Our FRG (see Glossary) recently tried to organize a girl’s night out. It started off vey well with people throwing out fun ideas like Paint and Sip places, maybe a winery, even just dinner at the trendy new restaurant. And then somehow, and I was there and I still don’t know exactly how it happened, it suddenly became a child friendly event at the local arcade type place. I remember sitting there and thinking “Wait…what just….wha? Don’t they understand what a girl’s night out is? And more importantly, what the point of a girl’s night out is?”
Most FRGs are really good about organizing child friendly events – the ‘F’ does stand for Family, after all – and making sure that the children are taken care of. Which is absolutely wonderful. I know it can be difficult for some mom’s to find babysitters or spend the money on one, and it also provides a chance for socialization among kids who are going through the same thing as their own, such as Daddy being deployed. It can sometimes be a fine line for an FRG to walk however; just how many kid friendly events do you plan? For those who are trying to have children, it can be a painful reminder of their lack of progress, and for those childless by choice, who may enjoy children, it can take away from an evening, or make us feel left out if every single event is based on children.
Often times, parents are so involved with their children and looking after them and seeing to their needs, that they can lose track of themselves. We all know that mom – she devotes all of her time and all of herself to her children. Having the FRG provide a girl’s night out, gives that mom the opportunity to get dressed up, leave the house with just one bag, and eat her diner in one sitting (while it is still hot)! It also gives all the adults in the FRG the chance to get out and socialize and explore their duty station – those who are new, or slightly less adventurous, may not know about the Indian restaurant where you get to sit on cushions and use your fingers. Getting together in a group is a fun and less stressful way for adults to try new things – it is always way more fun to turn to your friend and say, “oh my gosh, you have to try this it is amazing/disgusting/bizarre!”
It also gives parents the chance to miss their kids. I know a lot of stay at home moms have this problem – they don’t miss their kids because they are with them all the time, often having to be two parents at once. Being able to be away from your children, even just for a few hours, refreshes your psyche, builds you back up, and lets you miss your kids. You go home and they are all snuggled in bed looking adorable and peaceful and even though you may then go downstairs to wipe crayons off the wall or do laundry that someone was sick in, or ran through a mud puddle in, just that little time away can change how you see them. Not that parents don’t love their kids all the time – I feel I need to add this disclaimer – but come on, even Pinterest Queen Moms need breaks from their kids from time to time.
This is why it is so important for FRGs to make sure they provide events that are occasionally adults only, and stick to it. It needs to be made clear from the very beginning, that for this particular function, the kids have to stay home. And mom gets to have a little fun in her corner of the sky.