My son loves the movie Jungle Book. The tale of Mowgli the mancub that gets separated due to the untimely death of his parents who are killed by the dangerous wild tiger Shere khan. Mowgli gets misplaced and picked up by Bagheera the black panther who very instinctively saves Mowgli’s life and later convinces a pack of wolves to raise him as one of their own. The truth is I have always felt an affinity to Bagheera, he is both motherly and fatherly in nature but has more of a Godfather role.
The point is that a black panther is a loner by nature so naturally they know a tiny human is not befitting to his lifestyle. So he determines that a pack of wolves is more suitable to what little human Mowlgi needs. Mowgli is still displaced as he grows, except he is still considered part of the wolf pack. Who sets the conditional acceptance? The mother wolf of course.
Navigating unchartered waters
Now, this whole psychological analysis might be all in my head but as I’ve seen my child grow, as a mother your role is also to protect the tribe you create. You and your cub start growing together, navigating uncharted waters to find members for your pack. It takes a village as they say, but finding a mum tribe is hard work.
My family has a long roster of children ranging from adults to toddlers, but it is easier when you meet mothers and fathers who have a child in your child’s age range. The conversations are much more fluid, you don’t feel judged and you secretly take mental notes on means and methods you felt were extremely effective when their child threw the toy car across the room.
For me, finding connections with other mothers, in particular, has been challenging. Perhaps it’s because I only have two friends of six that have a child in my age range. So the topic of discussions are relatable and you feel understood instead of expressing your feelings to someone who really cannot yet relate. People with nieces and nephews – I am sorry but NO, you cannot relate quite yet. I have heard this many times and it absolutely not the same as having your own child. I used to think so too! But no, it’s not. Not even a little.
Your mum tribe starts with you
Your wolf-like motherly instincts are born and you set the tone. I think of my son as Mowgli who one day will navigate on his own without mummy watching over him and decide what pack he belongs to.
I am in the growing stages of the mum tribe for our pack and I think it’s due to the fact that my generation is halfway there or they live around the globe. Also making friends is not as easy as it used to be. I think technology has attributed to this social isolation, although it’s meant to help us be connected at all times, it, in fact, isolates you more.
We are busy sharing social media content of our own child instead of interacting in person. I am certainly guilty of this too. I actually made a connection with a mum at a playground, a much-unexpected scenario for me. Like my toddler who used to parallel play and now is socializing more in a group setting, one on one contact is inevitable.
Those welcome surprises
I’m a skeptic, I am already thinking she’s too nice, too available to converse and relate. Then boom, she hits me with the playgroup question. I wasn’t expecting that one! Sometimes I am surprised that mums like me are looking for advice and like myself hesitate to create a true connection for the sake of being overprotective.
My mum tribe is small and I am currently looking to expand it. Being a mum is such an important role in itself and finding a pack that you and your child connect to is so important. My son goes to a gym class once a week. The mums that have given me the green light of friendship have been the ones who remember my son’s name and smile at me in understanding when I have mismatched his socks in class.
They are the ones who hand me some wipes when I’m desperately digging around in his backpack for the ones I forgot at home. They smile in appreciation when my son high fives their child who is having a meltdown cause the choo-choo train time at gym is over. The signs will always show themselves and believe it or not your child’s inner guidance can serve as an example for the pack you wish to embrace.
A mum tribe is hard to find, just remember to join forces with mums who will help navigate the world of motherhood alongside you as a united pack.
Denise A. Castro is a Cuban American who currently resides in Miami, Florida. She is a new mother to her son Anthony and recently returned to the workforce after a brief maternity leave. She owns a photography business called Dac Mac Photography and is passionate about Mom blogs, old school film and Instagram for social media storytelling. She loves traveling and exploring alongside her husband and son, and reading a good book while snuggled with her French Bulldog Hamlet.