When I first became a mother at age thirty, many of my friends were either single, newly engaged, planning crazy bachelorette parties, or recently married. Many were in the lovely honeymoon phase while I was up to my ears in dirty diapers and bottles.
I didn’t have a group of friends to go to that would be my “mom friends” group. I had two close friends that had babies a couple of months before me, but one was a couple of states away, and the other had a busy job that didn’t allow for many impromptu get-togethers where we could talk all things, baby.
I was still a full-time teacher with not much time to be social. I leaned a lot on my co-workers who had kids, and when I needed a fast answer to a question, I would quickly Google or send my mom a text.
By the time I had my second baby, many more of my friends had kids, and I had a larger group of women to go to for questions, laughs, and pure solidarity. We all understood one another and loved the new group we belonged to. Even though I was very appreciative to have such great women in my company, I didn’t find my mom tribe until my daughter started kindergarten. For me, this was a turning point.
My daughter, who is now ten, was an easy-going kid who was involved in everything. She was open to trying new things and chose Girl Scouts, dance, and even soccer. She came to find out early on that she loved dance, particularly jazz and hip hop, and as she got older, she focused her attention on the dance studio.
While at the studio three times a week, I came to find out that I would also be finding something for myself. It was here that I found my mom tribe. I was lucky enough to meet two awesome moms who shared the same sense of humor as me. We also had very similar parenting styles, usually laughing about our kids’ shenanigans but finding it very important to teach them kindness and respect.
We wound up seeing each other at dance and on flag football and softball fields, too. Luckily, our girls all loved each other just as much as we loved our new-found friendship.
These women have gotten me through some pretty rough times, whether it be a problem with my hormonal pre-teen or a baby/toddler issue such as a breastfeeding struggle or a baby not sleeping through the night. We’ve answered countless questions for one another, laughed over dinner and drinks, traveled for a special girls’ weekend, and toasted 40th birthdays.
We have been there for one another to cry over disappointments and celebrate career achievements. And no one is a bigger cheerleader than a fellow dance mom! We get each other, and there’s never any miscommunication or second-guessing. I know that these girls have my back, and they know I have theirs.
Finding your tribe can be overwhelming, scary, and daunting at times. Some have even compared looking for mom friends to online dating. Should you reach out? Will you seem clingy and desperate? Does she even like you?
But once you find them, it will just click. Just remember to be yourself, and don’t feel like you need to be a mom who has it all together. Your tribe will love and appreciate you for who you are. And truthfully, your tribe can be one person! It doesn’t have to be a large group.
All you need is your person, the Meredith Grey, to your Cristina Yang. It’s just a bonus if you get more than one. I don’t know any perfect moms, but I know we are all doing our best. Your real friends will help you through the hard times and won’t expect you to have it all figured out.
They will be the ones who support and encourage you no matter what. And they will also most definitely be the ones who can visit when you have dishes in the sink, toys strewn all over the living room, and dog hair on your couch. They’ll laugh it off when you say that you’re sorry for the mess and top it off with, “You should see my house. It’s like a bomb went off! This is nothing!”
Now, that’s a true friend. Solidarity, sista, solidarity!
To my mom tribe, Thai, Alexis, Janine, Corinne, Cristina, Lisa, Katie, Maria, Dianna, Shari, Marice, Emilee, Corinn, Gabby, and Nadine – I love you all, and thank you for all the advice and laughs throughout the years.
To my dance moms, my ride or die girls, Amanda and Marisa, for who this was written, love you girls!