If we are honest with ourselves, we will probably realize that the old “I’m not talking about my kids tonight!” promise is impossible to keep. We are who we are, and our families represent a critical part of that identity. We may never make it through a single hour without the conversation turning to spouses and children. But, some days we do need an hour, a day, or even a full weekend to talk about them without them near us!
Defining Girl Time
Movies and television shows make girl time look like a wild and crazy escape into irresponsibility, so many of us avoid it like the plague. Perhaps what we need instead is a redefinition of girl time.
Consider this one:
girl time \gurl tīm\ n 1: an opportunity to step away from the immediate environment so as to engage in adult conversation 2: the chance to interact with others who share in one’s experiences 3: an opportunity to receive advice from another individual who has “been there” 4: the chance for a mother to put effort into taking care of herself so she can better care for her family
Okay, so that might not pass Merriam-Webster qualifications for a strong definition, but a definition like this clarifies just a bit what girl time really is – and why we all need it now and then. Everyone serving in a day-in, day-out job needs a regular break. Moms are no exception.
What About the Kids?
That leaves only one question: how do we actually accomplish girl time? First, we have the practicals of our children to consider. Here are a few suggestions:
- Say yes to offers of childcare. We often don’t take seriously the grandmotherly offer from that precious church nursery worker to leave our children with her for an afternoon. If she has offered, though, consider that your children might be as much of a blessing to her as her care of them is to you.
- Trust Dad to be a dad. While there are dads who would truly fall apart if left alone with the kids, they are much less common than our culture leads us to believe. Use common sense, but also realize that your husband is a parent, not a babysitter. Relax and let him be involved in parenting on a daily basis, then trust him for those times you need girl time.
- Take turns. If absolutely no childcare is available for you and your girlfriends, consider taking turns keeping the kids while the rest of the gals get an hour or two away. While leaving one friend out of the girl time each time around might not be the ideal solution, it allows girl time that might otherwise remain impossible.
- Take the kids along. Let’s admit it – sometimes there just isn’t a way to get away from the kids. But, we cannot let that prevent us from taking that much-needed girl time. So, make it a point to get together on a regular basis, even if the kids need to come along. The play time might be just as good for them as it is for you.
Girl Time Ideas
Perhaps you have the childcare figured out, but you just aren’t sure how to go about getting the girl time. You are not sure what to do with your time, you lack the budget for a meal or movie out, or you do not have girlfriends nearby to spend time with. Here are a few thoughts:
- Keep it cheap and simple. Tips are always floating around about how to keep date nights with our spouses inexpensive. Consider the same tactic for girl time. Send dads and kids to one house while you visit in the other. Pack a picnic and head to a nearby state park. Take a drive with no children. Coordinate girl time with exercise, finding a track that makes walking and talking easy.
- Look for specials. Sometimes finding specials online or through other sources can both spur ideas and make an activity affordable.
- Build a “girl time” fund. Plan ahead by putting a little money back each week – even if it’s just a dollar or two – to build up a stash for that special concert or conference weekend. Use a jug to collect loose change, have a yard sale and set aside a portion of the proceeds, or make and sell items at a craft fair.
- Don’t miss the big trips. While regular, small girl time activities are essential, do not neglect the bigger opportunities. When a homeschool, blogging, or women’s conference rolls around, keep in mind that it is not only about what you will learn (although there is great information to glean!). More often than not, time with like-minded, supportive friends – or a chance to meet new friends – ends up being the greatest benefit of a conference. Keep an eye open for contests and early-bird specials that make conferences financially feasible.
What are you waiting for? Find a friend and start planning some girl time. You won’t regret it!