How to Start a Mom Tribe
With mom shaming on the rise, 69 percent of women report that they wish they would have received more encouragement and support when they became moms. Whether you build your own, or join an existing group, one of the best ways to build your confidence as a parent and stay connected socially is through a mom tribe.
What’s A Mom Tribe?
Mom Tribes, also called Parlor Groups, Mom’s Clubs or Mommy Friends! are a group of women who may or may not have known each other before having children who join forces to navigate the world of motherhood together. Whether they’re in-person or online, 70 percent of moms agree that their inner circle of moms is their largest source of support.
Here’s How to Get Started:
Define Your Vision
Do you imagine a small or large group of women? Are you spanning a large geographical area or just your neighborhood? Should all the women know each other or does that not matter? Jotting a few parameters will help give shape to your ideal tribe.
Identify Potential Members
Think about a place you can reach out to moms that might want to join: the playground, the school, daycare, friends and acquaintances on social media, family members, neighbors, the gym…the possibilities are endless!
What will you do when you get together? Will you chit-chat freely or have a guided discussion? Will it be a combination book club and mom’s group? Or will you make different snacks and watch a movie or TV show every week? Activities can even be as simple as sharing interesting articles related to parenting to discuss as a group.
Pick a Place and Time
Will you walk the mall with your strollers? Convene at local playground? Or all log on to Twitter at the same time? Think about where it’s best to communicate plans (or changes in plans) that is simple and convenient for everyone involved. Push for moms to really commit as much as they can—to hold your meetings sacred (for their sanity…and yours!)
Keep It Friendly
Set the rules early on. Educational Psychologist and parenting expert, Michele Borba encourages two parameters, “The first is to remember confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group. The second is that we’re here to try to understand each other and no one has the ‘right’ idea.” Sometimes it’s even helpful to have a professional or third party moderate the group (like a psychologist or counselor from school) if everyone’s game. “We’ve got to understand and not judge other moms’ parenting decisions,” Borba says. “We have to collectively turn the labels around immediately and empower one another to be the best moms we can be.” The bottom line? It’s all about hearing moms out–not shaming them. She advises, “The best antidote to shaming, is empathy.”
Looking for Mom Tribes? Find Your Inner Circle:
If you’re crunched for time, or would rather become part of an established group, try these suggestions from Motherly:
Meetup.com hosts nearly 4,000 SAHM groups in 1,500 cities around the world and the odds are very high that there is at least one group near you. Groups include stroller meet-ups, breastfeeding moms, babywearing, attachment parenting, moms of multiples, moms of special needs kids, and so much more. Most groups are free to join and host no- or low-cost events.
MOMS (Mothers Offering Mothers Support) Club
MOMS Club touts itself as “the first, largest, and fastest-growing support group specifically for ALL at-home mothers” and offers chapters across the country with varying member dues. View many of their local chapters or fill out a form and they will contact you with your closest chapter.
National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs (a.k.a. Multiples of America)
With over 25,000 members in 400 local support groups nationwide, Multiples of America provides support to parents of multiple birth children, as well as an annual national report and convention. Find a local club.
Holistic Moms Network
Originally founded in 2002 in New Jersey, the Holistic Moms Network aims to empower parents who are passionate about natural living by offering “support, community, and connection.” Find your local chapter.
Mothers & More
Founded in 1987, Mothers & More consists of “moms who have left the paid workplace and those who are working for pay part-time, full-time and everything in between.” It tenets include advocacy for all mothers and respect for all the work done by mothers, paid or unpaid. Find your local chapter or even start your own.
MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)
MOPS is a support group, often hosted by churches, that offers members mentoring, creative activities, and childcare during meetings. Find your local group, one of nearly 4,000 in the U.S. and around the world.
La Leche League (LLL)
For information and support surrounding breastfeeding, La Leche League International (and its U.S. site) is the premier resource. LLL is available literally 24-hours a day via its Breastfeeding Helpline, but local groups provide a safe place for questions, on-hand assistance, and mom-to-mom support.
Babywearing International (BWI)
If you wear your little one or are interested in learning more about baby carriers, Babywearing International is the ultimate resource. BWI offers more than 85 local chapters across the U.S. offering meet-ups weekly or monthly, but you can also explore babywearing online. Facebook is full of vibrant babywearing communities, from large general information groups to manufacturer-specific groups, even babywearing support groups for parents of kids with special needs.
Virtual friends can be another awesome resource for at-home moms. In addition to Facebook groups (there’s one for literally every topic, and if not, why not start your own!), online forums are full of at-home moms looking for advice, camaraderie, and understanding.
See why Michele Borba, author of UNSELFIE, thinks mom tribes are so important.