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Build Your Tribe as a New Mom

“I can do it all by myself.” Does this sound familiar to you? If not, it will very soon. My toddler says this to me at least 10 times a day. It’s cute and I like when he flexes his independence. And I love even more when he politely asks for help.

This pattern of saying “I can do it all by myself” followed up by “help” has a similar ring to it. It sounds JUST. LIKE. ME. My husband will love hearing me admit this. But, I’m more like “HELP!!!” When I was pregnant, I took this approach, thinking I could do motherhood on my own. I didn’t need postpartum support, I didn’t need a mother’s group, I didn’t need new friends. I was going to do it all on my own and I was set. I was wrong.

Thankfully, I got over my ego, went outside my comfort zone, and accepted help. Over the course of the last three years, I have slowly, but surely built an amazing support system. Now, I really get what it means when we all say “it takes a village to raise a child.” If you want to raise a healthy and happy child who has a healthy and happy mom around, give yourself and your child the gift of a village.

Here’s my formula for building a tribe as a new mom in a day and age when actual villages no longer exist (boo!).

  • Friends who don’t have children: These are the friends who can easily talk about what’s going on in your life and listen. Or you don’t have to talk anything motherhood related with them. They can come over at any hour, don’t have a hard stop, and can drink margaritas with you all night (that is, if you get a night off).
  • Moms with similar aged children: Amazingly, it’s really easy to forget the different stages of baby and motherhood. Other new moms are in the same exact boat as you. You can easily share, give advice, and hang out as your babes are also in the same boat.
  • A group of moms that your schedule can count on: This is actually more about the place than the people, but they come hand-in-hand. This is your weekly postnatal yoga, mommy & me classes, baby-friendly workouts. You can count on this place to get out of your house every single week and go somewhere safe. Plus, you’ll most likely meet other amazing ladies.
  • Moms a bit ahead of you: Hope, there’s hope! These women are living proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That whatever you’re going through in that exact moment is just temporary. That you’re going to sleep again. That your baby will one day be done teething. So on and so on. And these moms give great advice.
  • Motherly figures: Whether they have children of their own or not, older women have experience, confidence, and a totally different energy. They can comfort and support you in ways no one else can. If you need a motherly figure in your life, you’d be surprised how many women are happy to take on this role for you and your babe.
  • Hired help: This can come in so many forms–postpartum doula, night nurse, day care, preschool, mother’s day out, church childcare, gym childcare, housekeeper, nanny, babysitter, assistant, a mother’s helper. If you go this route, it does not mean you are not a good mom and that you can’t do your job. Hiring someone to help you in the ways you need will actually help you be a better mom. This is something that you should allow yourself, guilt-free, to do when you can–whether that’s on a regular basis or every once a while when you really need it.

Alex Winkelman Zeplain