I didn’t realize that squad envy could be a thing until I watched Taylor Swift’s infamous “Bad Blood” music video.
(I know, what a profound statement for such a lovely Catholic blog.)
When the video first came out, I was sure my fascination with it was primarily rooted in its sensationalism. It was hyped for weeks. It had a model in *literally* every frame. It was glamorous. It was an anthem.
All fads pass.
But this feeling sat with me for awhile.
And I couldn’t figure out why.
This was secular media.
It was adolescent music that I occasionally (okay, all the time) turned up in the car as a guilty pleasure.
Why was it striking a chord?
My strange epiphany hit me like a tornado of preschool vomit.
As in, my preschooler vomited all over my clothes in a public restroom (in a hipster coffee shop) while my baby was screaming at the top of his lungs because they had one of those terrifying hand dryers called an “XLERATOR.”
As I carried my screaming children through the coffeeshop, I caught the eyes of two women in crisp clean clothes sitting over delicate lattes discussing projects and work events. In my mind the young couple nestled together in the back seat of the cafe was swearing to themselves that they would never have kids. A barista kindly opened the door for me but didn’t really look me in the eyes.
I felt like such a loser.
I felt very alone.
And then I realized- that dumb music video was bothering me for one very basic reason.
Everyone in that video looked like they belonged.
Sure, they belonged to a super secret spy society that was headed up by Cindy Crawford but even in real life- they mean something to people.
I was going to need to come to terms with the fact that in the secular world at large- the vomit covered, Catholic, homeschooling mother doesn’t always belong.
I don’t belong to a world that constantly pushes up against my fundamental beliefs.
I don’t always belong in the same circles I used to run in before I had kids or reverted back into the Catholic church.
Heck, I don’t even feel like I belong to my own body at times.
In that small moment, I discovered that my need for Catholic female support had grown from a small desire into a parched and hungry thirst.
I needed someone.
To cry with.
To laugh with.
To pray with.
To belong with.
And so I prayed.
And God answered.
God answered abundantly.
And now I am here because I want to encourage others to pray for the same thing.
Pray for a Catholic mom squad.
Pray for a friend.
And if you already have one- give an offering for thanksgiving.
Don’t believe me? From experience, here are a few reasons why I think Catholic mom friends will truly enrich your life.
I think the most obvious reason Catholic moms should find time to band together is for the very real need to lift one another up in prayer.
A candle lit on a family altar during a friend’s labor.
A novena said during a particularly trying time in your marriage.
A rosary said for the momentary alleviation of depression.
A communion dedicated to your particular struggles in motherhood.
Truly, what an honor it is to receive so many graces from women who can empathize with your vocational weariness. My friends who have stayed close to the sacraments are my friends who have helped me endure many of my own tribulations.
Having friends that are oriented towards the altar and rooted in prayer also means having friends that share in some of your foundational beliefs about the purpose and calling of motherhood and marriage.
To be fair, this doesn’t mean that you will be BFF’s with every woman you meet at church. We all have our particular interests and tastes. But it does mean that your Catholic squad should be filled with people who believe what the church teaches and want to raise their kids in the faith.
In my experience, as the world seems to fall apart before my very eyes, it is so important to have allies, sounding boards, and shoulders to cry on as I drag my kids to mass each week. If only to say to my children, “Look! How lucky you are to have friends that are learning about Jesus too!”
On a deeper level, Catholic mom friends will be able to help you shoulder burdens that others might just consider “trash.” For example, Catholic friends have a context and language for marital struggle. Instead of hearing, “Well, if it isn’t working, you should just divorce,” you can find a deep reservoir of experience, resources, and help.
We know that our suffering makes us holy.
Our Catholic friends can help us embrace the soul forming pain that walks hand in hand with our glimpses into true charity, joy, and love.
Simply put- Catholic mom squads will fall into a common culture.
I know, “diversity” is the buzzword of the year.
(Possibly the decade and millennium as well)
And I don’t think Catholics are promoting a world without differences.
We are an international, global entity.
Diversity is inevitable.
But how can my family add to global diversity if we are not grounded in our own Catholic identity? How can we be a light and salt in the world if we are not properly celebrating who we are?
For argument’s sake, isn’t culture a shared experience?
There are parts of being Catholic that bind us to one another-
A liturgical year that covers the entirety of salvation history over and over again.
We are the church militant and together we stand!
Down on the ground, I am so thankful for the mothers in my life who don’t just tolerate my son having to praying before meals but encourage it. They teach it. They say, “We are going to pray the rosary before dinner, please sit down and join us.”
Surrounding my family with other families who embrace our common culture has solidified our identity. It has made me more confident in my parenting. It has helped me shoulder the burden of catechism, daily devotions, and celebrations.
It has brought into our home an unspeakable joy.
A breaking of bread.
And a hope that we are bound to one another in experience and love.
Pray, my sweet sisters, for friends and for your friends.
I do not have a direct line to Our Lord and Savior and I know that God answers prayers in ways that help shape us into saints on the ever narrow path towards heaven.
Humbly, I must admit that loneliness can certainly have a role in God’s plan for your life.
But from experience, praying for cohearts has pushed me to embrace my Catholicity, ask other mothers to join me in liturgical celebrations, and to honestly pray for others.
Magically (or maybe not so magically) it has attracted like minded women into my life.
The friendships have made me a better Catholic.
The prayers have made me a better person.
And truly, what a beautiful thing.