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When a Big Mama Tribe Just Isn’t Your Vibe

“You don’t seem to have many friends around here”, my husband said (certainly not meaning to offend me but also unaware that he was now relegated to the couch for the next several nights.) I got mad for a minute, and then realized he was right.

I don’t have many friends. And I’m totally good with that.

When I was younger and single, having a large group of friends and being busy was really important to me. So much so that I was out every night, spending way too much money and getting seriously little amounts of sleep. But I was never happy, and never quite comfortable in my own skin. I had a large circle, but little substance.

Today, I’m a working mom, a writer, a wife, a volunteer—those are the things I hold most dear. I go out with my girlfriends once every month or so and can count the ones I share my deepest secrets with on just a couple of fingers. My closest friends aren’t even here—they’re the ones who knew me when, who know me now, and who have loved me through it all.

I tried finding a big mama tribe for a while. But finding friends is a lot like dating. You meet someone, and you instantly click, only to find a few months down the road that you don’t have nearly as much in common as you thought. Like a new romance, you stop calling and texting as much and gradually you go back to being strangers. Sometimes, you have to date a bit to find the real deal, “the one,” and is this case, your tribe.

I like it this way. My husband and I are mostly homebodies. We love to spend time with our kids. Neither one of us is much for small talk, and we can’t hang much past ten. Our close friends get that and love us anyway. They’re relationships built on many years of sports, work and wives (him), and time in the trenches, temper tantrums and occasional feelings of inadequacy (me). There’s no holds barred, brutal honesty, laughter and tears. There’s no more pressure to dress to impress or be the best at anything.

When I realized that I didn’t need to have all the things or all the friends I cut way back and just felt secure.

The friends I do have are close because we accept each other exactly as we are. We don’t put on airs (hell, sometimes we don’t even put on real pants) when we see each other. There are commonalities and differences, but at the core, our values are the same. We spend real time together when we can and we talk about everything. Topics range from our husbands, our kids to reality TV and real life—not the pretty painted picture we want to present to the outside world. It’s good. It’s comfortable. And it’s small. I have a tribe of friends and mamas that I can call on at any time. They are the best because they are the real thing.

I’m OK if I’m not part of the larger group because life is too short for faux friendships. There is a weight lifted when you can just “be”, and not spend all your time trying way too hard to fit into a place you don’t really want to be. A tribe is your people—near or far, frequent or sporadic. We build each other up and love each other all the way through this crazy, wonderful journey of motherhood.

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