To be fair, I didn’t have much of a mom squad to begin with. But I did have some women with kids, of similar age as mine, that met up sometimes. We’d chat while the kids ran around. Their kids were also homeschooled, so we shared some things in common.
They were nice. I was nice in return. It mostly played out that way — until the pandemic.
My Mom Squad: Pre-Pandemic
I last saw my mom squad a few days before they closed our states’ schools because of COVID-19 infections. They thought it would be a temporary measure; they mentioned that the playgrounds would crowd with kids now off from school. My stomach sort of sunk. I’d known, from looking at exponential curves and talking to my husband, that we were in this for the long haul, that I shouldn’t be at the playground to begin with— but I’d come because I wanted my kids to have one more chance to play before what we knew would be a long isolation.
I was a chicken and I didn’t want to rock the boat, so I agreed with them. No, I’m sure the pandemic won’t last long. Yes, there will be a lot of kids on the playground. Someone had brought homemade snacks— someone was always bringing homemade snacks, and they always shared them generously. My mom squad was kind to my kids. My kids got along with their kids.
Then The Pandemic Happened
We had a Facebook Messenger thread going, which mostly touched on park dates, so I didn’t check it for a very long time. What was the use? One woman privately invited me to join Facebook Messenger Kids so my son could talk to her daughter. But I didn’t really talk to any of them. Why would I? We didn’t have much in common aside from our homeschool meetups. But I depended on them, and they depended on me.
We knew we couldn’t see my son’s best friend: her father worked outside the home as an essential worker for the government, and therefore, they couldn’t socially isolate. But my son talked to the mom squad’s kids online occasionally, especially his best friend.
Sometime around June, I scrolled through the thread. What I saw horrified me.
How The Mom Squad Treated The Pandemic
This mom squad was carrying on as if the pandemic didn’t exist. Not completely, but mostly: there were invitations to go tubing down the river. There were invitations to pool parties. One of the moms asked if we wanted to come to an Usbourne Book Party, and I not-so-nicely said we were self-isolating, thanks. She replied that it was actually a virtual party.
That was the last time I talked to them.
They clearly weren’t taking the pandemic seriously. And it wasn’t just these moms. In our homeschooling Facebook groups, mothers I considered friends were asking about sports and co-op classes. They refused to post my request asking for other moms who were socially isolating to contact me so our kids could Zoom together. This wasn’t just my own small mom squad in denial. It felt like every homeschooling mom squad was in denial. One old friend said she was starting to take her kids places — in the middle of the summer, when our numbers were terrifyingly high.
I Couldn’t Deal With The Anti-Science Mentality
I’d always had differences with this mom squad, but they weren’t dealbreakers. They were uneasy with me for letting my six-, eight-, and 10-year-olds listen to Hamilton, with all of two f-words in it. They all had their own personal Jesus. They cooked. They talked about pop culture and top-100 music, none of which was my thing. They embraced Disney. More than one of them did multi-level marketing. But I let it go: they were kind to my kids, and my kids liked theirs.
But I couldn’t deal with this mom squad’s lack of attention to science and public health. That was a dealbreaker.
This mom squad was tubing merrily down the river like COVID-19 didn’t exist. While we were self-isolating to keep my husband and me safe (we’re both high-risk; an immune issue for me and asthma for him), this mom squad threw a pool party. They clearly didn’t understand the science behind the virus, the need for everyone to participate in solving the greatest public health crisis of our time, and the imperative to protect the weakest among us by self-isolating as much as possible: i.e., even if your husband is working, you don’t continue on with your non-masked activities.
I Was Out Of That Mom Squad
I couldn’t tolerate people who were clearly so anti-science and unwilling to be educated. These are people who are educating their own children, and they were incapable of following CDC guidelines. So, we parted ways. They kicked me off the group message thread. They haven’t spoken to me in months.
But I might have found a new mom friend. We agree politically. We both believe in science. She doesn’t care that I’m not religious. Nor is she into pop culture, and even though she’s a hippie, she vaccinates her kids. Since her family is also completely self-isolated, other than brief trips to the store, we’ll be able to have a meet-up soon (the bubble mentality: since both families are socially isolated from everyone else, no one needs to worry about COVID-19 exposure). We’ll still wear masks.
But I might have found a friend, and I am thrilled.
Maybe she can point me towards a new mom squad.
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