It Takes a Village: Gainesville Mom Squads

By Giggle Magazine

By April Tisher and Colleen McTiernan

They look different for every mom. They take on different roles, which change over time. They are your words of wisdom, your shoulders to learn on, your helping hands, the people you trust with the most precious ones in your life. You call them your team, your village or your mom squad. You love them, your children love them and you don’t know how you would do it without them!

Those friends who are by your side while raising children are priceless. They are with you through the feeding issues and diaper rashes. They sympathize with your sleepless nights and give you advice on teething. If they are also moms, their children often become your children’s best friends. It takes a lot of work to nurture friendships once you begin having children, but it is so worth the effort to maintain the relationships between you and your core group of friends and family.

Moms Village

Danyel Boudreau, Meghan Mary Boudreau, Emily Butler, Shea Carter, Fernanda Castro, Kristen Cooper, Ashley Frankel, Sadie Gee, Irene Gutierrez, Patricia Huddas-Enqvist, Heidi Kling, Megan Knittel, Caroline Maher, Summer Miller, Jamie Sabourin, Robyn Toigo, Sheila Traynor and their amazing children!

This group of 62 moms (17 pictured) started off as the local chapter of Moms Club International. But two years ago, they decided to break off and form their own group with no dues and less pressure to attend meetings, said Sheila Traynor, mom of two. Through their Facebook group, Moms Village, this squad organizes two to three play dates a week and a monthly moms night out. “Something that does not involve kids and usually involves some cocktails,” said Kristen Cooper (mom of one), laughing.

Aside from planned get-togethers, the moms offer each other support, from bringing each other meals after the birth of a new child to asking advice about schools and babysitters. “This is a group that everybody’s got different experiences, different ways of parenting their children and we all have such a great respect for each other,” said Kristen. “We’ve learned from each other quite a bit.”

Through the group, the moms involved have been able to develop close relationships with women that they never would have met otherwise. “If I was in a jam, I know I could probably call upon anyone in the group and say ‘look I need someone who can come over here for an hour to watch the kids’,” said Sheila. And that kind of inherent support is exactly what the Moms Village is all about.

It Takes Three

Elaine Almond, Jen Garret and April Tisher

April Tisher, mom of four, Elaine Almond, mom of three, and Jen Garret, mom of three, all met through the Junior League of Gainesville about 13 years ago. During this time they have offered each other support in their parenting journeys, from watching each others’ children to giving advice during those tough child raising moments.

“That whole middle school thing, they’ve got it all figured out so I don’t have to,” said Garret. “I can just say ‘Alright, what do we have to do to look at the middle school magnets?’ and they tell me.”

The biggest boon of their mom squad has been the babysitting co-op the three moms have developed. For instance, if Jen is running out for a doctor’s appointment or planning a night out with her husband, she can rely on either April or Elaine to watch her kiddos. The hours that they spend babysitting are accounted for, and then they can count of Jen to watch their children in return!

The trio also likes to plan family fieldtrips to the beach, the springs and the movies, and they have even vacationed together! Over the years spent together, their children have all become close friends as well.

“I love them and I love their children like they’re my own children,” said Tisher. “That’s not something that you just get. It takes time and relationship building.”