Learning to Lean on your Tribe
I am independent to a fault. Pretty much everyone I know will attest to this. I loathe asking for help and would rather figure out how to do it all by myself than reach out to friends and family that I know would be there in a heartbeat. But I will say that a big part of motherhood is Learning to Lean on Your Tribe.
Surviving Week One
I’ll never forget my first week as a mom. It was an exhausting, blissful blur for the most part. But there were parts of that first week that were difficult. I’d wound up with a c-section after spending 72 friggin’ hours in labor (which I plan to hold over my son’s head until I die) and I was having issues coping. Add to that the emotions of being a first time mom, and I was a wreck.
So one day, after nursing my son to sleep, I grabbed my sneakers and told my husband I was going for a walk around our neighborhood.
While wandering through our neighborhood, alone with my thoughts for the first time, everything just completely overwhelmed me. It was in that moment I pulled my phone out of my jacket and called my best friend.
I spent 20 minutes on the phone crying to her about everything that had gone wrong with the birth of my son. How it was not how I had planned, how I was recovering both physically and mentally from the emergency c-section and how I was handling caring for my tiny human.
After I hung up the phone, a weight felt like it had been lifted. While I knew I could have talked to my husband or anyone in my family about how I was feeling, there was something nice about being able to vent to a friend and hear her perspective.
It was in that moment I realized how important it was for me learn how to lean on my tribe to survive motherhood.
Love…and raising kids…is a battlefield
I love my kids. There is no denying that. But the day in, day out with them is like being in the trenches. It’s dirty, gritty, there’s occasionally blood and sometimes, someone throws a grenade in.
But just like soldiers can’t make it through without their battle buddies, moms can’t expect to make it through without our tribe.
Your tribe is who encourages you, pushes you through those difficult days when you feel defeated, has your back when the chips are down, and lends a hand to pull you out of the trench.
There is no way I could have made it through those long months of deployment, when I was pregnant and alone with my toddler, without my mom friends to back me up.
My internet group of moms allowed me to spill my heart in a safe place, with no fear of judgment and sent me fun, encouraging packages to help make deployment more bearable.
My friends kept me busy with fun get-togethers, stopping by to cook dinner for me and watching my toddler so I could go do something for me, like get a pedicure.
These kind gestures from my tribe, while maybe small to them, reminded me that I wasn’t alone in my journey.
They laughed with me, cried with me and celebrated with me when my husband finally returned home.
When the World Won’t Stop
There is nothing worst than when mama is sick.
When dad has the man-flu, I can promise you there will be hours of moaning, wanting me to “feel his forehead” and asking me to bring him soup and Gatorade.
But when mama is sick, there is no time for the world to stop and my kids don’t understand that mama needs to rest.
Normally, my husband is around in the evening and can lend a helping hand with the kids. But when he’s gone, I’m pretty much on my own.
This past week was particulary rough. I had a raging fever and respiratory infection. My sister offered to take my toddler for the evening and letting me sleep. It was so hard to leave him for the night and I cried as I drove away, but the truth was that I needed the rest and sleep.
But that’s what good friends do. They are always there, willing to rise to the call and help bear your burden, so long as you aren’t afraid to ask.
Learning to lean on my tribe was not easiest of lessons, but a valuable one that has made my friendships stronger.
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