When Madden was about 4-5 months old, I signed her up for a baby music class. I had been attending a MOPs group, and a friend at my table told me about the music class. As a stay at home mom, I really wanted a reason to get out of the house more and heard how great these classes were for child development. Also, I thought it may be a good way to meet other mamas and babies. I had only lived in the Bucks County area for over a year when Madden was born. Neither Phil nor I had our parents in the area, and I didn’t have any friends here at the same stage of life as myself. So, I signed up and off we went to our first music class. As predicted, I didn't know a single person there. The class was once a week, and each week I went, I got to know the other moms a little better. There was a group of seven of us mamas that all had babies born within weeks to months of each other. Before class each day, we all shared stories about our babies and being a mom. I ended up looking forward to going so much just to talk with other mamas! It was so refreshing and made me feel like I wasn’t alone in what I went through or how I felt as a new mom. After four months, the class was nearing its end. Our group of mamas still hadn't corresponded outside of class. I remember saying to my husband one night, "do you think it's weird if I ask them all to get together?" Phil (my husband) encouraged me to do so and thought it would be a great idea. So, after the last class, I asked if anyone would be interested in getting together for a play date. I remember my friend Aly saying, “I was hoping someone would say that!” That was the start of what I call my Mama Tribe (or Mom Friends or Music Moms. We have so many names for each other). Anyways, we started a group message on Facebook which eventually turned into a group text. That group text turned into friendships I never anticipated. Since that last music class, we've done everything from more music classes together, play dates in our homes, play dates at parks and splash parks, and library and museum visits. We even get some "just mamas" time. We go for mani/pedis, out for brunch, and to craft night. We've picked up a couple more tribe members along the way which makes nine total mamas with 12 kids between us all. We range in age from 27-38 and have different backgrounds and life experiences. Some of us grew up in this area, while a few of us moved here for other reasons without family in sight. These friendships have turned into so much more than what I envisioned. Our group text has been referred to as "an acceptable place to be crazy.” It has seen every topic imaginable, and nothing is off limits. We obviously talk about parenting and our kids, but we also dish about marriage, family relationships, pregnancy, food allergies, breastfeeding, exercise, sex, how in the world to use essential oils… you name it, we’ve all talked about it (and in great detail!). We share recipes, diagnose each other’s kids, and babysit for each other when needed. This group is a safe place to be real and vulnerable and provides a nonjudgmental place to vent... because let’s be honest, we all need that! Some days we are joking and laughing, some days we are crying, and some days we are giving advice. Other times we are celebrating each other or maybe just listening. We do it all. We show up and are truthful. We cheer each other on, we make each other laugh, and we allow each other to be real. We have each other's backs. And we rarely go a day without communication. These friendships fill in the gaps. It's a place to belong. Some of the best parts of being a mama are these friends that I've found. Having a community of women around me makes all the difference. They are friends who understand exactly how I feel and are always in my corner rooting for me. I can't say how much more uplifting my life as a mom has been after meeting these women. Any mama questions go right to them, and I know I have a tribe waiting to help. Having this connection and this group has made motherhood that much more enjoyable. I feel like maybe I am doing ok, maybe I'm not crazy, and maybe everyone struggles! Which is so true.. you aren't alone! Being a mom is amazing, but it's also really hard. Having support from other mamas who you can rely on makes motherhood that much sweeter.
Two years have gone by with these amazing mamas by my side. We just celebrated the birth of another baby girl in our group, and many of us are also pregnant together again! I couldn’t think of a better group of ladies to share these experiences.
Maybe you are a new mom yourself. Or maybe you are a mom that feels isolated or alone. If so, I encourage you to be proactive and find your mama tribe. If you're struggling to find friends that are in your same stage of life, pack up your baby and get out of the house. Go to a park, take a baby music class, or go to story time at your local library. Join a MOPs group, join a church, or find an online social media group of moms in your area. I guarantee you'll find another mama (or mamas) who is looking for the same connection. Don't be afraid to speak up and ask to get together for a play date. It may be the start of an awesome and very needed mama friendship. As my mama friends have said many times to each other, it really does take a village!
Above is a picture of all of us (minus one who sadly had to move) at a craft night making fresh eucalyptus wreaths. And yes, we have a set of twins!