OK guys, think about that special woman in your life – she could be your partner, girlfriend, mom, aunt, daughter, or your bestie. How important is she to you? Does she have a “tribe” and is she taking care of herself?
Of course at the Center for Men’s Excellence, we often address the issue of men becoming isolated, but it is also super important for the women in our lives to have a “tribe” or support system and for them to also take care of themselves. For example, early parenting is not necessarily all rainbows and butterflies, in fact it can be a stressful and challenging time for new and even experienced parents. Maureen Ryan-Blake, the founder of Power of the Tribe recently interviewed Dr. Singley to discuss the ways in which women can lose contact with other women who can support them – and how men can be part of the solution. Part of the discussion addressed the fact that early parenthood is a time where people – moms and dads alike – need more social support and connection with people in their lives who care. Research shows that social support not only improve mothers’ well-being but also helps mothers feel more confident and equipped to handle the stressors of parenthood.
Maureen Ryan-Blake graduated from SUNY Stony Brook with two advanced degrees in, Education and Leadership, and 20th Century American Diplomatic History. Maureen began her career working on Wall Street for companies such as Josephthal, Lyons and Ross, Canter Fitzgerald and NewsCorp. She went on to implement a $6 million Federal Grant within 5-schools that served students aged K-Post Graduate. Her school zone was awarded an additional $2 million for their success and sustainability in their grant implementation. Currently, Maureen is the founder and creator of Belle Cire Co. luxury candles and wax art. Her mission is to serve female entrepreneurs and working moms helping them find their tribe of friends for the next level of life and success.
Early parenthood is a time during which it’s very common for women to become isolated or withdrawn around the birth of their child. It is also common for mothers to face challenges when fulfilling basic self-care needs and sleep. They may become overwhelmed with their transition from woman to mother and may become hyper-focused on their child (i.e., become a child-center household). As a result, friendships may wither away and they may try to get more support from their partner. In his Power of the Tribe interview with Maureen, Dr. Singley explains that “No matter how great your partner is, he or she can’t meet all of those needs. You are going to need support above your awesome partner.” It turns out that when we want our partner to meet all our needs, we are putting an insurmountable amount of pressure on them. Also, when these needs are not met by our partner, we are creating a recipe for mental health difficulties and resentment in our relationship.
What can we do for the women in our lives?
Dr. Singley discloses that he not only tries to be sensitive but also tries to understand his biases such as what he might unintentionally be finding himself doing to prevent women from being together. He also communicates with his wife by asking her questions such as “when are you going to go see your friend for lunch?” or “when are you going to do your self-care…your yoga…etc.” He explains by encouraging her to spend time with her tribe, “she is better at our relationship when she is out with her tribe and out connecting because how she shows up in those relationships feedback into our relationship.”
By supporting the special women in your life, and encouraging them to find and/or interact with their tribe, you are helping to promote a strong framework for support. This will reverberate into your own relationship and increase meaningful interaction, ensuring all needs are getting met.