The need for quality girl time doesn’t end when you get married and have a family. If anything, I would argue you need it more at that point than ever before. The key is making time for girl time now that we all have our own families. Here are my top tips to make it happen for this week’s installment of making time for me!
The Importance of Girl Time
Nothing helps me find myself, the me outside of mother and wife, like spending time with my closest friends. They knew me before marriage, before kids, and I can always count on them to tell me the truth on everything from skincare and style, to parenting and relationships. When we all get together, even if it’s with kids in tow, it recharges my batteries and always reminds me that we need to do it more often!
Sadly, with only 24 hours in the day, kids, family, work, household chores seem to suck up every minute and girl time often gets left behind. Friendships with other women are actually essential to us biologically: gathering with other women “counters stress and produces a calming effect” in our hectic daily lives. Can’t argue with science! So, here are my tips for making this vital part of life, part of yours!
Make Girl Time Routine
Between work, kids’ schedules, family obligations, holidays, doctor appointments, trying to find time for yourself is tough. Trying to align that time with someone else’s equally frantic schedule can be like trying to align the stars. My girlfriends and I *try* to have a standing monthly date. It’s blocked on the calendar. We meet out for dinner, and use it to celebrate birthdays, career successes, announce big news, and of course, vent and stress-relief! And while before kids we used to get together at least once a week for happy hour, or even more frequently on the spur of the moment, monthly, without kids, is at least consistently achievable.
Anytime we have to reschedule, it basically gets skipped until the next month. Making girl time routine, a part of your monthly rhythm, makes it happen. And once a year, or every few years – go big. Girls’ weekend getaway. Here are 100 Reasons Why You Should!
Girl Time Doesn’t Have to Mean Girls’ Night Out
Many think girl time means martinis, high heels and clubbing until the wee hours of the night. And while it may have looked like that in my early 20s (and may still on rare occasion), girl time is really more about spending quality, face to face time with the women in your life.
You need time to talk about the things you can’t talk about with anyone else – even your husband. They will listen to your potty training woes ad nauseam, have empathy for how lonely being home with young children can actually be, and commiserate with you over the surprising lack of bladder control you experience postpartum. And it just so happens, a night club or bar with loud music, isn’t conducive to any of that.
Another great way to make girl time happen on a regular basis is by combining it with other aspects of your daily life, with or without kids in tow. I recommend these, in order of achievability!
While I’m pretty sure many out there think this is what my SAHM daily life looks like all the time (p.s. it doesn’t!), play dates are a great way to have girl time. Gather at someone’s house for coffee, lunch or even late afternoon wine and cheese. Better yet, meet and make the mess somewhere else – head for the zoo, local children’s museum or the playground. Let the kids play, and enjoy each other’s company.
Coffee Break Post School Drop-Off
If you’re like me, you use those precious hours of preschool to run errands with fewer kids in tow. Give yourself a break every once in a while, and stop and have a cup of coffee with your friends instead.
Go for a Walk
Even if you aren’t next door neighbors, drive to your friend’s house or meet at a local park, boardwalk or nature trail and take a walk. Need to bring the kids? Strap them in the strollers. After quality girl time, fresh air, and a little exercise, you’ll feel totally refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Grab a Drink Post-Bedtime
If you have young children, the bedtime routines are over by 8, and you have a few hours of adult time. Just because you can’t make it out for dinner or for hours, doesn’t mean you can’t still make it out. Leave the hubby in charge and head out for a glass of wine or a beer with a girlfriend at a corner, neighborhood bar. Pregnant or don’t drink? Make it an ice cream or cupcake!
Meet for Yoga or Spin Class
Maybe you both workout regularly. See if you can’t find a class to do together and kill two birds with one stone. Stop for a smoothie afterwards to cool down and catch up.
Pedicures or hair appointments
Share your guilty pleasures. For me, it’s a pedicure or getting my hair done every few months. Book appointments together and catch up while your color sets or your nails dry.
Don’t Be Cliquey
Human beings have an innate tendency and desire to belong to a group. It starts from birth with being part of a family, and is a natural tendency that persists no matter your age or gender. Females, however, more often seem to form groups to the exclusion of others, or cliques.
As someone who now lives across the country from where I originally grew up, went to college somewhere in between, and even now lives a good 30-45 minutes from my best girlfriends, it can be tough making friends as you get older. But the reality is, as your life changes and evolves, so will the people you regularly encounter. Making new friends doesn’t mean leaving your old friends behind – but it can mean making friends you have more in common with – from proximity to similarly aged kids – in your current stage of life.
Make friends with the moms at your child’s new preschool or daycare. In the waiting room of your child’s dance class or sidelines of the soccer game. Introduce yourself to the other moms at toddler story time at the library or local bookstore. If I didn’t put myself out there to moms locally when I had my first child, and only kept my friends from pre-marriage – I would be awfully lonely on a daily basis. And the more friends you have – the more opportunity for girl time!
Girl Time Challenge
When was the last time you had quality girl time? I have a challenge for you – if it’s been more than a month, or even a week, pick up the phone and put something on the calendar with your girlfriends today, even if it is a month away. New in town and don’t know anyone? Go to a mommy and me activity or the local playground, and introduce yourself to another mom with a child the same age as yours.
On the flipside, if you have a great group of friends you see all the time… congratulations! Think about what life might be like without them. And at the next school function you attend, if you see a lonely mom who doesn’t know anyone, walk up, introduce yourself and introduce her to your friends. As someone who has moved across the country over different phases of my life, I am eternally grateful to the awesome women who have befriended me and included me in their circles.
Girl time is a scientifically-proven, biologic need – make sure you are fulfilling it! If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the complete Making Time for Me series, covering Part 1: Taking Care of You (including a Beautycounter giveaway through 3/28/16) and Part 2: Hobbies for Mental, Emotional Fulfillment. You can find all of these on my Mommy Sanity Saver board on Pinterest too!