​More than just a “Tribe.”

It is trendy for women to talk about their “mom tribes” or “girl squads” – our closest group of friends who “get” what we’re going through and with whom we share the obscure details of our daily lives. I have to be honest, I use these terms myself and sometimes feel a bit stupid. However, recently I have been reading much more on this topic, and propose what today’s mature and intelligent mothers are cultivating is indeed a very valuable asset. But you must make conscious efforts to assure your tribe is more of a curated advisory committee.

According to Parent.co, advisory committees are made up of people who may not always fit the definition of a typical friend, but who we turn to for advice, guidance and support. They often form and disband over specific issues and benefit from diverse experiences, perspectives, and ages. It’s just a fancy name for a natural concept – a network of people you trust and would ask for help. These are members of your “village,” your collection of subject-specific mentors.

As a mother, new or veteran, your tribes can tend to form around your children. Perhaps their kids are the same age, in the same preschool, take the same music lessons, or play on the same sports team. There are daily activities in which you cross paths, therefore, friendships naturally result. By no means am I saying these friendships are frivolous and unimportant, for they offer support and make up your daily tree of life.

I am suggesting, however, we should give more thought and respect to advisory role individuals that surround us as well. They fill a different, but no less important, niche in our lives. Friendships make us feel supported, but they’re two-way relationships, where advisory committees don’t have to be. The implied one-sided dynamic of advisory committees allows conversations to center around a single person with a focused purpose to help them work through a particular dilemma. When we call on members of our advisory committees, their purpose is clear. Listen to us. Guide us. Tell us the truth, even if it’s not what we want to hear.

Here is the interesting thing I would like to throw out there – what if you consciously groomed, selected, and formed your key “tribes” with people that serve both roles? I would argue, as an emotionally intelligent mother, it can be life changing. I realized that I was practicing it myself for quite a few years without really knowing what I was doing. My friends, my “tribes,” which are crucial for my overall well being as a woman and mother, are also in my life because they provide mature advice and insights.

One evening last week, I actually started to draw my tribes on in my daughter’s sketch pad that was on the dining room table. It was basically a circle with me in the middle, and spokes out the sides with my squad members. I had (have) a few different groups, as we all do, and some members occasionally overlap. And then I looked at my drawing and realized how diverse these women are? They are different ages, different stages in parenting, some with no children, different careers, some with no careers, some I have known over 25 years, some I have known under 5 years. But the one thing they all have in common is objectivity, unconditional friendship, and intelligence. With them around me, I am a better woman and mother.

You may be wondering, why am I posting this in a parenting blog site? Because at some point in the next few weeks, I suspect my daughter is going to come across my drawing in her sketch pad. And I am looking forward to telling her why I have the friends that I do.