It was decided over draft IPAs at Fat Little Buddies: No cell phones for the littles until they are at least 12.
Before I continue, this is not an article on cell phone safety. This is a post about finding your Mom Tribe. The women who will help you raise your kids and yourself throughout this journey of motherhood.
My immediate tribe is made up of two moms. Each of us has three kids. The oldest is in forth grade and the youngest, my son Van, is almost three. That’s nine kids with an array of activities, questions and attitudes. We even keep extra booster seats in our cars to easily swap out the kid that’s bothering us the most. “Willa’s got major stank eye, can I trade her for one of the boys.” It’s that simple.
Because there’s nothing better than giving your problem child to another mom to set them straight. Especially when that mom parents, for the most part, just like you. We’ve got a lot of the same snacks, the same rules, the same problem letting “grown up words” slip out when we’ve hit our max. Sometimes, we even yell at each others kids when they’re out of control. We also love them, fiercely.
But that’s not what makes them my Mom Tribe.
That’s what keeps our kids alive.
What makes them my people is what happens when our kids aren’t around. It’s what keeps us…living.
When I left the corporate world to freelance and raise chickens just outside of Cleveland I was really excited. But after seven years of my kids tearing down my mind and my body, I felt completely worthless.
It’s not a complaint, it’s a reality. Motherhood makes you question everything about yourself. You are responsible for these tiny creatures that don’t do a good job telling you how great you are. They rarely say, ‘thank you’ because they are kids. It’s not their job to build you up. It’s not your partner’s job either. It’s your job to keep it together.
Becoming a mom is terrifying. It’s also fun and humiliating and something you should never, ever do on your own. All the second-guessing and facing new things we never had to deal with as kids makes it impossible to get it right the first time. Lucky for my tribe, we’ve got lots of kids to test out new theories. But that doesn’t make it any easier.
Here’s what does.
Happy Hour. More like 8:15 p.m. or after the most difficult kid goes to bed, we meet at a location on a week night that stays open past 10 p.m. Living in small town America can make it difficult, but we would gather on the curb of DrugMart with paper-bag 40s if we wouldn’t get arrested. Happy hour is our check in. There’s no dress code. There is yelling and crying and beer-coming-out-your-nose laughing. Because you need at least a couple hours without a kid crawling all over you to set your mind straight.
Girl’s Trip. It can be one night or a long weekend, but there is nothing like staying up ‘til 2 a.m. just because you feel like it. There’s no kid refusing to go to bed, or asking for water, or having an accident that makes you stumble down the stairs to cram a Pottery Barn duvet in the washing machine. Nope. We stay up because we feel like it. And then, we get to sleep in. Alone.
Working Out. We like to wear low-rise jeans and bikinis in the summer. So, it’s CrossFit most days a week and runs through the Metroparks when the sun comes out. The only person yelling at me when I’m lifting a barbell or trying to string together pull-ups is someone from my mom tribe. My kiddos love to watch through the kid’s room window, but they aren’t the one pushing me through an incredible amount of pain so my arms look amazing for my 40th birthday trip to Nashville.
Worship. I’m a Jesus Freak. How He lived and treated people is a big part of my life and how I’m raising my kids. Our littles attend Sunday school so the moms can get right with the big guy once a week. Songs, prayer and reflection are completely uninterrupted. I walk out with a calming sense of peace, until we pull out of the parking lot and the kids start fighting over the radio.
There are so many moms out there making it look easy. Smile, click, post—and everything appears perfect. Those aren’t the moms I connect with. I prefer—I crave—the ones who are a bit more raw. Imperfectly perfect and ready to share what they learned from all of it because a little honesty can really soften the fall.
So please, find your tribe. Find those people who don’t require a dress code or a degree or even complete sentences to show their support. Let them tap into the person you were—and still are—before you became a mom. And don’t forget to sneak a booster seat into her car when she’s not looking.
Who’s in your tribe?