Everyone says you need to “find your tribe.”
You’re supposed to have that group of women with whom you do life, spend time with, and support each other. Your tribe will babysit your kids and bring you meals when something goes wrong in life; laugh and cry with you; go on girl’s nights out. This tribe will just be there for you and you for them.
But life is unpredictable and doesn’t always go the way we think it should.
Life isn’t Pinterest perfect and doesn’t always supply you with the things society says it should. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations we never expected. We find ourselves feeling like we are alone and don’t have a tribe.
So what do you do when you realize you don’t have that strong group of women around you to uplift and support you? How do you get by without a tribe of your own?
Unfortunately, I’m afraid I can actually answer that question.
I used to have a mom tribe. In fact, I had a very strong group of friends and we spent a lot of time together. We were all stay-at-home moms who went to each other’s houses to hang out and let our kids play. We’d help each other through difficult situations, attend each other’s children’s birthday parties, and attend church together. We just did life together. We had a very special bond.
But, then things changed…
Three of them moved out of state.
One of them became distant until our friendship faded away completely.
Two of them turned into more of acquaintances.
On top of that, the two women in my life I consider my best friends live hundreds of miles away from me.
So I now find myself in a place with no best friends living nearby and no more tribe.
In all honesty, it’s been hard. Really hard.
Sometimes I feel like I can take on the world and all it throws at me with just my husband and my kids by my side. We go about our daily routines – work, school, extracurricular activities, etc. – and it works.
But there are also those days when it feels lonely. Incredibly lonely.
Honestly, I’m jealous. I see pictures on social media of people I know out to eat with their girlfriends, going on playdates, and spending time with their best friends. I miss having a tight-knit group of friends. I hate that I can’t give my best friend a hug when one of us is having a bad day or hang out with her whenever I feel like it. I miss having that support system around me that I can turn to when I’m struggling.
I’ve always believed that people come into our lives for a reason. Sometimes they are with us for a lifetime and sometimes just for a season. It’s wonderful when you have those lifelong relationships and friendships. My best friend and I have known each other since we were in the fifth grade and have worked hard to keep our relationship strong and continuous. But not all friendships can be like that.
I fear I’ve had more seasonal relationships than I’d like to admit.
Looking back on them, I can understand that those people were in my life when I needed them. Perhaps they were there while I was going through a rough patch and needed extra support. Or maybe it was that they needed me.
But no matter the reason, it’s not easy when those relationships fade away or when you’re no longer able to connect face to face due to physical distance. Life changes when you no longer have that strong group of women by your side.
When I was in high school I thought friendships were hard. All the backstabbing, gossiping, mean girls, and whatnot. But I’ve learned that relationships actually grow more difficult to maintain as we grow older ourselves. At least, in my case.
As life pulls you downriver, the scenery shifts and changes; the people in your life come and go. Sometimes you lose friends when you go from being single to getting married. Perhaps it’s the transition from having no children to having children. I’ve lost many friends when I’ve moved from one state to another. Sometimes people just aren’t good at long-distance relationships even if you are. You know what they say, “Out of sight, out of mind.”
Turns out the river of my life had to spit me up onto a shore where I’m on my own. No tribe nearby.
So what do I do? What can I do without a mom tribe?
I text my best friend who lives hundreds of miles away from me on a daily basis and I connect with her the best way I can. I cherish and relish in the two times a year we get to see each other. I look to my husband for support in the ways he can give. No, it’s not the same as a relationship with a girlfriend, but he’s always there for me no matter what.
And when I’m having a bad day and feeling especially lonely…well, I cry. Sometimes a lot. I mourn the loss of my tribe and wish things were different. I pray and ask God to give me strength and help me through.
Some days are a real struggle. I suppose that’s why I busy myself doing so many different things (full-time job, part-time job, podcast, blog, baking, etc.). Having things to do helps keep my mind off of not having girlfriends to share it with.
Even though I allow myself the right to feel lonely sometimes, I also remind myself how blessed I am.
I am blessed with a wonderful family whom I love so very much. I am blessed to have such an amazing best friend in my life that I can do life with even if it is via text message. And even though I’ve lost relationships, I am truly blessed that they were part of my life at all. My life wouldn’t be the same if I hadn’t had those girlfriends in my life.