As humans we long to belong. Like it or not, we all have an intrinsic need to fit in. Somewhere. Somehow. With someone, or some group.
My personal theory is that this stems from our cavewoman ancestry. In pre-historic times being an outcast was akin to a death sentence. Without the relative security of the tribe, we were no more than mountain lion fodder. Fitting in, being liked, being a productive and useful member of a tribe was more than just a nicety. It was survival.
But what does this have to do with motherhood? Well let’s take motherhood in the cavewoman era as an example. From what we know of anthropology, our pre-historic mothers were very much a tribal society. Cavewoman imagery centres around close knit cohesive groups of women, settled within camps, sharing joint community chores, raising children in the much nostalgised “village” environment. Motherhood was a simple, communal activity. Free from the current motherhood distractors of social media, mummy guilt and post-baby body shame.
In a nutshell, cave-mama was as removed from contemporary motherhood as you could possibly get. Does it sound like I’m romanticising here? Perhaps. Though I also acknowledge prehistoric motherhood would undoubtedly have been brutal. I imagine incredibly high rates of infant and antenatal mortality. Not to mention extreme environmental vulnerability, and, I theorise, the potential violence inflicted by a less-evolved human species? I’m sure it was no walk in the park.
But I do wonder when, how and why we lost our drive to maintain those constructs of cavewoman motherhood (and indeed sisterhood) that could well serve us immeasurably in today’s society.
The further I travel into my motherhood experience, the more I crave the tribe. The village it takes to raise my children. Where is it? How can I create it? Would this tribal concept even work in modern day metropolitan society?
If I had access to such a tribe would my motherhood journey be easier or more fulfilling? Less fraught with self-doubt and uncertainty?
Perhaps I’ll never know. Maybe tribal culture truly is as extinct as the triceratops. But that won’t stop me from seeking it. That’s why I have this blog. To seek out my tribe, at least my virtual tribe, that is. Who’d like to join me?