Mom, it probably wasn’t too long ago that you were driving down the road listening to Cyndi Lauper belt out the lyrics, “When the working day is done, oh, girls, they wanna have fu-un.” Time has, nonetheless, marched on since then. You’ve probably replaced your side ponytail with a classic bob, and those fingerless lace gloves went the way of a garage sale many moons ago.
But, some things don’t change. After a day of diapers, carpools and homework, an evening of fun is a welcome treat to many mothers. We may no longer be ‘girls’ by the true definition of the word, but the girl in each of us still enjoys a break and a night of fun with her chick friends.
Perhaps you’ve never made a moms’ night out a priority. Or maybe a trip through a clothing store without the kids is as exciting as it gets these days. A fun night out with the girls can be as simple as grabbing dinner and a movie together or as elaborate as a slumber party weekend. The cost can range from pennies to ‘the skies the limit.’ So, check out the ideas below for inspiration, gather a couple of girlfriends and enjoy some good times together.
Watch a chick flick - Enjoy a night free of both Barney and blood and guts. If there’s something ‘girlie’ playing at your local cinema, by all means, hit the theatre. Don’t forget to buy some Junior Mints and popcorn at the snack bar - and remember: tonight, you don’t have to share.
But, if nothing looks good on the silver screen, don’t hesitate to make it a movie night at home. Sequester your hubby and kids elsewhere, or better yet, head to an empty nest. One grandmother I know has hosted movie nights in her basement media room. Since she no longer has children living at home, it’s a perfect oasis for moms currently in the trenches, and she definitely remembers the days of a full house.
Whatever locale you choose, call up the girls, collect a stash of chocolate, bubbly drinks, and boxes of tissue, and cozy up on the couch for a tear-jerker. Obviously, Jane Austen films rank at the top of the list. But, will you choose the two-hour version of Pride and Prejudice or the marathon six-hour rendition with Colin Firth? Tough call. Other movies to consider include Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; A Letter to Three Wives; Steel Magnolias; The Women; or When Harry Met Sally.
Get crafty - A night of exercising your artistic talents can be a relaxing outlet and a great way to hang out with the girls. Ceramics studios are fun shops where you choose a pottery item to paint. There is usually a studio fee to pay as well as the price of the piece. When you are done painting, the staff will glaze and fire it for you, usually for a later pickup date. Many studios offer group rates and/or special features for ladies’ nights.
Or you might choose to get together for an evening of scrapbooks, snacks and socializing, like Michal McDowell and her friends have done. She prefers the party “where [no one] sells you anything but where you and your friends all get together and use the time to work on your scrapbooks.” While the at-home version of this is great, you might also want to visit your local scrapbook shop. Many stores boast a huge selection of supplies as well as a workroom to use. Call around to see what is available in your area.
Enjoy dinner in a real restaurant - Spend an evening at a nice ‘frou-frou’ restaurant with the girls. Be adventurous! Consider trying someplace your hubby or kids might be hesitant to visit. Briana Almengor, mom of three, celebrated her sister-in-law’s birthday by visiting a Tapas restaurant. “I had never done tapas, so this was really a treat,” tells Briana. “We went with all her girlfriends… all dressed up, ate a lot of good food… really good food that I had never tried before and probably never would have picked for myself.”
Mother of two, Jennifer Lopez, belongs to a birthday club with her mother, her mom’s friends and their grown-up daughters. As Jen explains, “We meet [about once a month] to celebrate whoever's birthday it is. We may even celebrate two birthdays in one month! The birthday girl gets a free dinner. Then, everyone pitches in $5, and the birthday girl gets a $50 gift card to the store of her choice. We talk, laugh and visit. If you are ever at a restaurant on a Monday night and hear a loud group of women, it is probably us.” What a clever idea, and a great excuse to get out on the town!
Get cookin’ - Another mom recollects that one of her funniest evenings away from home was helping a friend prepare for a wine party. She states, “I distinctly remember being able to chop vegetables and prepare platters without having to put my knife down, wash my hands 100 times in order to get something for a little one barking at my heels, or break up a fight. It was a peaceful prep rather than a frantic one as I am used to. This was enjoyable.” Spend an evening preparing good food with girlfriends. If not at someone’s home, try visiting one of the growing number of meal prep kitchens.
Have a slumber party - One of Sheila Howe’s best memories with the girls was an overnighter reunion. As this mom of four relates, “Three other girlfriends and myself have been friends for many years. When the oldest of us was about to turn 40, we planned a surprise birthday party for her. We met up at a hotel suite and stayed overnight, went out to eat, got our nails done and ate again. We had a great time of talking and laughing and enjoying one another.” Mother of four, Beth Lehner, makes this an annual tradition with some good childhood friends. They rotate locations and make a weekend trip to a hotel for two nights. The time includes dinners out, time at a day spa and lots of chick chat.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab the girls, choose a destination, secure the hubby for kid-duty and have a little slumber party. If hotels aren’t in the budget, arrange a time when the kids and your husband can go to Gramma’s or on a camping trip and plan a sleepover at home. Stay up all night, eat ‘chick food and have a blast.
Make it a priority - Getting out and about with the girls is such good fun for moms. It’s important to work that into your schedule. Mom of two, Amee Messer, sums it up well in saying, “I really think it helps to get out at least once a month, especially if you are a stay-at-home mom. I think the interaction between other adults with no interruption of the kids’ screaming is really good.” According to Beth Lehner, the best part of it all is “a chance to renew myself as the ‘person inside,’ not as a wife or mother. [It gives me] time to process things, slow down and just ‘be’.”
So check out your calendar, call a few friends and make moms’ night a definite ‘to do’ on your list.
Girls, go have fun!
Jessica is a wife, mother of six and freelance writer. She regularly writes about fun, frugality and the pursuit of a clean house at www.lifeasmom.com.
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