By Sara Velie of Cat Bird Seat Creatives
Call it what you want to call it, but these titles aren’t just slogans for a lapel pin; they are the key to life.
My husband and I moved to Central Ohio a little over 7 years ago and knew, essentially, no one. We had just gotten married and pregnant and worked opposite shifts...a super stress-free trifecta that really lends itself to making a splash in the big city. While I had any number of friends and family back in the Akron area, I quickly realized I needed to find my people “abroad.”
I met the first member of my mom squad when I was VERY pregnant with my oldest daughter and she was moving right along in the pregnancy of her youngest. We clicked because our husbands worked together and because the universe just knew we were one in the same. She is tough as nails (as in builds things, is a Crossfit goddess, and works in a school full of visually impaired children) but also cries at the most mundane of children’s movies. We share a love of the mystical and the vulgar; taking both very seriously.
The next member came from another coworker of my husband’s (they have really good taste in ladies) and was younger, spunky, laughed loudly and lived very close. She is Russian and tells me that English is her second language almost weekly. I am quick to remind her that she has lived here since she was a small child and that is no longer an excuse...she uses it anyways. She was a few years out from having kids when I met her and instead I got to know her during wedding planning and showers, watched her and her husband say their vows, and let her in on how motherhood can suck the life out of you or give it back. When she got around to having kids, after saying mine seemed easy enough, she solidified her place in the mom squad. She was initiated while covered in fecal matter and breast milk.
The final member of this elusive club came to me via water. The YMCA community pool, to be exact. This was the first real test of endurance in forming my tribe since the ONLY common ground was that our 6 month old daughters were in the same Mommy and Me swim class. Picking up a stranger in a bar is one thing, but in a well lit aquatic center while wearing a swim dress is quite another. She is spastic, involved, well dressed and an incredibly hard worker that also knows EXACTLY what to say to me when I am spiraling into madness. My kids look to her as an authority figure and listen better to the words coming from her mouth than the outbursts from my own.
I compiled this band of misfits not by accident, but by necessity. They are the people that lift me up, that validate my energy, that listen to me complain and that remind me to be grateful. Each one of them pushes to me explore and assists me in adventure (both with our children and on our own). They step in when I am stressed, they make me laugh when the day was “much too much”, and they know just what to do to turn my complaining into belly laughs. I like to hope I do the same for them, but they keep me around either way.
These women have brought me baskets of hand me down clothes, homemade dinners, countless bottles of wine and beer and the warmest feelings of love and assurance. They are the first people I call with every single victory and also with every defeat. They listen, they nod, they agree, they call me out. Rinse. Repeat. Could I raise my kids with the help of my just husband and extended family? Sure. Would I be nearly as sane (still questionable)? Not a chance.
I’m not sure if the stars aligned, if my vibe, in fact, attracted my tribe or if serendipity is strong in the water here. What I am sure of is that I could not effectively maneuver this life as a working mom without my girl gang/mom squad/vibe tribe by my side. Find this group, cling to them tightly, add to it carefully and guard it with your life. After all, these ladies are the sweet lemonade after life pelts you,unrelentingly, with lemons.