finding your tribe.

Photo: Aline Viana Prado | www.alinevianafoto.46graus.com

Finding your tribe is hard, Mama, I know.

I went through a really dry period and it was definitely a rough, prickly phase. It was part of my own doing and part circumstance. I’m not a mommy group kind of lady, but when you’re a mom it can be a great way to meet people. I just wasn’t in the right head space to tackle making friends, but I was desperately lonely. I really shot myself in the foot with that one. If I had it to do over again, I would have stopped feeling sorry for myself, slapped on my big girl panties and put myself out there damn the cost.

Most moms are uncomfortable meeting new people and trying to make friends because, well, it’s a weird time. You’e not comfortable in your own skin, your body is doing all sorts of new and strange things and your head is in a constant state of static because, hello, baby. In the chaos of breast feeding, nap time tantrums and dinner time shuffle, it’s hard to make time to connect or heck, to even think about connecting…with anybody. There are days when you shut off as a parent and you’re on autopilot just trying to land the helicopter without clipping anything and thus leading to total destruction. But, I encourage you to scrape together even the tiniest bits in your schedule to make the time, even if it’s only a couple of hours a month. I promise, it’s worth it.

Because, the reality is you never know where you’ll find them, your tribe. My people consist of old, new and somewhere in between. I have great friends who are fellow moms that I can b*tch to about pretty much everything and they will listen while raising a glass of red to say, “That was me a hot 5 minutes ago, I feel you”. Then, there are those friendships that seem to transcend time and space, like they share a part of your soul. We call each other “forever friends” because it just really is unending. I have friends that are “xtra” and sometimes that’s what you need when you’re having a self-care kinda day. Family is also a source of rich friendships, heck my mom is my best friend. But, one thing is sure… once you find your people, you know they’re your people. It’s kind of like dating or finding the right wedding dress. Once you know, ya know. 

And everyone else is in the same boat. Even the people who look and say they have it all together as you walk into the coffee shop with hair you haven’t brushed in 2 days while rocking those black yoga pants for the third day in a row….(wait, four? Five? How long have I been in these?!) She has her own tribe and you need yours. True story: I recently started buying hats to cover my greasy three day hair because a really good mom friend lent me that little pearl of advice on a random get together, BRILLIANT! That’s right I would rather spend $40.00 on hats instead of spending cents to wash my hair. Kinda gross? Maybe, but time IS money. And there are precious mom-bucks that I can’t afford to loose. Most days my sanity wins instead of my wallet and I’m okay with that.

I’m still growing my tribe and I’ll probably still be growing it until the day I croak. If you close off your circle, you never know who you could miss, right? I’m an open door kinda gal. And don’t be surprised if people circle back around that you never really gave much thought to before. I reconnected with a person that I felt wasn’t in my tribe at all, like missed her by about 10 zillion miles. And then she had a baby and I see my own parenting style reflected in her. Babies change people, for real. But, the most important thing I can say about building your tribe is this: if you don’t feel better or uplifted after hanging out, then they aren’t your people. As a person in general, but especially as a mom, make sure that you surround yourself with people that make you laugh, people you can be weird with and people that you can talk about all of the gross postpartum stuff with and they won’t bat an eye. They should make you feel good on a personal and mom level. Don’t surround yourself with people who make you feel like you’re failing as a person, at parenthood or like you have to uphold a certain standard. As a mom, we are judging ourselves enough. The last thing you need is someone else poking the judgement bear.

And, listen, while I’ve had amazing tribe moments and instant connections, I’ve had some that tasted like wine left on the counter far too long: sour. And that’s okay, learn to let them go. Don’t be too hard on yourself and know that your people will find you, despite the day old spit up on your shirt. Just put yourself out there and listen to your mama when she says, “just be yourself”. Take the third grade advice and it will be an amazing and rich ride. -MJ


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