What is a tribe? According to Merriam Webster Online, it's a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest.
In your case as a single mom, you need a group of people who have you and your child's best interest at heart. These are the people you call when you need to vent about late or not existent child support payments. kid. Or when you're exhausted and need someone to pick up the kids so you can get a restorative nap.
So who should you have in your tribe?
The Other Parent
The relationship between me and my son's father hasn't always been roses. However, in recent months it has done a 360 and we have productive conversations about our son. Never in a million years did I think it would happen but I'm glad it did. I've always made it a point to never badmouth my son's dad in his presence. I want my son to form his own opinions separate from mine. I understand that this is not the case for everyone. I understand that some single moms want to make voodoo dolls for their exes. Don't. Let it go and let God.
Family & Friends
You have your biological family and the family you pick up along the way. Since my son's Dad lives in another state I rely heavily on my family and friends for support. When I need someone to do a pickup, drop off or just give me a few moments to breathe, they are there. It's also important for my son to understand that he has a loving family. He has aunties and uncles that are my biological brothers and sisters but love him just the same. We've even adopted some grandmothers to add to our village.
Child Care Providers
I decided when my son was born that he would only go to a home daycare. I wanted him to be in a home atmosphere since he would be away from me for 10 hours a day. I also like that many home daycares are licensed for 24 hour care. That way if I was running late, I didn't have to worry about being charged a fee. Obviously this is not a green light to abuse a home daycare, but its one less thing to worry about. Another important piece is finding good sitters. I have to respect that my family and friends have lives and aren't always going to be available. Luckily I've always been able to find college students who have been great sitters for my son. There have been times where I didn't have anywhere to go but just wanted someone to play with my son while I took a nap or went for a walk.
Now that my son is in school, I have learned the great joy of connecting with the parents of his classmates. They invite him over for play dates and have picked him up after school when I am running late. This is obviously a reciprocal relationship! I make an honest attempt to not only call these parents when I need something.
Single Parent Friends
Find them. They are out there. There is nothing like having a friend who is also a single parent who understands your "why me!?" moments. There are MeetUp groups for single parents. The one in my area plans events a couple of times a month that are kid friendly and adult only.
Who else do you have in your tribe?