Since the beginning of time, women have had diversions: bridge club, garden club, Bunko, book club, and the myriad of at-home parties - Stella and Dot, Pampered Chef, Cookie Lee, Southern Living – you get the idea. Let’s be honest: these are all excuses to get a few hours away from the kids, husbands, boyfriends, pets, whatever and enjoy some time with the girls.
These events are a time to catch up on each others’ lives, share parenting horror stories and exchange beauty tips, recipes and laughs. The theme, activity or reason for gathering is arbitrary, as long as we come together as women to blow off steam. I remember my shock the first time I attended book club, with my book in hand, to find that half of the women don’t read the book and we rarely discuss it. (I, being an avid reader, was slightly disappointed, but the second cocktail made me feel better.) In summary, our gatherings are the male equivalent of grabbing a beer after work (or so I suspect).
To my knowledge, all of these female gatherings include wine, cocktails or other appropriate alcohol (I’d go to Spanish Club if they served Sangria). Maybe that’s just my group of friends, but I remember my grandmother pulling out the terrifying jug of Chablis (that poured like maple syrup…) to offer with the iced tea for her bridge club. (Emily Post had nothing on those women who were steadfast enough to drink that with a polite smile). Depending on if the gathering is day or evening dictates how much consumption is socially acceptable. Occasionally, there is the added thrill of a gutsy gal exceeding the quota and being the entertainment for the evening.
This last Saturday night I attended a Passion Party. This is the pinnacle of the secret female gatherings. A consultant comes in to provide ideas and products to make life more interesting in the bedroom. *If you are conservative, stop reading, but may I remind you that if you’re a mom, you likely had sex to have a baby and if you’re not a mom, your parents likely had sex to have you – get over it!
Glad you’re still with me. But, lucky for you, the Grapefruit martinis make the evening just fuzzy enough not to articulate. (But I do believe we made the party consultant blush with our comments!) Therefore, if I am not going to provide details of the evening, why do I bring it up? Because it highlights all that is perfect about girls evenings. They are uninhibited, real and can bond perfect strangers. (I can now tell you – but I won’t - who has handcuffs in their homes and who is the most knowledgable about toys). As women, we openly discuss menstruation, children’s’ poop and weight; how is sex any more taboo? We are empowered to speak the alcohol induced truth and share our “wisdom”, humor and most embarrassing stories. We laugh so hard we understand the importance of Kegel’s.
After such an evening, we are rejuvenated - we have the smug smile of somebody holding a juicy secret and some of us anticipate the arrival of unmarked package, while dreading the visa bill. For me, I felt more romantical (it’s my favorite made up word) towards my husband and was more patient with my children. I feel closer to my girlfriends and somehow feel like a stronger woman in general.
So I am huge supporter of female gatherings and all the “secrets” shared there. I also like pages 6-9 of the summer catalog, but that’s another story…
I am home from New York. I spent four days with my husband, WITHOUT MY KIDS, in a town of incredible sights, history, food and culture to celebrate the wedding of a friend. It was my first trip to the Big Apple and I was delighted, overwhelmed and more than a little off-balance. Here are my lessons learned…
Flights Are Fabulous: Normally, when my husband and I fly together, we have the kids with us, which means I come off the plane sweaty, exhausted, cranky, stained and ready for a parachute. On these two glorious flights I read books, drank wine (yeah, the break-up might be over), watched movies and RELAXED. I didn’t actually care where the flight landed since the experience itself was so therapeutic.
Size Does Not Matter, It’s All About the View: My 2,800 square foot house can seem too small with the kids and all their toys, but a 1,000 square foot corner suite hotel room (thank you hotel points) over-looking the harbor is a little piece of Heaven.
I Hate Crowds: I am a people person but I DO NOT love swarming crowds of tourists. Yes, I get that I was one of those tourists, but I think the problem was that I would like to sight-see like a celebrity, while everyone else stays home. The sensory overload of Times Square is craizer than 25 kids for a six-year-old birthday party! If I am in the mood for sensory overload I will chaperone my daughter’s preschool field trips. At least then I will know the kids who own the sweat I rub up against.
Suburban Life Requires Less Showers: I have shared in my posts that, since I work from home, there are times, a-hem.. days, when I do not shower. I had to wash city life off of me at least twice per day. If I stepped off the curb wrong, I was splashed with gutter grime (water would not be an accurate word to describe what hit my legs).
Moms Should Teach Taxi Driving School: I can get an SUV full of 6 year olds anywhere on time without inducing motion sickness. I can drive the carpool, while putting on a movie and passing back the juice boxes, without breaking any laws or startling anyone. (Unless I yell, “Don’t make me pull this car over”). The taxi to the airport took two ginger ales to recover from.
Moms CAN Sleep-in After Having Kids: It turns out that staying up until 2:30 in the morning, having cocktails is doable if you can sleep until 11:30 the next morning. I didn’t even know if I was still physically capable of sleeping late. I have confirmed that mothers can still do shots and be the life of the party if given time to recover…
Adults Need Moderation Too: We don’t hand our children the candy basket and tell them to use their best judgement. The same rule should probably apply to parents re-released into the wild - aka at an event with a fully hosted bar. Just because it is there and free, doesn’t mean one (okay, me) should try to take full advantage. The extra sleep helped, but I still had to relive the hazy memories of giving breast-feeding advice to someone I had just met.
Parks Are For Adults Too: My favorite part of my kids-free trip was a park! We had a delightful brunch at The Boathouse in Central Park and then strolled around the lake. I turned to my husband and said, “oh the kids would love this”. He said, “You’re right, but we’re not bringing them while they’re young”. He’s a smart guy.
Thank you New York for reminding me what being a civilized adult feels like. Thank you for the one-on-one time with my husband, for the beautiful sites and delicious food. Finally, thank you for perspective – when I had my first dose of mommy frustration upon coming home, as the kids were being loud and rowdy, I was able to say, ‘Thank God I am not in the heat of Times Square with all those crazy tourists!’
I am currently reading Bitter Is The New Black by Jen Lancaster. In her book, she has the “Jen Commandments” that basically give her boyfriend Fletch some guidelines he must adhere to. Hilarious! They inspired me to write my commandments. I am sure my husband has already figured these out, but a few might be universal – please check with your significant other!
- Skin care, hair care and supplements are not luxuries, they are necessities – I plan to grow old gracefully. Well, at least look graceful.
- If opening a bottle of wine, save the cheap stuff for someone else. I may have broken up with wine, but we still each other, and I want our reunions to be special.
- I like to cook but I do not want to be expected to do it on a regular basis.
- I have mowed a lawn once. Period.
- I am a HUGE over-communicator (I know you’re shocked), failure to communicate back to me will be taken as a sign of hostility.
- When faced with a situation I don’t know how to handle (like turning off a quad), I will throw my hands up in the air and say”What do I do?” Come running.
- Never leave the house without a hug and kiss goodbye. However, if one of us has not brushed our teeth, stick to the cheek please.
- That reminds me, morning breath is a huge inhibitor to morning sex.
- I like to pretend I am handy and love to have a reason to carry around the Makita (I say that word over and over), please don’t burst my bubble.
- I am fine with guy humor and fraternity house talk, but the toilet seat must be down.
Wow, 10 went fast and I have more to say. This might be the first installment of the rule book… I realize I may sound high maintenance, I prefer to tell my husband I am a delicate orchid, that when properly cared for provides endless beauty and enjoyment. (Then we both laugh hysterically.)
What are your rules?
First, a confession. I have told you in the past that I have seen the Twilight movies, but I love Twilight, Sookie Stackhouse and True Blood, Black Dagger Brotherhood and The Gates. To make this statement requires me to swallow my pride. When Twilight fist came out, I teased my friends for reading teeny-bopper books. I told them I am not into vampires. Then I read Twilight and was hooked on the series. But I maintained that it was just those books and I would not read any other vamp books… Well, clearly, I ate those words.
As I was watching True Blood last night, it occurred to me that my children have all the same powers as vampires, so I can only surmise that vampires do exist. Here’s the “proof”:
- Vampires defy gravity with their jumping and sometimes flying abilities – My son scaled the dressing room wall at Target Saturday to retrieve a toy I took away from him. He regularly climbs door jams and other objects for sport.
- Vampires suck the life out of you by sucking your blood – My children have one up on the vamps here – they can suck the life out of me without even leaving a puncture mark.
- Vampires keep odd hours, awake at night and sleeping during the day- My children enjoy keeping me awake at night and then recharging their batteries during the day, while I struggle through work sleepless.
- Vampires can glamour you to erase unwanted memories- Vampires have to learn this trick. My kids started erasing my unpleasant memories the day they were born. 6 hours of labor while waiting for an epidural – that must be a rumor, I don’t remember that. When they have been naughty or unruly, they simply come up, snuggle me and whisper I love you in their cutest voice and I am putty in their little supernatural hands.
So yes, I believe in vampires now, but I am not afraid of them. I know a vampire is no match for my kids!