By Betsy Voreacos
Are you struggling to find ways to stay connected with your own friends while juggling a schedule packed with work and family obligations? The trick is to get creative with how you’re spending your time.
Friends who play together, stay together!
Moms need each other, and it’s no secret that there’s strength in numbers. Participating in a mommy-and-me play group gives you a social outlet that benefits both you and your kids. While you share coffee and concerns, the kids learn to share their toys and their homes. Getting together on a weekly basis establishes a routine, one that you all will look forward to. Check your local library or rec center for active play groups, or start your own!
Friday Fun Night
With the whole weekend looming ahead, Friday is the perfect night for fun. Commit to a couple of Fridays a month for watching movies with a group of friends. While the kids unwind in front of the TV, the grown-ups can chat away in the kitchen. You’re sure to get in a good 90 minutes of adult talk time! Keep it simple with light snacks so no one feels overwhelmed when it’s their turn to host.
Organize a “Progressive” Dinner
This is a really fun way to share a meal with friends. All you need are three families who live in relatively close proximity to one another who are willing to open their homes and their kitchens. Start at one house for appetizers, then travel to the second home for the main dinner. End up at the third house for dessert. Think about having everyone chip in either with dishes or dollars to keep the costs down for the hosts.
Host a “Mocktail” Party
Host a late-afternoon party and tell your guests to bring the kids! Serve a variety of finger foods both kids and adults will love (from pigs in blankets to bacon-wrapped dates), and set out a variety of soft drink options and mixers for guests to customize their own flavorful, refreshing drinks: lemonade, seltzer, Italian sodas, iced tea, flavored syrups, and plenty of fruit for garnish. To offer the adults a break, splurge for a sitter who can help wrangle and amuse the kids while the grown-ups enjoy conversation.
Prep for Parties With Bounty
At parties, keep a roll of Bounty paper towels near the drink station to help quickly clean up drips and spills!
There’s no better group game than charades. Everyone can play, and you can bend the rules to make them extra kid-friendly! It’s old-fashioned fun that the whole family can enjoy – and so much fun to share with other families.
Organize a Saturday afternoon kickball or soccer game at the local park. Better yet, if you have a big yard, bring everyone over to your house. Not only will you get everyone moving, you’ll have a whole lot of fun doing it. So much fun that you might find yourself forming your own mini-league! Follow up the game with potluck snacks and drinks.
Hold an Annual Block Party
Talk to neighbors about throwing an annual block party. It helps build friendships and instills a sense of security, too. Ask your town if you can have your street blocked for a couple of hours, rent some tables and chairs, and coordinate with the neighbors so everyone pitches in food or an activity of some kind (sidewalk chalk, face painting, etc).
What do you do to keep your social life alive?
Betsy Voreacos lives with her family a stone’s throw from New York City. An overly involved mother of three, Betsy has always been acutely aware of her shortcomings as a parent, not to mention those of her children. She documents her life in the brutally honest Old Minivans Die Hard.