Sometimes, I feel as though using the term ‘girl tribe’ as a full grown adult seems a bit silly to some BUT I love the feeling it gives. I mean, for starters, I don’t have an issue with the word girl, I actually struggle to think of myself as a woman. I don’t feel or act quite old enough to use that word for myself and still think of a woman as somebody older and far more sophisticated (so, er, def not me!) So, yeah, I do end up referring to myself as a girl probably far too often. And then there’s the word tribe… Oooo there’s just something about that, isn’t there? A sturdy group, a collection of like-minded people, girls who have your back, who stick by you through thick and thin and who never judge you. Love it!
Growing up, I think it’s easy to find your tribe. You are thrown into classes at school and are introduced to hundreds of other people. You quickly filter out those who aren’t quite your cup of tea and are drawn to those with the same interests, the same humour and values and of course taste in boy bands!
But what happens when you leave school and move on to further education or work? For the lucky few, you may stay in contact. For me, that wasn’t the case with everybody and as life changed, as some went to Uni and others went to work, as some moved away and some started families, I moved on and made new like-minded friends.
And then… life changes again. Careers take off, more friends move away, others drift just because and then you find yourself in this limbo of becoming a new Mum and not having a clue what you’re doing. Work friends are still at work, other friends haven’t had babies yet and suddenly you have to branch out and somehow make completely new friends; possibly one of the most daunting parts of becoming a Mum.
I mean, yes there are plenty of Mums at the classes and groups, there are very nice Mums at swimming, you even bump into some on a walk or at the park but how do you go from a chit-chat to asking ‘will you be my friend please?!’ Sounds daft saying it as an adult doesn’t it? How are kids so much better at this?!
However you go about it, you will get there, and if you are lucky, you will meet a fab group immediately and be friends for life but on the flip side, there may be some bumps in the road. What happens when it dawns on you that these people aren’t really for you? Ever had that? You may start to meet up more and more for the babies or children but then you realise that you have these friends for completely the wrong reasons. It’s bound to happen though, isn’t it? I mean, you are choosing friends based on when your babies were born and who is at that baby group each week. It isn’t always going to work out.
BUT, there are people out there just like you, you just have to know where to look! And sometimes it can be in the places you may not have thought of looking.
I met one of my close friends by chance. I happened to turn up to a Pilates class just to try it out and as I was explaining to the instructor that I’d had a c-section at Christmas, another girl came over very excitedly telling me that she had done too. Well, after a few weeks of chatting before and after class we quickly realised how similar we were and started to meet up with the boys… that was almost 5 years ago!
I have what I would call a handful of other friends who I have known for years and who I can completely rely on and message at any time, even if weeks or months have passed because that’s what true friendship is all about. I love having these amazing girls that I can turn to, knowing that there will be a friendly face to make me feel better, to make me smile, to cheer me up on a crappy day.
However, my other group of close friends don’t live close by. In fact, there are some that I have never even met! Yet, I speak to them all on a daily basis, I can talk to them about anything and everything, we get one another’s banter, we definitely all have the same sense of humour and most are pretty blunt the way I am also! (Not always a bad trait to have may I add!)
They are my online friends, my online girl tribe.
They are there at the click of a button, they are trustworthy, they are reliable, they have my back, they support me, they lift me up, they listen to my rants, they never judge and I know where I stand with each and every one of them. You see, it doesn’t matter if you know your girl tribe in real life or not, what is important is that you find them.
Parenting is tough. Some days are bloody nightmares. There are days when you are so utterly exhausted that you don’t know why you just put the milk in the cereal cupboard, why your keys are still in the front door or why you can’t remember what day of the week it is. Other days you will be beaming with pride, jumping with joy that your child finally slept through the night or ate a carrot at long last!! And this makes you sound like a crazy person but it’s ok, it really is, because you are not alone, there are these other crazy people out there and they get it, they get you!
You need these people, they will keep you sane, they will make those dark days feel sooo much better, they will make the worst times lighter, they will turn a negative into a positive and make you smile when you didn’t think you could; and more importantly, they will help to tackle that loneliness that Motherhood so often brings.
So, no matter where your girl tribe lies, no matter what distance there is between you all, if you can find these fabulous women, hold on to them because finding good friends as an adult is pretty tough.
Do you have your girl tribe yet?