Sometimes the going gets tough. Sometimes the going gets sticky. And sometimes your in-laws give you only four hours’ notice of a surprise visit. That’s when your Mom Bff (Mom Best Friend Forever) comes in. She’s ready: with a hand to help, a shoulder to cry on, and a Swiffer to clean with. But your Mom Bff needs to be special. She needs to be prepared for anything. And she needs to be the kind of person who can see your dirty bathroom. Here are nine signs you’ve found your MBFF.

Mom Bff

1. You have no shame with her.

Your Mom Bff will see you at your worst — that’s the whole point of a Mom Bff. You can’t be ugly crying to her and still wondering about your mascara. She’ll see you yell at your kids. She’ll see you hit the mailbox with your minivan. She’ll use your filthy bathroom and find a fork in your dirty kitchen. You don’t have a fleeting need to vacuum when she comes over. This is the guest who is no guest. Her kids might tell you your garage is messy, and you have no problem telling them you’ve seen their rooms …

2. She’s always ready with a wipe.

Long after the baby stage, your Mom Bff has baby wipes in that mom-sized purse of hers, and she’s ready to stop all manner of germs, stickiness, and poop. Need to wipe off the restroom door handle? She’s got you covered. Need to get the peanut butter and jelly off your kid’s face? She’s there. Have an actual baby who needs an actual diaper change, and suddenly realize you forgot to refill your wipes? Your MBFF calmly hands over her pack. She’s got you.

3. She keeps your secrets.

When people ask questions about who smashed that mailbox, she isn’t going to rat you out. If people nose into your private business, she’ll claim she knows nothing. Other than husband privilege, she won’t tell anyone about your marital woes, your kids’ ADHD testing, or your parents’ impending divorce. Your MBFF keeps her mouth shut.

4. She doesn’t kill your kids when they’re horrible.

When your kids come over for a playdate, and they happen to climb up on the top bunk (even though she hid the ladder), and they happen to swing from the ceiling fan (even though it shouldn’t support their weight), and it happens to have every blade broken and gone a-kilter, she doesn’t murder your children. She shrugs off your attempts to pay for it. This superhero just says she’ll have her husband go to Lowe’s when he comes home from work. She leaves you to murder your children on the car ride home.

5. She’ll cook you dinner.

When you’re lamenting that you didn’t put anything in the crockpot this morning, she doesn’t just nod her head and commiserate. Your Mom Bff invites you (plus your husband, your kids, and the family dog) over for the lentil soup she’s brewing in her kitchen right freaking now. And if you don’t want to eat at her place, she’ll send it home with you. That’s true love.

6. She knows what you think.

Your Mom Bff knows your religion or lack thereof. She knows your political leanings, or apathy around it. She knows your favorite band, your kids’ favorite bands, and the band you hate the most on the face of the Earth. She also knows your favorite movie. And if she disagrees with any of the above, she either gently pokes fun at you or says nothing at all.

7. She knows your history.

She knows your mom’s name. She knows your dad’s name. She knows your sister’s kids’ names, and the name of the last county jail your brother found himself in. Your MBFF doesn’t have to think about where you lost your virginity or your high school nickname. It’s on the tip of her tongue. You’ve never had a friend who knew you so well.

8. You have a favorite park.

It’s the place you call “the park,” and it’s the one you assume you’ll meet at. You also have a favorite fast-food joint, which has a play-place, for when you don’t feel like making lunch. You probably have a favorite auxiliary park, for when you get sick of the regular park, and a sit-down restaurant, for when you’re feeling adventurous, or sans kids. You also probably have a favorite bar/nightspot for those girls nights out.

9. You both know the rules without asking.

You know what each others’ kids are permitted to watch. You both know if you’re okay with the kids playing in the backyard alone. You know if they’re allowed to go around to the front yard, and if bikes are okay sans helmets, as long as they stay in the driveway. You don’t have to ask about this stuff anymore.

… and you reciprocate all of this.

You’ve always got a wipe for her. You know where she lost her virginity, her mom’s name, and how many kids her brother has. You’ll cook her dinner, and you don’t kill her kids when they Sharpie all over your walls. You’ve got her back, and she’s got yours. You’re Mom BFFs. And that goes beyond husbands, kids, and dogs into a deep and true friendship, with kids and beyond.

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