Motherhood is an incredible, fulfilling journey. However, it can feel lonely at times, and many mothers might feel alone with their children. But moms do not need to parent in isolation; in fact, I don’t think we were ever meant to parent in isolation. It does not make you a lesser mom to ask for help. In fact, a group of likeminded moms can help you broaden your horizons, make you feel safe and supported, and can overall improve your mood, thereby directly benefitting your child.
As modern society increasingly emphasizes the individual or the nuclear family unit, the village mentality of traditional societies is harder to find. In many traditional cultures, young mothers look to elder members of their families and social circles to guide them on the intricacies of child rearing. The view is that there is a quite a lot to learn, and much support is needed in order for both mother and baby to have a healthy journey together.
In fact, finding a tribe of your own can be the healthiest method of securing your own support. A tribe can take on whatever shape that fits you and your life. Maybe it is a group of your pals who are starting to have children of their own, or perhaps some seasoned moms to whom you feel close. Maybe it’s just one mother who really understands you. It might be a community parenting support group or breastfeeding group. No matter what your tribe looks like, it’s important that it fits your needs and makes you feel safe.
In the era of mom shaming and the supermom complex, it is essential that the people with whom we choose to surround ourselves are genuine and non-judgmental. As a mother, one should expect to be imperfect and have moments of feeling like a failure. A genuine mom tribe would give her perspective, showing her that imperfection is the rule rather than the exception.
What are the benefits of having a real mom tribe?
- Having a safe place to ask questions (about breastfeeding, disciplining, sleep issues, etc)
- Knowing that you can express your frustrations or even admit your struggles to your mom tribe without fear of judgment
- Feeling good about sharing your own experiences with other moms and knowing that you can support a new mom who might be struggling
- Sharing ideas and information
- Having partners for new endeavors, such as in a healthy eating endeavor or a workout buddy
- Help with logistical issues, such as if you need a mom to watch your child while you go out for a date night or need a nap
Having this level of support is not only important, it is crucial. Why? Mothers who present with postpartum depression, stress and anxiety often state that they feel very alone, invalidated and exhausted. Many struggle to reconcile their desires to be supermoms with their realities of being imperfect. Developmental theories do not support the need for a supermom for healthy development of a child; instead, the good enough mom is a loving but fallible human being who has been shown to raise wonderful, productive children. Surrounding yourself with mothers who are real and open can be regularly reminders of this, supporting you as you learn how to parent with self-compassion and acceptance.
3 minute musings is a blog maintained by Dr. Iyer and is a place for brief discussions on all topics of wellness.
DISCLAIMER: All information and content in this post are for informational purposes only. The author does not provide any medical advice on the site, and the information should not be so construed or used. Nothing contained in the site is intended to create a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a licensed, trained physician or health professional or to be a substitute for medical advice of a physician or trained health professional licensed in your state. The information expressed here are the views of Dr. Iyer only and are not the opinions of any hospitals or academic facilities with which Dr. Iyer has an affiliation. You should consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.