Ten years ago, when I envisioned my motherhood experience, I was surrounded by my oldest, closest friends. I lived on a tree-lined street in the town I grew up in – or one right nearby. My best friends from childhood and high school would live a few doors down and we would rotate whose backyard everyone played in and which mom was making snacks. I never really imagined that I would be starting a family in a new city – or that half of my tribe would consist of “digital” friendships!
Today, this is what my tribe looks like:
Friends from college who I lost touch with for many years in my 20’s and have reconnected with now that we are all mothers. Some were close friends others were merely acquaintances who today cheer me on with every Instagram comment and kind Facebook message. There are even some ladies who dated guys before or after me (Morgan – mom to two! Michelle – mom-to-be!) who I absolutely count as part of my tribe.
Our nanny, Cole, who has become a very close friend, trusted confidante and advisor on all things parenting (and progressive politics and social justice). We may not look like we have much in common from the outside – she has green hair, hails from Detroit and watches wrestling religiously, I probably try too hard to emulate Martha Stewart – but I don’t know how I would’ve survived the past year without her. She loves our child as her own and what more could you ask for in a member of your tribe?
Friends from my party girl days in Boston – bartenders (hi Nicky!), cocktail waitresses, photographers (hi Eric!) and other party girls (hi Dooley!)– who have similarly hung their proverbial party hats in favor of mom (or dad!) uniforms. It seems we have all come to the realization that while a raucous Saturday night on the town provides a good thrill now and then, absolutely nothing beats the joy of watching your child grow and experience the world.
Our families both near and far. Nick and I are incredibly fortunate to have close relationships with both sets of parents and even luckier that they are so invested and involved in our growing family. They love Daisy immensely (possibly more than they love us?) and are there in a pinch when we need them. Nick’s parents have been supportive of my flourishing career and make the trip to Philadelphia whenever I need to travel for work. When we’re in a bind for childcare, we’ve been able to rely on Nick’s siblings to take the day off and be with Daisy. My brother video chats regularly from Vietnam and my parents are here every two months for weekend visits. We are also close to our cousins, aunts and uncles who are so generous and resourceful. I feel we are blessed to have family ties that run deep.
Friends from my neighborhood Facebook group, the “Fishtown Mamas”. I joined this group somewhat begrudgingly at the behest of a new friend and boy am I glad I did. This group of women mobilizes like nothing I’ve ever seen when a woman is in crisis - large or small. A fellow mama took in a homeless woman with an 8-day old baby recently and within hours there were over 100 of us offering everything from a warm bed to brand-new breast pumps, money, gift cards and services. When I posted asking for suggestions on how to combat morning sickness, I woke up the next morning to 60 comments with thoughtful suggestions, home remedies, links to recipes and products – and even offers to bring me leftover ginger candies! This network has been the key to making friends, finding providers like our nanny and our pediatrician, and my finding a place in this community.
I have needed this tribe more than I ever imagined I would. They have ideas, remedies, connections, sympathy, humor, similar stories, rallying cries and cheer routines that I will never tire of hearing. Every mom needs a tribe. Heck, every person needs a tribe.
I wouldn’t be able to wake up every day and give Daisy my all if I didn’t have this warm, supportive, loving and loyal tribe cheering me on at every turn. It isn’t necessarily the way I imagined it – I don’t often get to have playdates with my best friends from high school (although when we manage to be in the same place about twice a year, it’s amazing!) and my friends don’t all live on the same street. But I couldn't imagine better people to have on my side. If you’re reading this, you’re a part of that tribe and I thank you for that ❤