Last summer was a rough one for me. I wanted to be the fun mom and do all the fun things, but the reality was that having 2 boys under the age of 2 was just hard. I was doing good to get everyone fed and dressed, so if we made it out the door, I felt like I should have been handed a medal. One particular week I saw a friend several times in different settings. She patiently listened each time I complained about the struggles of adjusting to 2 kids. At the end of the week, she texted me to look on my porch. There I found a “#1 Mom Prize” she left for me, complete with a sweet note she wrote and some items to pamper myself with like dry shampoo (maybe she was trying to drop a hint?). It was then I realized that my life is so much better because of my “tribe.”
I know what you’re thinking right now… That this is another post about how you need to find a tribe – blah, blah, blah. It’s not. Well, not really. You do need to find a tribe. However, this post is about the work you have to put into forming relationships with other moms. Far too often I see women give up on having real, meaningful connections with other moms and it makes me sad.
Sweet mama, it’s time for me to speak some truth to you. It’s not easy to trust other moms in the days of “mommy wars.” Moms are skeptical about letting other moms in for fear of being judged for their decisions. That, coupled with how hard it is to have a full conversation with little ones around, means forming these deep friendships, “tribes” if you will, takes time and effort. It’s not simply going to happen by casually chatting with a mom at library story time. It’s not going to happen just by saying “hello” at pick up and drop off time. It’s definitely not going to happen if you don’t even show up to the play dates, the mom groups, or church small group.
You’re going to have to put yourself in some awkward situations for a little while and be a little vulnerable. Not long after moving to Lubbock, I started going to Moms of Preschoolers (MOPS). I walked into a room of around 100 women and didn’t know anyone. It was terrible at first. Everyone was nice, but I still felt alone and out of place in that crowded room. I didn’t want to go back to the next meeting, but my husband encouraged me to keep trying, so I did. I kept going. I kept talking and getting to know the other mamas. Eventually, I exchanged phone numbers and started texting to see if moms wanted to come over for play dates or meet at the park. I dropped off coffee to moms who mentioned being up all night. I made muffins for moms that had new babies. I worked hard to earn their trust and to begin to trust them. Now, 2 years later, that MOPS meeting is one of my favorite places to be.
I miss the days where you can show up to summer camp wearing the same dress and swimsuit as another girl and become best friends for life (true story). According to The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, it takes spending 90 hours with someone before you become a real friend and about 200 hours before becoming close friends. That’s a lot of time and it’s hard to do when you are also caring for a family. I’ve been known to put the kids to bed, send my husband to watch a movie in our bedroom, and have my mom friends over for dessert, lots of laughter, and maybe a few tears in my living room.
Be encouraged, mama. There are other moms out there who, just like you, are wanting a tribe. Put in the effort to find them and get to know them and I know you will be so glad you did!
Where are some good places to meet and get to know other Lubbock mamas? Give your ideas in the comments!