Mama Tribe – noun – Your lifeline. A group of fellow Mums who will gather around you to enable you to survive your new #Mumlife. They are usually found in a tired, messy and often emotional state in play parks and toddler cafes clutching onto cups of caffeine. They are perfect group of strangers who will become your closest friends.
Your Mama Tribe will be the women who get you through your biggest mummy meltdowns. They are the women who you can invite into your home when it is at its worst and feel no judgement. The ones that you can meet up with in your baby sick stained t-shirt and 3 day old mascara. They are the women who just ‘get it’ because they are doing it with you.
Once the flood of visitors and help has died down and your partner is back at work, it is just you and the little one. All of a sudden, you have a lot to figure out on your own, long day after long day.
Babies are incredibly cute but their chat is pretty poor and before long you will be craving adult conversation and company. This is where you have the potential to get very lonely and isolated, quicker than you think.
The great thing is that unless you live somewhere really remote (in which case, enjoy the view!) then there are going to be other Mums stuck at home with their new babies, feeling the same way that you do. If you can find them, connect and team up then you one step closer to new mummy survival success.
Where to find your very own Mama Tribe?
If you can start to seek out your mamas before the baby is born then that is ideal. Especially if your maternity leave has started and you have a few weeks to kill. Chances are that you will have much less energy and enthusiasm for developing new friendships once your bundle has arrived and so if you can get ahead of the game then that is great.
- Antenatal Classes – whether it is NCT or the NHS run antenatal classes get involved with some sort of group. Learning a bit about how to bath a baby is useful but the best thing about these classes is the opportunity to meet other Mums who are due around the same time as you. I didn’t do NCT but my friends that did have made great friends through it that they have stayed in contact with long after the babies have been born. However, if like me your feel that NCT rather expensive, then there are other options.
- Local Baby and Toddler Groups – I didn’t know about this world until I became a Mum but all over the place, groups are meeting, gathering around coffee, cake, toys and baby and toddler mayhem. I finished work early at 34 weeks pregnant which left me with a lot of free time. Whilst it was daunting, I decided to go along to our Church’s B&T group to meet some of the Mums and get to know them. Looking back, that was great as I was able to get to know then women who I now spend so much of my week with ahead of having Belle. Most active churches will be running something similar and the groups are usually open to anyone, not just the church community. If not seek out your nearest community centre or children’s centre and ask about stay and plays. Most of these places are run by volunteers and so are often looking for extra hands. If you want to break the awkward feeling of turning up without a baby then offer to help making tea and coffee (just no heavy lifting!).
- Facebook – a quick search of your local area on Facebook is likely to pull up an local Mummy group of some description. Join and get to know your online Mum community and look out for things that you can get involved in. Or look into local breastfeeding/baby wearing support groups as they usually have really great Facebook communities.
- Exercise Classes – Whilst there are lots of benefits to staying as active as possible when you are pregnant, an antenatal swimming, yoga or fitness class, the great thing is that you get another opportunity to get to know your fellow pregos. Be brave and introduce yourself. Chances are that the other pregos are partly there to meet people too and just too shy/awkward to make the introduction.
Failing all of this. Once your baby is here, as soon as you can, get out. It will feel like a huge ordeal in those early days to get you and baby ready to leave the house but it is so worth it. Even if you are unshowered and sporting baggy maternity leggings and a milk stained t-shirt, just get out of the house. Fresh air, a gentle walk and an adult conversation can do you (and so baby) the world of good.
Ladies, we are designed to be in community, not alone. There is lots going on out there for Mums and Babies, especially in big cities.
Go for it Prego, find your Mama Tribe. You will thank yourself later.
Thank you to my Mama Tribe. You are the best.