Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit busy and overwhelmed as a working mom and I feel like I never have the time to see my friends. Weeknights, I just want to play with my kids, put on some comfy clothes and sit on my couch after a long day. Weekends seem to be filled with endless errands, birthday parties and family gatherings. Which leaves very little time to cultivate and generate friendships.
So I’ve made up my mind to schedule Mom’s Nights Out with various groups. To me, a MNO is simply a cute name for friends getting together, whether over dinner, drinks, coffee or even a card game. As a recent MNO with some of my daughter’s classmates moms (and my friends) proved, it’s a great way to reconnect with people who you might not see or have the time to chat with on a regular basis. My recent MNO group pushed me to schedule a tour of our local kindergarten, in which my daughter will likely be enrolled in this fall. It also gave me insight into her current school and things going on there that I wasn’t aware of because I’m not there every day. While our little group is made up of the school moms who talk about school, we also found time to talk about plans for New Years Eve, our husbands and great restaurants in the area. 3 hours later, I felt refreshed, more knowledgeable and happy to have done something different with my night.
A MNO doesn’t even have to be a large group – it could be as simple as visiting a girlfriend who just had a baby and helping her out one night. Or catching the latest chick flick that your spouse has no interest in seeing. Stay at home moms also benefit from more adult interaction than they might normally get on a given day.
Here are my favorite tips for having a great MNO:
1. Plan it well in advance, as schedules constantly change
2. Create a recurring date (i.e. first Monday of the month or every other Wednesday) so it’s always on your schedule and you can be sure you have coverage at home
3. Put it on your spouse’s/babysitter’s calendar well in advance – no excuses for cancellations with ample notice!
4. Pick a location that doesn’t mind if you stay and chat for a while…Half Moon was great for our recent MNO but it was "lights out" at 10:45 pm
5. If dinner out is too expensive or time-consuming, plan a night “in” at someone’s house, over cocktails, a card game or movie night
6. Change it up – invite new acquaintances who the others may not know as well
7. If you are feeling really bold, plan a mom’s weekend getaway – the one I did over the summer with college girlfriends was a highlight of my summer
8. Be sure to encourage your spouse to get together with his guy friends – this way, he won’t resent when you go out with the girls
9. Have “family-style” theme nights – Mexican, Italian, fondue, sushi, hibachi, pizza – all are great for sharing dishes to keep costs down
10. If you are feeling really bold, schedule a couples night out so spouses can meet and chat
So, what are you waiting for? Call/email/text/tweet your mommy friends now and set up your next MNO!