1. You can go to planned outings. This is the easy one. Just show up and have a good time! It's what many moms stick to, and it's totally fine and a good use of the moms group! Everyone appreciates the friendships made, the company at events, and the socialization for little ones.
2. You can plan outings. Everyone can decide on outings, plan and invite. I was immediately drawn to this, because Caroline and I go out and do a lot of things. Before finding the moms group, we did them on our own. We had lots of ideas of things to do, but no one to go with. Now I have an idea, post it on meet-up and invite all the moms! Everyone loves new, creative ideas! I love participating in this manner. The more moms that participate in this way, the more variety we get in our types of playdates and events.
3. You can invite people over to your home. And this is where I was out. We have a small townhouse, and there are 40+ members in the moms group. Many moms actually choose to cap the attendance for this reason to something more manageable- so there's always that option. It also means that you have to clean, however. Making our house presentable for other moms always feels like such a task. We have a dog, and the dog hair is just never completely removed no matter how hard I try. There are stains on the couch because of the dog licking his feet, etc. Our house is always picked up and relatively "tidy", but the dog hair is hard to manage. Speaking of the dog, we have a crazy, excited, chocolate lab that loves to jump and kiss and get lots of attention. I was so nervous to try having people over with him in the house, and would feel the need to just put him outside- where he'd bark- the entire time. Didn't sound like fun. Not to mention the mess that will be left after the playdate at our house. With lots of little kids running around, toys would be everywhere. We have managed to keep our toys in great condition, and everything has a place. Caroline likes it this way, too. As you can see there are many reasons I wasn't drawn to this.
For some reason I felt the need to participate, however. And, when I mentioned the idea to Caroline, she was ecstatic to say the least. So, we made a plan and committed to it! We capped the attendance at 8 moms (including myself), so that it wouldn't be too crazy or cramped. We made the theme a tattoo party and May day fun, since we were having it on May 1st. Caroline got a pack of over 100 tattoos in her Easter basket this year, so we decided to share these with her friends. I printed May day flower basket coloring pages, and had crayons out at the table. We also had a backup plan to make little baskets out of dixie cups and ribbon, so we could all go outside and look for wildflowers to pick. We never got to do this because everyone was having so much fun just playing!
The morning of, I reminded Caroline that her friends were coming over. She jumped out of bed so quickly. "My friends are coming!" she kept shouting as she jumped around her room. She was beyond excited. "Now?" she asked and kind of demanded. I had to inform her we had a few hours. We'd eat breakfast, and get ready, and then they'd be here. Let's just say she had a hard time waiting!
As 10 am approached, Caroline planted herself in front of the windows of her room and watched. When the first friends came, she couldn't contain herself. We ran downstairs to let them in. She just kept saying "my friends are here!" over and over!
As more people arrived, Caroline just took everything in. She sat on the couch with me and watched her friends play. She seemed so happy and content that her friends were having such a good time with her toys. She played with them off and on, and took moments where she'd step back and watch again. She was thoroughly enjoying herself and very much in her hostess role.
Caroline eventually asked to open the door to the deck, which was a great idea. It really opened up the space, and we all enjoyed the nice day out on the deck. Moose (our dog), was outside and could be seen from the deck. He, of course, started barking as he saw everyone. All the moms seemed to agree that we should give it a shot and bring him in. So, I crossed my fingers and warned that he was going to be crazy for a bit, but friendly crazy!
I let him in, and I wasn't fast enough to beat him upstairs to our company. He ran to everyone for kisses, and pets. He knocked over a couple of kids in the process of going from inside, out to the deck, and back in, with all of his excitement. But, he quickly settled down and no one was hurt. I got his treats out, and the kids took turns giving them to him. He was a huge hit and everyone just loved him. I was pretty impressed with how quickly he settled down, actually!
As everyone left, Caroline said things like "Bye, bye.", "Thanks for coming", "See you again soon", etc. She was so polite and being such a good little hostess!
It was noon by the time everyone left, so we sat down and munched on more snacks that had been out and counted that as our lunch for the day. We then cleaned up the minor disaster zone in our house, but we were so glad to do so. That minor disaster zone was a sign that everyone had had a really good time. Caroline patiently found all of her toys and helped me put them into the correct locations. Most things were accounted for, and we went upstairs for Caroline's nap.
It was a little bit of a late nap, but I knew she'd need time to unwind. She was in bed at 1 pm. As I watched and listened over the video monitor, I heard her excitement still shining through. She was reciting everything that had happened with her friends, and saying her goodbye's again. I heard her saying things like "thank you for coming over", "I had a good time", and more! She talked for 1.5 hours!!! Yes, until 2:30 pm she was in her bed just talking nonstop about her playdate! She finally crashed. When she woke at 4, all she wanted to do? Talk about the playdate and plan another one! I think I have a little hostess on my hands!
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