There is a lot of stuff you are told you need when you have a baby, I spent my pregnancy reading endless ‘must have’ lists and ‘best buy’ recommendations from mums who had been there and done that. Most of the things listed were extremely practical and came in really handy, like approximately 4000 muslin cloths and baby clothes in a size too big in case your baby is…well…a size too big (which both were for me).
Other things I was assured were ‘essentials’ turned out not to be so, in fact, a lot of things I went out and bought ended up being pretty pointless (read more here). But then there was the third category of things I was told I desperately needed, things that I recognised to be important and would have really liked to have had under my belt…but just haven’t quite achieved it…a ‘mum tribe’ is one of them.
Like ‘a good sleep routine’ and ‘me time’ – the ‘mum tribe’ is one of those mythical creatures that everyone says you really must have, but is not as easy to acquire as everybody likes to make out.
It seems every magazine article I read, every blog post, every celebrity interview, mentions it as their essential item for surviving parenthood.
‘I couldn’t have done this without my mum tribe.’
‘My mum tribe has been essential.’
‘If you do one thing…find your mum tribe!’
‘Everything will be fine once you find your mum tribe!’
Some bloggers are even helpful enough to list the different tribes to make your finding of one all the more easy. Are you an eco mum? Are you a yummy mummy? Maybe you’re an attachment parent?
Whatever tribe you discover to be yours…just be aware that you NEED it, and without it you may well fail at parenting/lose your mind/struggle to exist.
Reading this sort of thing day in and day out, I just assumed that a ‘mum tribe’ would happen to me, I would find one, I would naturally discover who I was and where I belonged, I would join it and we would live happily ever after…sharing every moment of parenthood with each other.
It didn’t happen.
Here I am, three years in to motherhood, two babies in tow, and the mysterious ‘mum tribe’ I should have naturally belonged to remains elusive.
I choose eco-friendly toys and clothes sometimes, I dabble in re-usuable nappies to help reduce our waste…but I also live for a Primark spree. I like fashion and makeup, but most days I barely make it out of my pyjama bottoms, so yummy I most certainly am not. I’m not sporty. I like the outdoors but in bite size doses. I am nurturing towards my children but am also happy to leave them to watch Frozen for some peace. What I’m trying to say is, I don’t fit in to any of these tribes, I don’t feel I can fully commit to any of them…because like a wise woman once said ‘I’m a little bit of everything, all rolled in to one’ (Alanis understood).
Likewise, hardly any of my BC friends (Before Children) have had babies, the ones that have are hours away, and when I do meet up with them I don’t make a point to talk ‘mum talk’ with them, because actually I’d quite like to talk about something else for once in my life. So no ‘mum tribe’ there.
Friends I have made since having children are lovely, but we are all gloriously different with our own schedules and activities going on…can we talk ‘mum talk’? Yes. Do we go around in a pack meeting up every day to drown our parenting sorrows and share every detail of our mummy experience? No.
And that suits me fine.
Why do I need a ‘mum tribe’ anyway?
All the talk of ‘mum tribes’ can be quite disheartening for those of us that haven’t found one. For those that have found theirs and find it a huge source of support and cannot live without it…I’m genuinely thrilled for you. How lucky you are! I imagine it must feel really good to belong and be a part of something and have people hold your hand through the madness that is motherhood. I would have liked that!
But it didn’t happen for me, I don’t think it will because I just don’t think I fit in anywhere in particular. A bit like in school. I don’t have a ‘mum tribe’ and I’m surviving. In fact, I’m thriving! I’m absolutely loving parenthood, I love dipping in and out of different groups and meeting a range of different mums and dads and babies. I also get a lot of support from parents I meet online, through Instagram (the new age baby group in my opinion), behind the pretty pictures are real mums and they’re always there at the click of a button!
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I probably won’t ever find my ‘mum tribe’ – but I don’t really think I need it. Despite it being drummed in to me from pregnancy, it really isn’t necessary. You will not turn in to a pumpkin if you don’t find one. So if you find yourself reading about someone’s amazing ‘mum tribe’ and feel pressured to find one yourself…remember everyone’s journey is different. Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. And that’s okay!
You can still be an amazing parent, have good friends, feel supported and appreciated and understood without the big shiny ‘mum tribe’ trophy.
And if you ever need someone to talk to…email me or ‘slide in to my DM’s!’ – I will be your ‘mum tribe’ if you ever feel you need one!