My girlfriends, Mom friends, BFFs (whatever you want to call them), save my life on a regular basis.

This photo, at right, is from a recent birthday party for my friend Julie, the woman in the tiara (I’m sitting next to the birthday girl). We all had party assignments, and since she’s a total candy-head, everyone brought a different bag of her favorite sugar-high treat. There are always a lot of kids around when the moms get together, so for this occasion we opted to have a lunch at my house. We each purchased several of the birthday girl’s favorite food items from restaurants around town: a sandwich, an appetizer, or a random smoothie. Then we all shared the food finds for our lunch. We called it the “Julie-Smorgasbord!”

How exactly does a birthday party celebrating the guest of honor’s favorite foods save my life? It doesn't. But getting together often does! Pretty much any excuse will do for an impromptu gathering. Does anyone need a late night run to Walmart? Count me in!

We meet every Tuesday night for “Old Lady Basketball,” where we laugh (and run) for an hour. Afterwards, we sometimes head to one of our houses or maybe hit Denny’s—we figure we deserve to eat the calories that we just worked off! 

About once a month we hold “Book Club.” I say that with a grin because recently, when we realized no one was reading the books, we changed the name to just “Club.” Some suggested having a “magazine” reading club but the purists in the group (me) said NO WAY. (A parent-child book club is also a great idea.)

We create capers as often as we can invent them. About a year ago one mom was having her fourth baby. A “shower” didn’t quite fit, so we donned black clothing, fake moustaches, and stretched black panty hose over our heads, and “abducted” her away to a “Mom Party.”

And last summer we found out there is such a thing as “National Toilet Paper Day.” Who knew? Well we knew we couldn’t let that go by unheralded. We snuck out late and toilet-papered the house of one of our favorite grandmas in town! (Her husband was in on it and we cleaned the whole thing up the next day. We are Moms, after all!)

My husband has been traveling more in the past few months than he ever has in our nearly 20 years of marriage, and people often ask me how I do it. I simply say: I don’t do it alone! My mom-friends help me. (And it also helps that my kids are older now.) I also have to give a plug for my 14-year-old daughter who helps a ton (when she’s not going to play practice, that is).

But back to the girlfriends…we lovingly refer to ourselves as sister wives (don’t tell our husbands), but it’s true. If I need help with my younger kids so that I can attend an older child’s awards banquet, I have no less than 5 friends I can ask to watch them. And if I need adult conversation after a week of doing the single mom thing, I simply send out an email smoke signal (and a request for hot wings), and 8 women show up after my bedtime routine with the kids.

These late night chats, post basketball outings, and “Club" meetingts—or get-togethers for no reason at all, are literal life savers and I don’t regret a single bleary-eyed morning after!

BTW, guess what we have planned next? We’re excited because one of our gal-pals is engaged!!! Traditional wedding shower? Heck, no. We’re gonna throw the best little bachelorette party this town has ever seen! Shhh don’t tell her; it’s a HUGE surprise!