I thought having a squad was important when I was young, single, and living my free-spirited life, but that’s just because I lacked a little thing called perspective.
Once you enter motherhood, the attachment to your Mom Squad puts Taylor Swift to shame. Although your #SquadLove probably contains far fewer high-fashion, duck face selfies—unless you’re way cooler than me, in which case: I want some tips, but also your apparently limitless childcare and budget.
Once you spawn, being down with other moms isn’t a matter of coolness, it’s a matter of necessity. It’s the difference between wanting to kill yourself with a hand mixer at 2 a.m. while baking four dozen cupcakes for a school holiday party, and knowing you can text your bestie a photo holding said hand mixer pointed at your temple, finger-gun-style. And, she will get it. Not only that, she will text you back with a photo of her stabbing herself in the eye with a celery stick because she is, at that very same moment, constructing 250 Ants on a Log.
Mom Squads innately and effortlessly get it. Your own mother, while wonderful at lavishing gifts on your children and lavishing you with helpful suggestions, just doesn’t get motherhood in the modern age. The internet age of well-educated super-mommies with competitive Pinteresting, perfectly Instagrammed backyard gardens dotted with helpful children picking apples, and blogs that preach creating a capsule wardrobe of stylish, yet functional high-low basics from Target and Barneys. Honestly, the only Barney I’m associating with at this point is on a DVD that’s overdue from the library and features a creepy purple blob calling itself a dinosaur.
Husbands or partners don’t get it either. Are they trying to poop while people bang on the door or, worse, are eerily silent? Are they trying to juggle 6 million appointments and a job, while keeping up with their eyebrow waxing, Kardashian-watching, and how to pretend like you feed your kids healthy snacks at play groups? Nope. Nor do husbands and partners understand the woes of postpartum periods, how to talk you down from the edge of putting on a tankini, how much wine it’s acceptable to drink while nursing, and why you’d rather watch Gilmore Girls than have sex.
Husbands and partners don’t want to hear endless discussions dissecting how to put the bitchy perfect mom in her place with a poignant backhanded compliment. They can’t relate to disguising coffee stains on your last acceptable pair of jeans because, OMG, doing laundry hurts, or worse—so much worse—shopping when you feel out of style, frumpy, and mom-ish because the last time you went to Madewell you ripped a romper and a pair of jeans trying them on. Naturally you couldn’t wait to tell your Mom Squad the story and laugh hysterically.
Mom Squads do more than give you someone to hang out with as you ignore your kids murdering each other over Legos. Mom Squads are more than a venting ground or a way to avoid staring at the microwave clock willing it to change from 3 p.m. into 9 p.m. Mom Squads are your nonjudgmental sanity, solace, and the reassuring voice calling the pile of laundry on your coffee table “decorative art” (because hello, they have one too!).
Mom Squads are antidepressants in person form. They’re free, they’re reliable, and they make everything a lot more fun—even potty training.
Mom Squads don’t expect perfection or the appearance of trying to be perfect. If you don’t have snacks for play groups, they’ll bring some, and if your house looks like the aftermath of a Jurassic Park invasion, they’ll help you clean, and vice versa. When it’s New Year’s Eve, they’ll bring the whole family (plus booze) over at 7 p.m. for a halfway-to-Ball Drop pizza party ending in synchronized tantrums at 10 p.m.
Mom Squads give you the freedom to complain about feeling like a loser as your childless friends post Facebook photos of their fabulous Japanese vacation. Meanwhile, you took an unfabulously atrocious trip to Disney on Ice (which was an adult-beverage-free zone, and they were checking purses!). Hell, next time your Mom Squad will go too, because no one should suffer alone.
Mom Squads remind you that you’re still your own person, despite the fact that part of your DNA is currently spitting chunks of Play-Doh out of their mouth, screaming, “I’m vomiting boogers!” Mom Squads understand that sometimes you just need leggings to be considered pants, or boxed mac and cheese to be considered a healthy dinner, and because your husband is able to poop in peace, you sometimes don’t love him.
Best of all, while your childless friends are just eating dinner at 8 p.m., Mom Squads are ready to go out for a drink or, better yet, come over in their pj’s to relish being able to guzzle cheap wine, chat, and stuff your faces without being interrupted to break up fights, change a diaper, peel someone’s banana, or counsel them through the rage of being unable to cram a life-sized plush Elmo into a Little People airplane.