Welcome to Mom Motivation Mondays where weekly contributing writers share their motherhood experiences to encourage you to find the joy in being a mom.

{This week: Post by Heather}

We all need moms that surround us and make us feel better about all things mom-related. They support you unconditionally through the good days and the bad, while also helping build you up during those rough times of need during the season of motherhood.

Becoming a mom is such an amazing feeling.

The excitement you feel when you find out you’re pregnant to the first ultrasound when you get to hear the heartbeat.

The sense of wonder as you marvel at your newborn baby cradled in your arms.

The feeling of tremendous responsibility as you fit your little one into the car seat for the first time.

The births of both of my daughters are etched forever in my memory. It’s as if they happened yesterday.

Something else that is forever etched in my memory is how completely alone I felt after my first versus how supported I felt after my second due largely to my mom tribe. I realize how much I need my mom tribe.

What is a mom tribe?

Moms that surround you and make you feel better about all things mom-related. They support you unconditionally through the good days and the bad, while also helping build you up during those rough times of need. They don’t criticize, and they certainly don’t judge. They rally together and make it a point to be there without fail, not just for the good times.

When I first learned I was pregnant with my first daughter I was elated, I mean through the roof, jump on the bed and scream at the top of my lungs elated. I anxiously awaited my belly. Everyday I would walk around trying to stick my stomach out to urge my preggo belly to “pop”.

I imagined how we would do all these fun things together…

we would go shopping together, me pushing this little and irresistible bundle of joy,

we would have such fun, playing with rattles and practicing “tummy time”,

I’d dress her in cute outfits that were coordinated and adorable.

So I was quite confused when out came this little girl who cried all. the. time.

She cried all day and then she woke up all night.

I was a new mom who had no idea what to do and not for lack of trying.

I tried everything. I read books. I Googled. I talked to my mother. I talked to my grandmother.

She must have colic.

She must have gas.

She must, she must, she must.

That time in my life was especially painful. I wanted so badly to enjoy being a mother. Not only was I failing at being a good mom, but I was failing at enjoying it. I couldn’t get her to stop crying. She woke up between 8 to 9 times a night, every night.

I was tired. I was angry. I was resentful.

Looking back now it’s a wonder I even made it through. I had no one except my husband.

Where I Found My Mom Tribe

We had just moved to my husband’s first duty station in North Carolina. Let me put it into perspective for you. The day he checked in he started working 12+ hours everyday while I stayed home, trying in vain to get our daughter to stop crying.

We stayed at a mutual friend’s house for over a month.Then the day after we moved into base housing my husband left for training.

I felt alone all the time, even with neighbors surrounding me and a squadron of ladies.

A close friend of mine I’d previously known was soon stationed by us, and I was relieved to have someone I felt I could depend on and hang out with. I was so excited.

Here was someone who understood me. We had hung out all the time at our last duty station. It would be so great to have someone to hang out with.

We hung out a couple of times. She would invite me to things and every time I would have to remind her that I couldn’t go out because my daughter was on a strict sleep schedule (I tried everything). I tried to explain how much she cried. I tried to explain that she could come over and we could hang out while my daughter napped.

She kept growing more and more distant, and eventually we tried talking about it.

She talked. I got angry. Ridiculously angry. I’m pretty sure I yelled and may have said mean things.

She explained that I was constantly negative. She didn’t understand why I hated being a mother. She said my negativity was making it hard to be around. She didn’t understand why being a mother was so hard for me

She made a terrible situation I was going through exponentially worse.

I already knew I wasn’t being positive about my role as mother. Knowing this only compounded my feelings of inferiority as a mother.

It wasn’t lost on me that other mothers could handle their baby, their other kids and all the housework, cleaning and grocery shopping. The differences were glaring, and I felt I was doing it all wrong, all the time. I didn’t need anyone to point out that I was.

A few months later we were moved to a different base in North Carolina. At first, I was upset, but amazing things were about to happen to my life as a mom.

This is when I found my “mom tribe”.

The first person who became part of my “mom tribe” was, Jaimi, the amazing woman who runs this blog. She was the first woman who was willing to hang out with our little ones. She was and still is completely supportive as a fellow mom. She never made me feel bad about my feelings. She introduced me to other moms in a mommy playdate group she started where I met three amazing women I still consider close friends to this day.

This was the first time I realized I wasn’t alone and there were other mothers who would support me even though I was struggling with my daughter.

By this time, my husband was deployed and my daughter was 18 months waking up 8 to 9 times every night. I had no one to help me. The days were never-ending and because I never slept, the nights were as well. It was a trying time, but everyday I had women who supported me and it made those never-ending days bearable.

The second group of women who became a part of my “mom tribe” were wives in my husband’s squadron. They let me vent, cry and lean when those deployment days were hard. They would pat me on the back and tell me that it would get easier. They were amazing and gave me something to look forward to when my husband was gone.

The third part of my “mom tribe” was an amazing woman and her family who helped me every step of the way during the first deployment and every step after. She is forever firmly rooted in my life. She supported me unconditionally then and every day since the moment we became friends.

Fast forward a couple months later and we found out that my daughter’s adenoids were EXTREMELY large and had been blocking her ability to breathe, making it difficult to sleep. She also had fluid sitting in her ears all the time. After her adenoids were taken out and tubes were put into her ears something that can only be described as magical happened.

After twenty-six months, I felt like I met my daughter for the first time.

She was happy. She laughed. She woke up from her naps, not crying but smiling. She was a joy to be around. She became an entirely different child.

The differences in her behavior were striking. I would often cry during this period because I was so extremely grateful we figured out what was wrong with her. I felt as if I was coming out from under a black cloud.

And most importantly, I found out why she cried all the time. She was tired. She never slept because she couldn’t breathe.

I felt vindicated.

It wasn’t me.

Fourteen months later I had our second daughter while my husband was gone on his second deployment. You would think having a baby and a toddler during this deployment would be harder than the first. Funny thing about life, there’s a lot of unexpectedness.

The differences I experienced after I had my first and second daughter are attributed to the support I received from my “mom tribe”.

Side note: I have the support of my amazing husband, but with him being gone a lot through both of our daughters lives I need my mom tribe too.

 Even with my husband being deployed during the birth and the next 4 months of my second daughter’s life I rarely felt alone. Case in point, my best friend came to help me at the hospital during the birth, while her family watched my first daughter. My grandma came and watched the dogs and the house while I was at the hospital. My neighbor had her two boys walk the dogs for me.

The women at my squadron asked what I would need in the weeks prior to her birth. I told them the only thing I wanted was not to be left alone in the hospital. I didn’t want her birth to be overshadowed by my emotions of missing my husband.

I had so many women come from our neighborhood and squadron. I was not alone the entire day after I gave birth. I didn’t have a second to feel sad that my husband wasn’t there. There were days I cried A LOT. Having a newborn and a three-year old while worrying about my husband overseas was exhausting and overwhelming. There were times I complained and was definitely not positive. Through it all the women in my life never once said I was being negative or that I was hating being a mother.

That is what a mom tribe does.

They support you in your times of need.

They help and overextend themselves to you when you need it.

We all need a mom tribe. My mom tribe changed me to the core. Throughout my motherhood experience, they were a key element in my enjoying my time as a mom. This is why I need my mom tribe.

I am forever grateful for all of these women who touched my life in such a positive way.

Instead they lifted me up.

They held my daughter so I could shower. They came over during naptime. They ventured from the next town over to keep me company. They made me feel like I was doing okay. They reassured me that they too had been there.

They are my “mom tribe”.

I need my mom tribe because they taught me there are many different parts of being a mom, and that sticking it out with one another is the best thing we can do.

I know how hard being a mom is especially when you feel alone, and when you feel like you’re doing everything wrong.

Having a tribe of women who are there for the good and the bad will change you as a mom.

It makes all the difference.

It did for me.

Build Your Mom Tribe

Always reach out to other moms.

Attempt to help those women brand new to motherhood, who need help the most.

Help women so they don’t have to walk alone.

Assure them they are doing a great job even when they are so tired of the crying-their baby’s and their own.

Comfort a mom when everyone else has turned their backs because she does not fit the shiny, happy stereotype of what it means to be a mother.

Band together and build each other up. 

A weekly series of motivation for moms brought to you by stay at home mom bloggers at The Stay-at-Home Mom Survival Guide.

How did you find your mom tribe?

We all need moms that surround us and make us feel better about all things mom-related. They support you unconditionally through the good days and the bad, while also helping build you up during those rough times of need during the season of motherhood.