Why You Should Join the Mom Mafia

susanmerillpicToday’s guest post is from Susan Merrill, a mom of five who serves as the Director of iMom. Susan is a speaker at our 2013 Hearts at Home conferences. Her new book The Passionate Mom is a refreshing word of encouragement for moms!


Do you ever feel as if parenting your children requires a strategic plan equivalent to the CIA’s? In any given moment, I would need all my wits about me to tell you the exact who, what, where, and when of each of my five kids’ activities.  Pulling off a complex operation like parenting requires the help of informants.  As a mom, you can’t be everywhere all the time so you need some extra eyes and ears. And the best eyes and ears out there are other moms! Having an “understanding” with other moms who come into contact with your kids can yield valuable information you need to parent well and protect your children.

That’s why it’s important to develop a mom network or, as we’ve humorously dubbed our group of friends, a Mom Mafia. These are the moms of your kids’ friends who will be around your children and their gang of buddies when you might not be. They’ll hear things you won’t and will pick up information from their own child about yours. They can be an important ally in the fight to keep your kids safe, healthy, and on the right track.  Every mom needs friends, so make your own version of the Mom Mafia by doing the following:

Build Relationships with Key Informants.

If you don’t have a friendship with any of the parents of your kids’ friends, get busy. It’s important to know these moms well if your child is going to be hanging out in their home and spending lots of time with their child.

Get Over the Guilt.

Some moms have been tricked into feeling guilty about checking up on their kids or asking them questions. Don’t feel guilty! It’s your job to train your child and how can you train if you are not collecting data? Besides, the child who fusses about an “invasion of privacy” might be a child who has something to hide.

Protect Your Sources.

This is straight from Intelligence Gathering 101. If another member of the Mom Mafia tells you that your 7th grader was sitting with a boy at the movies when you thought you were dropping her off to see the show with her girlfriends, do not say, “Mrs. Williams saw you and called me.” You might get your informant in trouble. Just let your child wonder how you know—it will make her think you have mysterious powers.  So fun!

Share and Share Alike.

TPM book cover susanmerillIf you want other moms to go out on a limb for you, you need to be willing to do the same for them. Take the time to listen out when the gang is at your house for things that you know would be concerning to other moms, and use wisdom about when to “file a report.”

Don’t be Sensitive.

This is a toughie. Having another mom come to you and tell you that your child was seen drinking, cheating on a test, or had some other breakdown in character can be hard to hear. Don’t shoot the messenger.  If you think the other mom may have her information wrong in some way, thank her for caring about your child and being willing to intervene. If you make her feel like the villain, she’ll never share again.

What about you?  Do you have a Mom Mafia?  Can you share any additional strategies you’ve found to be helpful in building your “team?”


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13 thoughts on “Why You Should Join the Mom Mafia

  1. Thank you Susan ! This has been an eye opener to me. I do have friends in my kids school. But I have never asked them to share with me if they know anything about my kids. I usually find out straight from my children or a teacher. I do have one friend, her son was in the same classroom as my daughter. I often heard what other kids did in the classroom or something regarding a teacher. I did made the mistake to tell my daughter who gave me the information. She would had guessed anyways because the lady is one of my closer friends. My daughter is moving on to high school, new school, new friends and new parents to meet. This year, I would make sure to get contact information for my son’s bffs parents.

  2. I have a small group of moms that I feel like I lead as far as the Mafia goes! LOL!! I DO want to know what my girls are into and who they are with and what they do. I don’t think we can be too careful in today’s society of grab and go kids! Too many children disappear and that is my main motivation behind me being so mafia-like! As a high-profile business owner in our community, we can’t be too careful! Go mafia moms!! Looking out for each other is key to any kind of good relationship, anyway!! And also, know their friends on FB, IG, Snapchat, etc! If you don’t know it, get to know it… ASAP!!! Thanks Susan for the encouragement!!!

  3. Thank you for sharing Susan! I am blessed to be a part of a wonderful mom network and am grateful to you for sharing your advise. I am always eager to hear insight on how to be a better mom. Keep up the great work.

  4. I love this perspective Susan. Honestly, we are intentional about so many things, why would we ever let parenting be left for chance. The idea and the SAFETY of a Mom Network is one of high intelligence indeed. Since Moms can’t be “Omnipresent” God created lots of us to help each other!!
    Good stuff!

  5. I’m still building my “mafia”! 🙂 My kidsare 2 & 4; and I have inherited children 12 & 14. Building the team for my little ones has been pretty easy so far. Most of their close friends are children of my close friends. I hope and pray that ten years from now I have a “mafia” similar to Susan’s beach haven group (read The Passionate Mom). My inherited children are a completely different story. I have to be very strategic in getting information from them directly and through limited mutual contacts. I love Susan’s methods and luckily I have a great group of Passionate Mom friends!

  6. This is great. I loved the part about getting over the guilt. You can’t effectively parent if you don’t have the right information. Trust is earned, and the child who honors your rules and operates with good character when outside of your sight will be rewarded over time with greater freedom, and one day with privacy. (And my parents were pretty clear that I could enjoy total privacy when I paid for it by financing my own life…) Finding out what you need to know is an act of love–not an invasion of privacy.

  7. We all can’t have all the answers, so I am thankful that women are relational. I could have used your wisdom Susan, back when I was raising my kids. I am currently reading The Passionate Mom, and it just makes so much sense! In hindsight, I can see how I just hoped for the best on many fronts. Pat, you are so right; why would we ever let parenting be left for chance?

    • You can be a great encourager to other moms! Hindsight is always so much more clear. I was deeply convicted about that when writing The Passionate Mom that is why there are so many confessions in it!

  8. I loves this! As a new mom, I can appreciate this advise because I am a sponge right now. Thanks so much for sharing!