As a working mom, I feel like I’ve struggled a lot. I struggle every day with the “do I have enough time with my child” (never), “who’s in my life that really gets the working mom struggles” (a couple of people. That i’m not super close with), “when will I fit in my workout” (maybe tomorrow), “How am I going to be sure I’m not the fat bridesmaid in my brother in laws wedding in May” (maybe do that workout tonight…).
I don’t know I feel like it’s a constant tug of war within myself for wanting to be successful. Wanting to do ALL OF THE THINGS – junior league, career, family, raising a smart child, run a half marathon, train for a half ironman (certainly not this year!) and travel and buy a house… so many things. Not nearly enough time.
But here’s the thing, I found a tribe.
Back when Little man was wee…we had a weekly playgroup and last week as we suffered a little bit of internal drama, I realized they are my mom tribe. We have working moms, stay at home moms, moms of one who might be okay with just one, moms who are currently expecting number 2… we’re a group of 9 who met over coffee to save ourselves from sleep deprivation back when the littles were little enough for infant carriers and even if I only see them once or twice a month – they’ve seen me with my best parenting moments and some not so great. They’ve shared tales of speech delays, and OH EM GEE is my child ever going to walk (though some of their littles started walking at the early end of the spectrum) but they get it and while I certainly have friends that I’ve had for 20, 10 or 15 years that stood next to me on my wedding day and that were friends during my horrible, awkward, high school years – there is nothing that compares to the friends you have during the first years of your child’s life.
What traits should your tribe have?
Down to Earth – no one likes the mamas who take themselves too seriously and if you can’t laugh about the valleys of parenthood and be a little self-deprecating sometimes then why bother? We’re all just trying to survive the rollercoaster of parenthood right?
Non-judgemental – seriously if you have a mom in your group who says “I prefer breastfeeding but I don’t judge people who can’t” and then posts crap on facebook about how formula is poison and the worst thing ever…she’s probably judging you if you’re not nursing your little until he’s five and who needs people who are going to side-eye your parenting choices when you’re not looking?
Know how to let loose – I value my mama’s night out that I get once a month or so. If you’re hanging out with people who don’t know how to have a good time and make you laugh (i’m not saying booze needs to be involved but I personally enjoy a glass of Sangria/wine or a marg every so often) then why bother? I could just as well stay at home and watch The Office with Hubs on netflix and save the time.
Be supportive – I work. You may not. I have tons of respect for my stay at home mama pals because I know from my 11 months home with Little Man that it’s not a cakewalk. It’s hard. Babies get sick. You get sick and unfortunately, there are not sick days when you’re a parents for as much as you’d love to curl up and binge watch OITNB – toddlers gotta play and eat and get their butts wiped. That doesn’t mean your struggles – or mine as a working parent when I’m under deadline but need to get E because day care closes at 6p or the week I have annual reports due for clients and E comes down with a stomach bug – aren’t any less of a struggle. They’re different and as long as we respect and support one another then we’re cool.
Be candid – If you can’t be real with people who have seen your son’s butt explode all over your lap in public then who can you be real with? Other than the husbands of course.
So really this post is a thank you to my mama pals – my mom tribe – for keeping me sane. For understanding. For the laughs – especially the laughs – and the candid life talk when it’s most needed. I am incredibly thankful to have surrounded myself with an amazing, welcoming and hilarious group of mamas.