When I was pregnant I spent a lot of time perusing Pinterest devouring everything I could find about parenting, coping with a newborn, survival tips, etc… Seriously, any blog post entitled “Top 10 things no one tells you about becoming a mother” or “The secret to surviving with a newborn” was bookmarked and read over an over again whenever a moment of panic came over me. I frequently found myself wondering how I would cope, especially since I lost my Mum 3 years ago, not having that person who raised you to turn to for advice is difficult.
A lot of the blog posts were repetitive and fairly obvious, but occasionally I came across a gem of advice that stuck with me.
One such piece of advice was “Find your tribe”… Let me explain…
There are literally thousands of different parenting styles – breast vs bottle, attachment parenting, tiger moms, baby wearing, cloth nappies, SAHM vs working, baby-led vs routines…everyone has their own style that works for them.
…But at the end of the day we all want what’s best for our babies, and despite our own preferences we all are the same deep down; parents.
With this in mind I wanted to share my experiences in finding my tribe, the groups of women without whom I could not have coped half as well in those early days of motherhood.
Facebook – I have always been a fan of online friendships, you don’t necessarily have to meet someone face to face to have a connection and my birth group on Facebook is a prime example of this. When I was pregnant I downloaded the Babycentre app which included a forum with groups for each month you are due. So I joined the November forum and enjoyed sharing my experiences of morning sickness and worries over lack of symptoms etc. It was invaluable in those early weeks when we weren’t telling people. However, the danger with open online forums is trolls and drama, so a private facebook group was set up and I can honestly say they are the loveliest bunch of women in the world. It is brilliant having a tribe of 200 mothers to connect with during night feeds, people to share experiences with, share and seek advice and most importantly have a laugh with.
Instagram – I’ve always been a fan of Instagram, but since having Zoe I have discovered a whole new side to it. When posting all the initial newborn baby spam I came across a tribe of mums and dads, all full of advice and eager to share their own lives. Also when you are sleep deprived the picture-based social media is much easier to take in.
Classes and clubs – I have signed up for a few classes in the last few weeks, I went to my first one last week (actually with a couple of ladies I met through the above facebook group) and I loved getting out and socialising and seeing Zoe socialise with other babies. I have also been along to a “sling meet” to try out different slings and tp meet other baby-wearers. Getting out of the house is important for my sanity, and meeting up with adults and having proper two sided conversations; priceless.
Existing friends with kids; Once you become a mother you gain a new found respect for your friends with kids. I am lucky enough to have some wonderful mummy friends who have imparted their wisdom and helped me more than they know.
I suppose this post is part advice, find a group of parents you connect with, either online or at local groups and utilise their wisdom; afterall it does take a village. It is also part HUGE GREAT BIG THANK YOUS! to all of the wonderful mothers (and fathers) who have reached out to me and helped me come to terms with this life changing event.
Oh, and if you are a parent (or chronic insomniac) feel free to reach out to me, I can usually be found on Instagram and Twitter (@nellyscupcakes) during night feeds, desperate for something to keep my eyes open.
Nelly Ritchie | nellyscupcakes.co.uk