My husband and I were lucky with five wonderful years as a couple before our first of three children joined us. We were ready to expand our family. We shared in the natural fears of wondering if we would be good parents or how to afford all the baby gear. Once our children joined our family, the days went by with wicked speed. With our first born, I remember a smooth transition home from the hospital and a general feeling of we got this. About 5 weeks later, in a sleep deprived low moment, I turned to my husband and exclaimed, “We ruined our lives! Everything is a mess now!”
I hadn’t yet learned how to reach out to my ever growing group of girlfriends, which have now become my lean-to staple in life. My people who understand what it feels like to be a women in this day and age raising children. My people who understand what shame comes when you have to balance work and motherhood. My tribe.
If you look up the formal definition of “tribe” you will learn it is a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader. My tribe doesn’t have a leader, but we each show leadership in loving and caring for one another at different phases of our lives. And we are a family!
I came to be a part of a special group of women who share the load of understanding and offer a safe haven from judgement and criticism. Well, we judge. But not each other. We judge the women of a particular rose ceremony reality tv show. That is how this group came to be so long ago. A few of us who were friends, invited a few other friends and we intentionally got together each week to snack and talk. In fact, it was at one of these gatherings when I found out I was pregnant with our third child. (Mental note: Don’t ever agree to take a pregnancy test on a dare!)
This article is a nod to these amazing women in my tribe that have stood by me and allowed me to show up for them! Some of the women have been my friends since high school. Another I met in college through our husbands. Still others came along as we found each other through work or in local moms clubs. All of my tribe are amazing women individually, but mostly it’s our togetherness that makes us great.
Some of my best life memories are with these women! I remember epic birthday parties (of our kids and ourselves!), Twilight movie theater marathons, and incredible weekend getaways. We have been very intentional about getting away with each other.
When I interviewed some of my tribe, I asked them some questions about doing life together.
What is a treasured memory you have of this tribe?
“We are lucky enough to have so many great memories but I adore the weekends away together; laughing so much and enjoying our quality time together! Really being able to focus on each other during the weekend.”
“Early on, we met weekly to watch bad reality TV and drink wine. Those nights we created a safe place to open-up and be vulnerable with each other about our fears, struggles and triumphs. We really got to know each other and bonded over shared experiences.”
“Girls weekends! The one that sticks out the most to me is when we went to Estes Park and played Just Dance. It was so amazing to just relax, dance, and be goofy.”
“Just getting together to talk, share, ask, commiserate and most importantly, LAUGH, about life, love and children.”
A Sense of Belonging
What is your favorite part of belonging to this group of friends?
“I was the first to have a baby and felt really alone and had no one to connect with or really understand what I was going through. As a new mom who also started staying at home; it was nice to finally start meeting people who had little ones and then my friends started having babies and we have come together as this amazing tribe that gets it – every up and down moment to being a parent!”
“We have the best group texts! We are all so busy now to see each other as often as we used to, but those texts are a nice way to vent, check in, laugh out loud or share something that we know the group will just get, no long explanation needed!”
“The diversity of the women. Different backgrounds, beliefs, life choices but share a common sense of humor and desire to support each other.”
“We always seem to pick up where we left off. It doesn’t matter how much time has gone by. We all trust, respect, admire, and love each other.”
“My favorite part is knowing I have women to go to for anything and everything, ask anything, share anything, be whomever I want to be and be accepted and appreciated.”
The Toughest Hood is Motherhood
What is challenging about motherhood that this group of friends helped you with?
“I love that we bring different ages, experiences, beliefs to our conversations; especially when I come to them with a problem or when I need an honest reality check.”
“The self-criticism of feeling that I can’t do it all. This group inspires me through their actions and words while keeping my own self-doubts in check by reminding me to laugh.”
“Being a mom isn’t as easy or simple as I thought it would be. This group of friends gives me an outlet to express my fears and concerns. Getting the perspective of other moms that you trust is comforting.”
“There is no single answer as to how to live your best life as a woman, spouse, mother and friend. We all have a different and unique set of circumstances that dictates our choices in life and it is easy to second guess your own choices. With this group of women, I think we do a great job of celebrating each other’s differences. Being able to witness women/moms leading different and yet all successful lives has helped me fully accept my own choices and own them with confidence. We don’t have to live identical lives to be equally successful.”