Ok Mamas, we all know how much life changes when we have kids, but I had no idea that it would mean going weeks, sometimes even months, and occasionally years (hangs head in shame) without seeing some of my dearest girlfriends! Our non-parent girlfriends become the first ones to fall into seemingly dark void of friend neglect, followed by, just about everyone else! Now that my previously non-parent friends are becoming parents, they are starting to realize that my disappearance wasn’t about my lack of love for them, it was about time, planning, and utter exhaustion!
As moms, unless you have kids that are “I can take care of myself for a few hours in the morning and fix myself breakfast” years-old, the thought of staying out late doesn’t have quite the appeal that it once did…or it is, at least, not realistic if you want/need to be functional and pleasant to those around you the following day. I fall into this category of my child not being in the above mentioned age group, plus I LOVE my sleep! Since my son was born, nearly 6 years ago, I have been in a constant state of “I need more rest”, “Whoa, you want to stay out until 10! That’s waayyyyyyyyyyy past my bedtime” and “Why can I no longer sleep past 6:30 a.m. anymore?”, but I miss spending time with my lady friends (moms and non-moms alike). I miss talking about things that don’t revolve around my son. I love living vicariously through my non-parent friends’ lives. I enjoy having uninterrupted, intelligent conversations with other adults. And, I absolutely love spending time with my girlfriends!
Trying to catch up with these amazing ladies is difficult, and most of us just don’t have the time to catch up with each other on a one-on-one basis very often. The solution? Happy Hour! I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “What’s so inspirational about Happy Hour? Been there, done that!” Have some faith! Check out the “recipe” below and it just may help freshen up your take on Happy Hour with the Girls.
- You and some of your girlfriends (moms and non-moms alike)
- Date and Time
- A Reservation
- A Change of Clothes
- Select the date: One of the great things about Happy Hours is that they end at a reasonable time. And, if you select a date that lands on a Monday thru Thursday, even your non-mom friends are much less likely to want to “make a night of it” (no staying out to the wee hours of the morning- doing whatever it is you and your girls use to do before you had kids). Now, you may be thinking, “Shouldn’t I talk to the Girls first, and try to coordinate with them?” The short answer is no. Be the initiator, the planner, don’t be afraid to take control of the situation! Many times I have experienced the chaos that comes with trying to coordinate schedules (as I am sure you have too), so that everyone can make it. I’ve learned a couple of things from this:
- If you try to make it a date/time/location that works for everyone- It’s never going to happen.
- It’s overly confusing and takes too much time and energy.
- Life happens- kids get sick, we get sick, last minute work projects pop up, etc.,- so it’s likely that even if they RSVP’d, there will be someone at the last minute who can’t make it (and it’s ok- don’t get your panties in a twist; be understanding, for one day it may be you who has to cancel).
- See Invite Your Girls section below for more information
- Select the Location: When it comes to the location, this may require a tiny bit of research and it is your chance to make Happy Hour a little classier. Select a place that is a bit more upscale then your standard Happy Hour meet-up spot. Choose somewhere that usually requires you to show up in something other than jeans/shorts, a t-shirt, and your most worn out pair of Tevas/Chacos/Birkenstocks/flip-flops. As you know, Happy Hours tend to start early in the afternoon and end earlier in the evening (most are done by 6/6:30 p.m.), but that doesn’t mean that you and your girls can’t get dressed up for the occasion!
- Select the Time: When it comes to Happy Hour- the earlier the better! Most Happy Hours don’t start until at least 3:00 p.m. Which is great because most people are still at work at that time. If you do have a “9-5” kind of job, see if you can work something out with your boss so that you can leave a little early that day (and have your friends do the same!) Work an extra couple of hours the other days of the week to make up the time. If your boss won’t budge on this, or if it’s just not possible for you and your girls to get away from work (or kids) for an earlier Happy Hour- no sweat, just try to find a place that has a later Happy Hour schedule.
- Invite Your Girls: Once you have selected the date, time, and location, send out a notice to as many of your girlfriends as possible (email, group chat/text, evite, Facebook Messenger- whatever is easiest for you), with the details. Those who can make it, will. Those who can’t- well, that’s just a great excuse for another Happy Hour!
- Make a Reservation: I don’t know many restaurants that don’t take reservations, and if you can get one for Happy Hour it does a couple of things:
- a) you don’t have to worry about not having a table once you arrive,
- b) it saves valuable time if you and your friends can sit right down and jump into chatting, eating and enjoying a drink or two, and
- c) doesn’t it just make you feel important when you don’t have to wait around for a table like everyone else?
- A Change of Clothes: This goes back to the selection of a more upscale location (see above). If you work outside of the home, throw something nice to wear, along with a small make-up bag, into a shoulder bag to take to work with you. Before leaving for your Happy Hour, pop into the restroom to change your clothes, and touch up your make-up (if necessary). After a long day, even a change of clothes can leave you feeling a bit refreshed!
- Childcare: As if I have to tell you this but get a babysitter! I’m sure your friends LOVE your kids as much as you do but leave them at home in capable hands. Make sure they know where/when to pick kid(s) up- camp, daycare, pre-school, etc. And also make sure that these “hands” know that you will not be providing/planning/picking-up/ordering-out the meal (if that responsibility typically falls to you) for that evening.
Oh and one more…
- Rule #1 for Girls Night Out- Happy Hour– Don’t talk about your kid(s)! Yes, being a mom is a HUGE part of who you are now, but it’s not all you are. Talk about your dream vacation that you are planning (without the kids), talk about what hobbies/goals/activities that you have been pursuing (without the kids), talk about that “new” show you have found and have started to binge watch (without the kids)…are you noticing a pattern here? Ok, I’m a bit of a realist, so I know that many of you will not abide by Rule #1, so, each of you ladies that make it to happy hour and have kids, you each have 1-minute at the very beginning of Happy Hour to get the child-chat outta the way! That’s it, 1-minute. Let someone use their Smartphone to time each of you and cut you off at the 60-second mark. Done! Want to make cutting someone off from bringing up their kid(s) for the remainder of your Happy Hour, without having to worry about hurt feelings? Come up with a “safe word” at the start of Happy Hour. (I like to use “tomato”.) If a Mama accidentally slips and starts talking about her kiddo(s) during the remainder of your night out, yell, “Tomato!” It will cease all child-centric speak. Plus, it’s kind of fun too!
Give this “recipe” a try. Plan your next Girls Night Out- Happy Hour. Reconnect with your friends. Get dressed up. Get out more. And, most importantly- HAVE FUN!