You can spend hours upon hours learning about how important it is to have a tribe (such as this Motherly article). Or you can ponder how different it is to raise a child in this decade vs. in the past. I hear everyone was in everyone’s business and helped each other out – can you imagine? You can also find many perspectives of how through the efforts of building a “tribe” you can be fulfilled, have a social life, and have children who can play well with others. It all sounds so nice, but so far in my experience, if I want to have a tribe, I somehow always find myself in the role of the chief.
There is so much decision making and planning I already do for my family, for my house, and for my job that there are days my head just hurts. Literally. But I also want to find others in the same boat as me, possibly with similar interests or parenting approaches to vent with, laugh with, and just acknowledge this wild phase of life we are in. I suppose I’m looking for a directory to search with a list of options of possible tribes to join and be the tag-a-long.
To be clear, I’m not talking about the 20+ Facebook Moms Groups I’m a part of (which I will say have been immensely helpful in the middle of the night to answer the ramblings of a first-time mom, and a first-time twin-mom). I want something real, with face to face contact, even if that means seeing each other just a handful of times a year. I know it’s really not that hard, and NO, I am not asking you to clean your house and show me some version of unrealistic reality, I just don’t want to always be the one doing the inviting, the encouraging, the scheduling, as I don’t want to be the “nag” always sending the texts and FB invites coordinating the playdates.
I know that this may be a big ask. And I know that in this time of our lives (the one dictated by tiny humans whose demands are endless), it can seem an insurmountable task to consider bringing anyone else into your crazy life, but I assure you – you can do it. I know this because I have, and it is SO rewarding. I’m just asking that we sometimes take turns. If you’ll humor me a bit here, for any mama who may be on the fence about leading or sharing a tribe, this is what I envision a job posting for a tribe leader may look like. There are very simple recommended qualifications to meet, and I’m certain you fit the bill!
Tribe leader who wants to co-lead a tribe of her own (yes, you don’t have to do it alone). Tribe leaders are women (or men!) who are unafraid to share a little time and privacy, letting others into their world, and who will encourage their own community of parents and littles to connect in our ever so disconnected world. It takes a village, but that village has to be made, so if a rewarding, fun-filled and uplifting afternoon led by you sounds just about right, please review the below qualifications.
- Depending on how many children you already have in your home, be willing to invite at least 1 other child and their parent (no, this is not a babysitting service) to your home occasionally. In case of cancellation, 2-3 at a time can be helpful so as not to let your own kids down.
- Because of the potential of cancelation – must be able to spin the story, or even keep it from your kids in general, so that all parties are happily surprised when it works out.
- Knowing how quickly vomit, diarrhea and fevers come on, be patient and kind if a last-minute cancelation occurs.
- If there aren’t enough kids to “go around” – as in, you have a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old, but only the 2-year-old will have a playmate, consider if alternative plans need to be made to avoid the major meltdown freak out that can occur.
- Consider giving at least 24 hours notice to those you wish to invite. A little more (48 hours up to one week) is helpful, but most of us mamas can’t plan too far ahead anyway.
- Be as real as real can be – please DO NOT clean your home for days in preparation for your gathering. Yes, if you haven’t touched the bathroom in weeks, that could be nice, but seriously – no judgments. And if that sounds too stressful – consider setting up your meet-up at a park instead.
- If you have rules for your home, such as no shoes, kids on the main floor only if you want to be able to supervise, please make them known up front. All who attend want to not only be welcomed that day, but leave a good impression upon you so maybe a meet up can happen again!
- Ready to answer this quick list of questions? All mamas in the tribe need to feel comfortable sharing about the safety and preferences of their home – and to ask others – just to level our playing field.
Let’s Make it Happen!
I share this hoping you’ll see ANY of us can lead a tribe, and really, should. There is a time to be the lead, and a time to take the backseat. When it comes to momming – we are all experts in doing this our own way, so know you can do it, too.
Sign me up!