The Mom Tribe to End All Mom Tribes

Mamas are a force.

We are comfort and peace. When kids fall on their bikes, they want mama. When my sensitive one needs to cry over a tree that got cut down, he comes to mama. When feelings are wounded … mama. 

Dads can (and do … or they would if they got half the chance) do these things too, and most kids know that. But when the feelings are too big or the pain is too much they don’t think, they run to mama.

But mamas are also fierce. Nothing makes your blood boil like someone threatening or hurting your baby—even if your “baby” is grown and taller than you. You’re probably thinking about that time right now, in fact, because we can often forgive a million wrongs committed against ourselves, but we remember that time when someone made our kids cry.

There may be no other force in nature that can maintain such powerful, positive duality as a mom, which is why I love it when we can come together over anything—from coffee to systemic injustice.

“Mama, I’m through.”

George Floyd called out for his Mama. When no one else could, or would, help him, and he knew he was out of time, a grown man—who stood more than six feet tall and worked in security—called for his mother. 

And mamas across the nation responded.

In peaceful protests, in passionate essays and articles, in lobbying for legislative change, in organizing, speaking, preaching, petitioning, praying, teaching, fundraising, and so much more. It’s been said a dozen times, in a dozen ways, that all the mamas heard and answered, and it’s true. Just search #iammama or #mamasforjustice on Instagram and you’ll see. 

We’re not here to talk about what each one did, or which response is best. The point is this: the mom tribes disappeared, and we started lifting others up in ways we may never have done before. 

Silver lining: The ultimate mom tribe

The road to liberty and justice for all is still tragically long before us, but as “new normals” have started to come into focus, and we’ve started to recognize some of the good that has come out of an unimaginable few months, I hope this is one we can grab onto: moms supporting each other despite our differences. 

I am definitely not calling for an end to the niche or local mom tribes. There are massive benefits to finding and engaging with a mom tribe. We all need that

But can all of our mom tribes continue to see themselves as pieces—big or small—of a single, united front of fiercely tender mamas? Can we choose to hang out with other mamas who support our personal parenting weirdness, but also refuse to see those mamas who disagree as “other”?

Can we celebrate together in times of victory—without asking when we’re going to get ours? And weep together in times of sorrow—without pointing blame at each other? Can we continue to hold space for each other, listen honestly to each other, speak gracefully to each other, and most importantly: defend and support each other?

So much of our world and media seems to pit mamas against each other, either openly or just by creating platforms for us to constantly compare ourselves. But part of the sheen on the edge of any storm cloud is the way we are forced to set most of those things aside and build something together.

These past few weeks have done that for a lot of people, including mamas, and I desperately want us to hold onto it.

Open enrollment to the ultimate mom tribe

Keep your current mom tribes—the big, digital networks you’re a part of and/or the small local gatherings you attend. But would you also consider making this universal mom tribe part of your new normal?

What does that look like? How about a simple commitment:

  • To respect other mamas’ sincere parenting decisions, even when they differ from yours.

  • To support other mama’s in their fights—whether they’re fighting for their kids’ health, raising funds for their kids’ schools, demanding justice for their kids’ losses, or whatever.

  • To encourage and defend other mamas when they need it—from a kind word in the grocery store to shutting down gossip or slander on a national issue. 

  • It really just looks like a pivot in our thinking from comparison to cooperation. It means that every mama you see—regardless of race, religion, parenting style, etc.—is on your team.

    So that mom at the grocery store who looks super put together and is pushing a kid in a cart with a board book and designer shoes, isn’t doing it better than you—she’s having a good day and you’re proud of her. She’s on your team. So instead of ducking down the next aisle to hide, complement her kids’ shoes.

    And that mom at the playground with a messy bun, a ceramic mug of coffee, and bags under her eyes isn’t a mess—she’s having an off day and you can relate. She’s on your team. So instead of being silently critical, go ask what’s really in that mug and help her laugh.

    If all the mamas support each others’ best decisions, and help carry all the burdens, and let it be known that we will not be divided  … imagine what we could accomplish. It might be sweeping legislation or social reform, and it might be a new generation of truly kind humans. It might be both.

    It’s up to us, mamas. You in?

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