The Benefits of Having a Tribe for Mothers

04 November, 2020
Having a tribe is important for mothers to support and care for each other, so they can give the best of themselves to their children. Discover more!

Having a tribe is essential when it comes to the act of motherhood. Mothers need to be with other mothers. That’s because it allows them to share experiences, ask for help and give the necessary support to each other. As a result, they’re able to give the best versions of themselves to their children.

The need for having a tribe in motherhood

Throughout history, societies have lived in groups in villages or communities. In all of them, upbringing has been a shared act among the different members of the community.

“Humanity has been designed to live in a herd.”

– Laura Gutman –

When a baby is very young and needs to be in contact with their mother, having a tribe allows her to devote her attention to them. Meanwhile, her community takes care of food, cleaning of the home, and caring for older children.

This type of matriarchal social structure promotes feminine values. At the same time, it promotes respect for life rhythms that allow mothers to connect with their natural instincts and respond to their children’s demands. Furthermore, it provides mothers with sustenance so that they aren’t overwhelmed by fatigue. This emotional support comes from other mothers, taking care of one another.

The Benefits of Having a Tribe for Mothers

From the age of 3 or 4, the rest of the members of the tribe (father, family, friends, and other children) become part of the upbringing of the children. The mother, who will continue to be the basic emotional support, will be able to continue caring for younger siblings or accompanying other mothers in their motherhood.

In these circumstances, it’s possible to raise healthy children by respectfully addressing their needs.

The nuclear family: The worst system for raising children

Following Laura Gutman’s words, it’s the heritage of Western societies to believe that parenting is exclusive to mothers and the nuclear family. Today, we live in big cities, isolated in small spaces and with few people. As a result, in this context, mothers must face motherhood alone.

The patriarchal system is responsible for the design of this social structure. And this system centers on male power in which the strongest dominates. In this scenario, we must raise detached children who need to unload their aggressiveness through their strength.

This is why the power of femininity and of motherhood as a source of warmth and emotional nourishment is made invisible. Separating mothers is one of the most effective ways to get women to disconnect from their maternal instinct because of the exhaustion of raising children alone.

This system definitely doesn’t serve to raise children with love and respect, because both mothers and fathers feel too alone to face the burden and responsibility of raising our children. Proof of this is the innumerable separations that occur as a result of the frustration that both members of the couple experience

Having a tribe: options for tribal parenting in our society

In spite of the current difficult circumstances for exercising healthy maternity for our children, there are several options that give mothers a rest and allow them to provide better attention to the children:

  • Breastfeeding groups, which favor breastfeeding, generating the primary mother-baby bond. A good example of tribe and motherhood.
  • Parenting Groups, through which mothers can share experiences and receive emotional support.
  • Maintain healthy relationships with extended family, friends and neighbors. As a result, mothers are able to rest and take care of themselves.
The Benefits of Having a Tribe for Mothers

  • Doulas: Mothers who professionally take care of new mothers and basic household tasks. Therefore, they allow mothers to focus on caring exclusively for their babies.
  • Nannys: Women who occasionally substitute the maternal figure. Therefore, they respectfully tend to the needs of the youngest children, without the need to go to the nursery.
  • Schools with new pedagogical approaches where older children can attend without being instructed. These approaches favor protection and individualized emotional care, a function originally performed by the extended family and the community.

Utopia for the near future: Childraising as a group

Not long ago, Cardona, M. and Terán, V. conducted a study on the childraising practices of families of African descent in Córdoba. The findings showed that these families preserved the legacy of their ancestors by means of contemporary expressions.

In this way, they recognized the mother as a leader in the socialization processes of her children. They emphasized the importance of relatives, favoring their participation in the upbringing of children. The practices of solidarity, mutual help, and the formation of good people were important values in upbringing.

This study shows how it’s possible to raise little ones in a group in our society. And this is a fact that will favor their development and growth in a way that’s more respectful of their vital needs.

 

  • Cardona, M. y Terán, V. (2017). Pautas, prácticas y creencias de crianza de las familias afrodescendientes cordobesas. Revista Eleuthera, 17, 13-30. DOI: 10.17151/eleu.2017.17.2.
  • Gutman, L. (2009). La Revolución de las Madres. El desafío de nutrir a  nuestros hijos. Editorial RBA Libros S.A. Barcelona.