When I first approached the subject of mom tribes I was missing my California life, specifically my life as a mom of babies and toddlers. I was missing the camaraderie that comes from new motherhood, the swapping of baby food recipes and how-to’ s of potty training. I was missing the park meetups, long stroller walks and the interrupted conversations while we gathered together with our little ones. My children were 2, 4, and 5.5 years old when we moved to Scottsdale. I joined mom/parent groups, but for a variety of reasons I just didn’t find my niche. I met really great women, but I found it so hard to connect with other moms as I was exiting the baby and toddler years. When I see pictures on social media of Mommy and Me classes or moms walking together in their matching baby carriers pushing strollers I find myself longing for those days and the mom friends that come with them. I started thinking mom tribes don’t exist after the baby and toddler years, but after discussions with mom friends near and far I realized a few things.
Mom Tribes are NOT a One Size Fits All: I thought a mom tribe was a big group of moms hosting huge play dates, meeting up at parks and celebrating all of the time together, or at least more regularly, but it doesn’t always look that way. Mom tribes can be one friend or ten friends. It can be glamorous, relaxed, fun and/or comfortable. The gatherings can be many or few and far between. One of my tribes is a group of moms I trust with my children. We swap child care, carpool and don’t hesitate to ask each other for help. Another tribe consists of six friends I met in college that are scattered all over the country, we group text daily and meet up at least once a year. Another tribe consists of me and one other mom. We hang out the most because we have three kiddos all the same ages, live near each other and both of our husbands travel a lot. It’s so easy going with her. The list of mom friends I have in my life could keep going and this was something all the moms and I figured out together. We have awesome mom friends and even tribes.
Mom Tribes are Ever Changing: The tribes change and evolve over time because of schedules, locations, and activities. When my children were younger I met up with the same moms at local classes and events because our schedules lined up, available activities were limited and I controlled all the wheres and whens. We also stayed at all of the activities with our little ones which helped give of us time to connect. As my children get older their activities and interests really determine our schedules and I find that the tribes can change from season to season. There is also limited available time to just hang out with other moms because of drop offs and car pooling that is needed to juggle everything.
Mom Tribes Need to be a Priority: All of the friends I spoke with agreed that we need to put more effort into making time for our friendships and forging new ones. We need to prioritize spending time with our friends. This is a hard one for me. I like staying home and will find any excuse to stay in; I feel too busy, too tired, too “fill in the blank” and it’s easier to not try. But, I’m determined to prioritize my friendships and hope to post soon about how I’m making it happen.
Realizing how fortunate I am to have so many wonderful mom friends in my life has helped put the nostalgia of my baby and toddler mom tribe years in a more clear perspective. I appreciate the friends that I met then and I’m still in touch with many of them. We discussed teething, held each other’s babies, shared nap time pointers and more, but I also appreciate the friends I have now. I don’t know how I would’ve survived soccer, softball, gymnastics, swim lessons, volunteering, etc without their support and help. The friendships are different, but just as important.
What about you? Have your mom tribes changed? How do you prioritize your friendships?