to establish a rhythm of communication that works for you and your tribe. Whether it's a weekly virtual coffee date, a monthly in-person meeting, or daily text check-ins, find a schedule that aligns with your mom friends lives and needs. This consistency ensures that you continue to provide each other with the support and understanding that is the cornerstone of your mom tribe.
It Is Worth It!
The journey to finding your mom tribe may have its difficulties, but it is a journey well it! The benefits, including emotional support, shared experiences, and personal growth, far outweigh the challenges. As a new mom, you may be discouraged by the hurdles you may face. Try and embrace the journey and actively seek the support and community that a mom tribe can provide. When you persevere, you'll find yourself not only surviving but thriving in this beautiful chaotic journey called motherhood.
Hi, I’m Kristina Anzell, I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker dedicated to providing specialized and compassionate mental health support for moms postpartum. My mission is to empower you to thrive in your role as a mother while nurturing your own well-being. If you enjoyed this blog post, check out my blog here! If you want more information or are seeking treatment, feel free to reach out!