How I Found My Mama Tribe

updated Sep 30, 2020
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(Image credit: Courtesy of LaTonya Yvette)

In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, and the conversations happening around the brunch table for mothers past and present, we asked one of our favorite bloggers, LaTonya Yvette, to bring us a few meditations on what she has learned about life, love, and happiness through motherhood. — Faith

Six years a mother, and I’ve seen it all when it comes to mama tribes. It’s not that I purposefully went around the rodeo a few times; it just takes a while to find that core crew — years even. What I love most about New York City is that there are always people to meet and new friends to make, but when it comes to motherhood, I find this factor difficult at times.

I often feel like nowadays I’m dodging the new-mother “let’s be friends” train constantly. Not because I don’t love having friends, or because I’m some playground goddess that people must befriend — it’s quite the opposite. There’s just so much energy that goes into motherhood and friendships, and when you’ve found that group, it’s easier to keep a light cap on it.

Here are four tips that have helped me find my mama tribe, the friendships worth holding tightly.

1. Test the waters.

When my daughter was born I tested the waters in every type of group. This gave me the opportunity to develop myself while also deciding who I ultimately wanted around me and wanted to be around while I navigated motherhood. Various types of playgroups and mama-meetups became a regular part of my life, and not because babies need too much activity, but because mama needs activity.

You don’t have to always attend, but going to a few different kinds helped me understand what I wanted and needed in a mama group.

2. If it doesn’t fit, keep it moving.

In the early years I found myself coming home and feeling inadequate after hanging around a certain mom or group. I realized that part of it was me and part of it was them, and then there were the babies. It just didn’t fit.

Circumstances shouldn’t be the only qualification for friendship; there’s so much more.

3. Can we hang out?

Speaking of qualifications, having a friendship beyond the children should be of the upmost importance. When considering a tribe, I want to know that I can call you out for lunch or wine nights without the babies. Friendship between the moms shouldn’t be a plus for new mama-baby friendships — it should be a huge qualification.

4. Who are you?

In many ways this plays into friendship qualifications, but I often feel like if it just comes down to hanging with babies, I at least want to know who you are beyond motherhood. For many of us, the role seems all-consuming — especially when you’re in the thick of the new-mother transition — but when considering forming a friendship or tribe with any one lady or ladies, I also have to really consider the person beyond motherhood. Values, work — all that goes into play and, well, it’s just plain good to really know people. As the babies grow, these layers get peeled back and you realize the importance of the other stuff.

When it all comes down to it, having a mama tribe is an important part of motherhood. They lift you up and become a bubble of security when things get tough (as they do) in motherhood. They make the path less lonely; having a tried-and-true group is so good.

For the mamas out there, how have you found your tribe, and any words of wisdom for others looking to find their own?