I remember being a brand new mom like it was yesterday. I was a New York City girl, well a Queens girl to be exact, and my husband and I had just bought a house in central NJ. I wasn't 100% on board with the whole relocation thing but I knew it was for the best. It was part of our big plan. I had a sprinkling of family and friends here in NJ for which I am always grateful for, but most of my family, friends and over 30 years of my life were all back in New York.
It wasn't a big surprise that I felt isolated early on.
Then I had my first child, the little blessing that she was and always will be.
Although I was extremely happy about being a mom, being a first time mom also magnified that feeling of isolation for me at the same time.
It was hard to adjust to being a new mom when I already felt a little uncomfortable in my own space. It might not have only been the new location that I hadn't quite embraced. Maybe it was also really hitting me that I was actually responsible for this precious little human that we created, too. That in itself is a pretty huge deal. The bottom line is that it all felt pretty heavy.
At first I didn't leave the house much. That lasted a bit until I began to take walks around the neighborhood and eventually take my daughter to music class and play gyms.
Then, finally, things started turning around for me mentally and emotionally. At one of the first classes I took my daughter to, I made some amazing friends. One in particular I consider a dear friend for over 8 years and counting.
I eventually found a local moms group that hosted playgroups every week and I began to attend. There, too, I began to feel surrounded by other moms I could connect to, feel comfortable around, blurt out a parenting frustrations and not be judged harshly for it.
I began to feel happier, I grew more confident as a mom, and I felt like I was a part of a community.
I was building my tribe.
I think every woman, especially every mom, needs a tribe.
Your tribe is made up of the people you feel most connected to, you feel comfortable around, those folks who love you up and lift you up. You can turn to them when you need to, they can count on you, too. You feel good when you are around them. It isn't a chore to be polite around them, you can just be...you.
As a busy mom, building up your tribe is such an important thing to do. When you are knee-deep in the madness of motherhood, feeling isolated only magnifies the madness, like it did for me. Having a strong tribe to call on when you need it most helps in so many ways. Having someone to listen, understand and empathize can be soothing to an overwhelmed mom. Sharing stories and getting advice from a trusted tribe member can add hope when all seems lost, or at least seems pretty muddled up. Knowing you are safe to say what you need to say and ask for what you need to ask for can be empowering.
When I work with moms, we often speak more about building a tribe, but I did want to give you some tips to help get started. Here are a few ways you can build and strengthen your tribe:
- Reach out and connect with your current nearest and dearest tribe members. Keep them close.
- Open up, share your stories with the tribe you already have. And listen to their stories, too.
- Set an intention to build your tribe. Being clear about what you want allows you to be open to it when it arrives.
- Use social media to find your tribe. Join groups that relate to your hobbies, interests and lifestyle. (The Real Moms Collaborative is a great place to start!)
I know how good it feels to know we are not alone.
If I can do it, you can, too.
Thank you for reading!