That’s why I recommend celebrating everything during deployment! You should celebrate every month that passes. You can also celebrate your own achievements: when you complete a class, finish a big project, potty-train your toddler, etc. And then there are holidays.
The trouble is, what if you are new to a unit or to the base, and don’t have many girl friends to celebrate with? If you aren’t sure how to plan Girls Night with people who are only acquaintances and Facebook friends, then here are some tips.
Choose group activities. Maybe there is a restaurant you have been wanting to try, or a local event or attraction that is not very kid-friendly. Is there someplace you have been wanting to check out, but are nervous to go on your own? Then the chances are that others are just waiting for an excuse to go too! Here are some favorites:
- sushi or fondue restaurants, or any special ethnic cuisine
- watching a new movie in theaters (especially if it is part of a series)
- a group package at a spa
- a recipe exchange potluck party
- a comedy club, or place with live music
- a Paint and Sip painting party (with wine), or a pottery painting session
- wine tasting or Vineyard tour
- wine and cheese party (notice a theme, here?)
- Christmas cookie exchange party
- activities like Go-Karting, Laser Tag, or Paintball
- group horse riding class or trail
- cooking class
- Game Night (could be board games or Wii games, or any fun group game)
Use Facebook groups and events. Most units have a page for spouses. Mention you want to plan Girls Night, and throw out some ideas. Chances are, people will say “Yes, PLEASE!” Then you can create an event and use that to nail down details–time, place, who is going, cost, etc. This is a great way to make some new friends and invite a large group, even when many of them aren’t your personal Facebook friends.
Timing is important. Plan to meet around 7 pm on a weekend. If your group will include anyone with kids, this is the easiest time for them. They can feed the kids before the babysitter arrives, then scoot out the door to meet you, and let the babysitter put the kids to bed. If you plan something in the middle of the day, that makes it hard for moms to find a babysitter and attend. And on a weekday, none of the working spouses can attend.
Plan events on a payday. Yep, we all get paid the same 2 weekends of the month. Some people have a tighter budget than others, and won’t have extra cash to spend on themselves during the other weekends.
You can be a host, even if you have a tiny apartment. Just because you are the one with an idea doesn’t mean you have to host a Girls’ Night at your own house. Contact your base housing office to reserve (for FREE) one of the community centers. Or you can be the group coordinator for an event at a restaurant or other public location. And then you won’t even need to clean your apartment!
Keep costs low. During a deployment, many people want to save money. They may also feel guilty doing something expensive without their husband. So if you want to suggest something fancy, try to find a good deal, or an offer that makes it easier to accept. Is there a group rate? Or can you do something affordable like a potluck party where everyone brings an appetizer, a dessert, or a bottle of wine?
Dress up a little! A Girls’ Night is a chance to look your best, even though there are no men involved. So have fun choosing an outfit and doing your hair and make-up. Do your nails if you have the time and enjoy that. Wear your heels. You want to feel good about yourself this night, so wear whatever gives you the most joy and confidence, weather that is tight jeans or a cute dress.
Welcome everyone. Even if you and a close friend attend an event together, remember that there may be someone there who doesn’t know anyone. They could be new to the unit or the area. So try not to talk to only people you already know. Instead, greet everyone, learn some new names, and draw others into your conversations.
Have fun planning AND participating! The whole point of a Girls’ Night is to provide entertainment, distract you, and let you laugh and enjoy yourself more than usual. (Good food and/or wine is a huge bonus, too). It shouldn’t be stressful or frustrating. If it is, then try a very different approach next time.
So what are you waiting for? You better start to plan girls night for your crew!