As with most first-time parents, my social life took an abrupt nose-dive when my first child was born 3 years ago.
I didn’t mind. I was completely enamored with my sweet baby girl and had my hands full navigating the tricky juggle of parenting, working from home and trying to figure out when to blow dry my hair and/or cook dinner.
I bopped along, happy as a clam with my little nugget for a good long while. Date nights were few and far between…visits with my girlfriends were even less frequent. When I did make it out, I realized how rejuvenating it was to have a break.
In January 2010 someone had the genius idea to form a monthly dinner group. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is one of the most important parts of the month for me.
I look forward to seeing these four women each month. We laugh, we ask for advice, we tell stories, we dodge a shot of root beer flavored vodka because dinner includes a pregnancy announcement, we scratch our heads as we make sense of exes, bosses and babies.
Five of us gather each month enjoy a leisurely dinner. We go to great lengths to schedule it on a night that everyone can attend and while we have the occasional missing member, we manage to get together every month. Here is our system:
Rotating Location: Each month a different member of the group hosts dinner at their home. Everyone gets their fair share of driving, pre/post event cleaning, and husband/boyfriend hiding. (Okay, we don’t actually require or significant others to hide…they just do.)
Share the Cooking: The location host takes care of the main course/entree and then assigns additional items such as appetizers, wine, salad, and dessert.
Share the Cleaning: Duh. Friends don’t leave friends with a messy kitchen.
Schedule While Together: We try to grab our phones and pick the next night while we are all together, this is MUCH easier than trading a dozen emails over the course of a week to pick a date.
Schedule Busy Months Early: I hosted dinner in December. We nailed down the date in October…good thing, because the holidays are NUTS.
Share Your Favorites: I have had the opportunity to enjoy and discover a bunch of great dishes. Make the goal to share delicious food, not to try to anticipate what everyone will want.
Go Out Occasionally: Dining at home certainly has it’s perks. No hovering servers. No holds barred conversation. Comfortable surroundings. But sometimes it’s nice to head out and let someone else do the cooking.
When I became a mother I felt like I became a whole person. Spending time with these women helps nurture the part of myself that existed pre-baby, a part of me that, when given the chance to recharge and reconnect makes parenting all that much sweeter.
Gather your girls and start your own group. You’ll thank me.