Finding your Betty: Notes on Why a Mom Tribe is Crucial

 

Untitled designHave you ever tried to subdue an overtired, wild toddler while simultaneously nursing a newborn and thought for a split second it might be easier to survive jumping in front of oncoming traffic on the freeway? Whatever your motherhood struggles are, with just one child or multiple children, most of us have struggled with the feelings of isolation and inadequacy. These feelings can sometimes only be validated by other mothers who have experienced these same feelings. You need to find your similar minded moms and form a Mom Tribe. This can be a tribe of two or ten. Numbers don’t matter. What matters is you are not alone.

Human beings have a need to be affirmed up close and personal. The Mom Tribe is this and more. You don’t have to pretend to be perfect for the tribe. We know each other’s well-deserved battle scars, and the stories behind them.  Whether it’s letting your child have extra screen time, just so you can finish a much needed phone conversation or bribing your toddler with candy to postpone the meltdown until you’ve escaped the grocery store, we’ve all had our moments of weakness we aren’t proud of.  All of our imperfections as everyday moms are what make us a perfect tribe together.  This is why the mom tribe is a necessity. Moms need other moms.

Many years ago I went to a women’s luncheon with a very close friend of mine. Most of the women were at least 20 years older than us and wearing extravagant hats with giant bows. I remember feeling very out of place. The woman hosting the luncheon stood up to speak, after our meals were served. She said all women have a Betty, and she tells the story of how she met hers.  Your Betty is the female you trust with your kids, your life and your deepest insecurities. She went on to say how much her and her Betty have been through and how they have continued to lift each other up and support each other no matter what. This brought me to tears, realizing my own Betty was sitting right next to me and just how incredibly important she is. My Betty had seen me through one of the single hardest times of my life, a time when others had seemed to disappear (in retrospect I may have pushed them away) from my life. I don’t know how I would have survived without her support.

This luncheon was the AHA moment in mom-friendship that I will never forget. It’s been almost ten years since, and while I no longer see this “Betty” very often because our lives have taken different directions, I know if I ever need her, I can call her and pick up right where we left off. And since then, I’ve added other Betty’s to my life and tried to be the best Betty I can be to other moms. You never know when the one time you are an ear to listen or extra hand to lend, that might make all the difference and maybe even form a bond that will last a lifetime.

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