Don’t put off your girls’ weekends

Find your pre-mom gaggle of girls & embrace them, they are your connection with a part of yourself you may have lost.

Don’t put off your girls’ weekends

“I love you, my friends.” Somewhere between a smile and tears, I uttered those words and squeezed one last hug from each of them, before we parted ways for various terminals at LaGuardia. It was the end of a girls’ weekend and we were all headed back to our individual real lives.

The weekend was perfect.

Six best friends met in New York City to do what we do best: hang out, laugh and reminisce. Twenty-plus years ago we met by chance when something drew us to the same college, and we crossed paths. The universe must have known that we were perfect complements for each other because those girls are still my dearest friends today. In fact, we are closer now than when we were in school together.


Getting the six of us together was no small feat.

We are spread out all over the globe: Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Virginia, Connecticut and even across the Atlantic in London. Choosing a weekend is like putting together an intricate puzzle. We have to work around dance recitals and soccer playoffs, kids’ birthdays and school fundraisers. After we eliminate all of the dates where responsibility trumps fun, we are maybe left with a Wednesday overnight, 18 months from now.

Sometimes getting away seems like more trouble than it’s worth.

Coordinating carpools and hometown logistics practically requires a mathematical algorithm to make it all happen. And then there’s the guilt of leaving behind husbands and children to do something for ourselves. Somehow, girls’ weekends feel selfish. Indulgent, even. It’s easy to just give up and put it off for another day.

But a girls’ weekend with old friends isn’t just a vacation. It’s a reality check with the people who know us best, and it’s what sustains us. We get so caught up in our daily lives at home where playground politics and neighborhood drama somehow seem really important. When you’re submerged in a world of suburban self-imposed busyness and keeping up with the Joneses it’s hard to see anything else, and there’s nothing like an old friend to put it all in perspective.

The six of us finally agreed on a weekend and booked our flights.

As we shopped along the Upper East Side and strolled through Central Park, all of the things on our minds flowed from our mouths, effortlessly. We re-told old stories that still bring back great memories, and we laughed so hard that we feared our post-baby bladders would fail us. We recounted the most ridiculous things we have done, the stuff we stopped short of doing, and the things we really shouldn’t admit out loud. But we do, in our safe place where oversharing is the rule.

Manhattan was the backdrop for our time together, but it could have been anywhere.

It doesn’t matter where we go because we just want to spend time together and channel our inner college girl. Remember her? She’s the gal who never let anything get in the way of watching Melrose Place with her roommates, and who knew that a great band playing at the usual bar was a perfectly good reason to blow off studying for an exam. She was only responsible for herself and she didn’t take things too seriously.

It’s easy to forget that free-spirited girl, within, because she gets lost among todays over scheduling and family chaos. She did a lot more living in the moment, probably because she didn’t know any better, but I think she was onto something. That girl is still there—she’s just buried beneath maturity, practicality and a few crow’s feet. Spending time with old friends brings her out of hiding and parades her around for a bit, and that’s a really good thing.

I cherish our girls’ weekends, no matter how infrequent, because they are the only time we get to spend together. Thanks to geography, I don’t know their new friends or their favorite restaurants. I don’t know my way around their houses and I only know their children through photos and stories we tell over the phone. Each of us has built an entire life over the past two decades and we know the highlights, but not the specifics. Their new friends and neighbors have taken over as the keepers of their daily information.

But what old friends know is the soul of the true person underneath all of the daily details.

And maybe that’s the best part to know. Despite our very different adult lives, with careers or lack of, and children of different ages and struggles, we are still the same girls we were 20 years ago. We just forget because responsibility landed squarely on each of our shoulders and dug in for the duration. A girls’ weekend is the reminder we need.

We were only in New York for 48 hours, but for those two days, all was right with the world. The laughter and connection picked up right where we left off and reminded us of who we really are. Each of us headed home, armed with the strength to step back into the daily madness feeling a little more grounded.

Wherever your earlier tribe hails from—college, high school, summer camp, former coworkers—find your pre-mom gaggle of girls and embrace them, because they are your connection with a part of yourself you may have lost. Give them a call and start planning your next girls’ weekend.

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

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    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

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    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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