For Jenna Fischer, having good mom friends goes hand-in-hand with having good girlfriends. “Long-term friendships are so valuable and make life easier—the people who know your history and have been with you through your milestones and your pitfalls,” says the Splitting Up Together actress and mom to Weston Lee, 6, and Harper Marie, 3.
But she didn’t always see life through “mom eyes.” Fischer’s best friend and co-star on The Office, Angela Kinsey, had a child three years before Fischer gave birth to her first. “All I can say is thank god she stayed friends with me because I must have been so annoying to her!” says Fischer. “Until I had kids I just didn’t understand why she couldn’t go out to my birthday dinner at 9:30 at night. Then, of course, once I had kids I was like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I eat dinner at 5:30 now.’”
The same is true when it comes to her other best friend: her younger sister, Emily. “My sister is a teacher, so she’s the greatest person to call about developmental milestones and spit-balling solutions to different parenting issues.”
While Fischer and her group of mom friends love their titles as mothers, they realize it’s not the only thing that defines them. The squad is filled with activists and change-makers—one of her mom friends started an organization to resettle refugees in Los Angeles; another got a technology grant approved for her daughter’s school.
When they get together for what they call “mom dinners,” they have one rule: don’t talk about the kids. “It’s ladies’ night out!” explains Fischer. “We cover current events and suggest articles to read and solve the world’s problems. We try to empower one another as active people outside of our identities as mothers. It’s like, how are we women in this world and how are we expressing ourselves?”
Any other time, though, you might catch Fischer texting her mom friends about feeding schedules or how to put vegetables in pancakes or, yep, even poop. (Ah yes, we have all been there!) “I’ve definitely sent my mom friends pictures of my kids’ poop when they were babies,” laughs Fischer. “The biggest thing when you have a baby is, like, the color of their poop, the consistency of their poop, what does this poop mean—it turns out green poop isn’t necessarily bad!”
And while she relies on her mom friends for advice and tips, Fischer explains how offering help goes both ways. When her friend’s youngest son hurt his leg, she dropped her oldest off at Fischer’s house while they went to the hospital. “Having a community that has your back is so important,” she says.
That sense of community happened almost naturally when Fischer’s group of friends all started to have babies around the same time. But, she was the first of her friends to go for Baby #2. “It was kind of cool because I started off as the person asking all the questions and then I got to be the expert later on,” she says.
While Fischer loves her ladies’ nights, she totally gets the struggle of finding time for just the adults to get together. Who honestly has the time to search for a babysitter, teach the nightly routine, and then get out the door wearing a decent outfit (i.e. no food stains from the L.O.’s sticky fingers)? “We joke now that our way of socializing is through playdates—while the kids play, the adults hang out,” says Fischer. “That’s just so much of my social life now.” And here’s where all moms everywhere throw up the two-finger salute of solidarity.
Editor’s note: This interview with Jenna Fischer was conducted during Blue Bunny’s “Give In To The Bunny” event.