Finding your village is a lot like finding a mate. You might have to go on a lot of bad dates before you find the moms of your dreams. But once you find them, it is a forever proposition.
Here are the top ways finding a Village is like dating:
- There are deal breakers: For me, if you can’t respect my obsession with Reality television and totally get the ways it makes me a better mother, then we are doomed. Ditto my aversion to Pinterest.
- .It doesn’t always click right away: Rome was not built in a day and neither is the Village. I have had friendships I thought would last forever fizzle out and ones I didn’t anticipate turn out to be long-term and fulfilling. Give it time before you decide if they are worth investing time over the long haul.
- Honesty and trust build a strong core—You wouldn’t stay with a man you didn’t trust and the same goes for your tribe. Don’t tell me what I want to hear, tell it like it is. That is unless we are talking about the way I look walking away in yoga pants—there is only one right answer there.
- In good times and bad—No one wants a friend who delights in weakness yet not in success. You need a cheerleader as well as a therapist to ride out the highs and lows. Even better if they show that support at an impromptu happy hour in your honor. The best part about the Village is the lack of a big, showy proclamation; it is an unspoken vow.
- In sickness and health—Never does the Village circle the wagons like when they are down a man. Dinners, carpools and discreet dissemination of information all equal we got your back.
- The perfect person might be right under your nose—Be open to conversation and the possibility of a relationship, you never know where or how the Village will come to be.
- It is a 50/50 proposition- Everyone has experienced a relationship with someone who was a taker. Who needs that? We already get that at home with our kids—especially when they are little. It is the emotional balance we give each other that keeps us from growing bitter over the sheer exhaustion and sacrifice of parenting.
- Opposites attract—I am immediately drawn to someone who shares the same core values but shakes up my world a little. Go ahead, make me try new things, give me a fresh perspective, convince me that sweet potato anything is not the devil’s handiwork and you have my undying love.
- Don’t talk about religion and politics initially: Nothing can derail a relationship faster than jumping into controversial topics too soon. Maybe you will both be on the same page. Or maybe you will want to punch each other but either way you need a foundation before you step anywhere near that Pandora’s Box.
And most importantly: You must be able to be completely yourself—The best part about the Village is the ability to just be. Sometimes there are no words and others there is a stream of consciousness. Sometimes it is easy and others it is hard. But all the time it is REAL.
See, like a good marriage, a Village is real and raw and wonderful. It is accepting, forgiving, loving and generous. It makes us better people simply by being a part of it. All the same attributes of a good mate if you’re lucky enough to find one.