There’s a lot of talk lately about finding your “mom tribe.” Moms plan outings, wine nights, play dates, and book clubs in the hopes that they’ll find a true friend for this season of their life.
Although many of us (including me) are still very close to our pre-baby friends, there’s something special about a friend who understands that “I need five minutes without being touched or I’m going to gouge my own eyes out with a baby fork” feeling. You need a friend who understands that “today my baby smiled for the first time and I cried from happiness” feel. Sure, some people get along just fine without ever making any parent friends. That’s great, if that’s what they want! But in my personal experience, nothing has been as soothing to my soul as a friend who can say “me too.”
My “mom tribe” has been building slowly and haphazardly. An awkward “blind date” with another young couple that bloomed into a friendship. Another couple we met at the library. A mom I chatted up at a party because she looked as exhausted as I felt. A coworker. Two coworkers. People who won’t judge when I need help, and who celebrate the everyday accomplishments— not the big ones, like the first steps, but the small ones.
Finding friends is hard as an adult. You can’t just walk up to someone on the playground and ask them to play tag. We all come with emotional baggage that affects every major relationship we have. We all remember the lost friendships, the stubborn pride that cost us, and the lonely roads we walked without friends who understood. Friends we’ve carried with us through the years are a blessing. They’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and they’ve stayed with us. But new friends require a different kind of vulnerability. A willingness to show ourselves. A willingness to face someone who is slowly but surely showing us pieces of their heart and life— and to see those pieces and say “me too.” Me too, friend, me too
Here’s a secret: we aren’t meant to do this parenthood thing alone. Humans are social creatures. That’s been accepted as fact as far back as anyone can remember. Friends are important. We need them. It takes a village to raise a child, right? I don’t believe the village is only there for the children’s benefit.
So expectant parents, new parents, and parents who’ve seen it all: I hope you find your friends. Your circle. Your “tribe.” I hope you don’t spend too much time like I did, thinking that mom friends would be shallow, and petty, and would make you lose your identity so that all you are and all you can ever be is “mom.”
A friend recently told me they were waiting, and hoping parent friends like my husband and me would just fall from the sky. I had hoped the same thing about her.
So parents, parents to be, and wannabe parents: I hope you find your village. I hope you build it brick by brick and relationship by relationship until it becomes whatever you need it to be. I hope we all have the courage to keep building.