Thursday, July 18, 2013
Are You Tribal? (with pictures!)
Parenting can be isolating.
You want something so badly and then you get it and you think you're finally 'just like everyone else' and you feel incredibly isolated and it's kind of like "whoa, that wasn't expected."
However misguided, in our early months we didn't have anyone over. I didn't have one meal delivered to our home. Instead, I cooked like mad before they came home and stored up as much stuff as I could and then we ate it all and what happened after that is actually a blur. I know we both lost a lot of weight but that was mostly because of stress and running (literally) everywhere but maybe it was because we didn't eat much. I joke that the best weight loss plan ever was to suddenly parent two kids at once.
I was so anxious as a new parent. I know that's normal. But I think mine was a little bit beyond normal. The truth was, I felt so out of my element I didn't want anyone observing me as a parent--especially another parent. I remember having one good friend over while the kids were napping and then basically shooing her out when they started to wake up--because I guess I was too afraid I'd do something stupid while parenting them in front her (the experienced Mom).
So we holed up, holed in, roomed in, stayed in, and besides a family visit or two here and there really didn't have any help or visitors. Some of that was good for bonding and attachment but most of it was just plain crazy now that I look back on it. We needed help. We needed a tribe.
We still feel--for the most part--alone. We don't have a tribe of close by folks who are parenting young kids as well, where we can zip in and out of each others' homes and lives and trade tips and borrow sugar and swap babysitting favors for each other.
I never knew how important that would be. Or at least in theory it should/could be--since I don't have it I realize I can only fantasize about how nice that would be.
When I was growing up there were four other sets of sisters on our street, all about our ages. We went between the collective five houses and yards all day every day. Everyone's parents watched out for everyone else's kids. I don't really remember the parents necessarily hanging out together but they were friends. And yes, I realize it was a different time, when your kids could run (wild) around the neighborhood, up to the park, down to the corner store, etc. etc. etc.
I recently read a tip on a parenting blog and it just said simply: find your people. Specifically, she advised "Find those who can take your kids at a moment’s notice, or whisk you away for an evening out, or who will squeeze themselves into a too small table in order to share a meal, no matter what food is being served."
That sounds so, so very luxurious and nice.
I've told you many times how much I used to love thirtysomething. I wanted THAT (and now I'm upperthirtysomething so I need to figure it out fast!). The fact that everyone was always in each others' homes, tending each others kids, eating things out of each others fridge, laying around on each others' couches..it all looked so normal and plain and nice (of course, I'm first to admit that I would probably be the overly anxious one, always worried what people were thinking of my floors, my food, my parenting, my everything. Damn.)
I don't have that. I don't have a tribe.
The very simple truth is: I don't want to create a new tribe, necessarily. I have people in my life that I love very dearly, but they are far flung. None of my friends live near me. My sister is nearly two hours away. Our neighborhood is somewhat devoid of other parents. I want all my people to magically appear within a one mile radius of ME. Geez, how egocentric is that? Sigh. Oh, and while I'm ordering up exactly what I want I do want a few new tribe members--those who were infertile and then adopted twiblings from Ethiopia. Or at least some transracial adoptive families in the mix.
My question is: do you have a tribe?
On a different note, my what a difference two years makes huh? Of course, I'm still in a Momsuit in all photos :)
PS RunningMama--what happened to your blog? I lost everything in googlereader because I am an idiot.
Posted by MyTwoLines at 7:26 AM