No, I am talking about simply pinching a few hours to catch up and share some laughs with your friends.
Baileys recently commissioned a survey of Australian woman to put together a report which has been aptly titled Baileys 'Make The Time', it's all about encouraging us woman to take a little time out for ourselves to catch up with friends.
The survey showed that woman today are busier than ever juggling all our many roles and responsibilities, and a whopping 68% of us say we do not have enough time left in a week to do what WE want. Australian woman on average only get to spend 6% to 8% of our weekly time on our personal interests and we are only spending 5% of our time catching up with friends. When we do manage to squeeze in some time to catch up, the majority of us feel guilty about it. Yup the good old guilt creeps in, always ready and willing to spoil the day. Many of us find ourselves feeling guilty about what we think we should be doing instead (like the housework) or worrying if our families are surviving for this short time without us there at the helm.
Life is all about balance and as true as the saying 'Happy Wife Happy Life' is, there also lies a huge amount of truth in the saying 'A relaxed Mum equals less shouting, tears and crappy dinners'. Ok so I might have just made that saying up, but it's true, days run smoother and life is just that much nicer for everyone when Mum gets a little time out once in a while. We all know how important friends are for our sanity and the medicinal value of a good old chin wag and belly laugh is priceless.
Baileys are encouraging woman to embrace the change and make time for ourselves to spend with our friends. More often then not though, when you finally find the time, you can often be left wondering what the heck do I do with it? Recently, I got together with a few of my friends and we came up with a few ways you can spend that time and chill out.
1. Get Together for a Meal.
It could be a brekkie after school drop off, or a weekend brunch at your favorite cafe. A night out for dinner at a restaurant or you could take it in turns having a dinner at each others house. Make a date for once a month, lock it in and schedule everything else around it. Don't feel guilty, the washing can wait, you have not left the kids in the care of a psycho and the sky will not fall in just because you have taken a few hours off. If you are really worried, leave a list of dos and don'ts for your partner or carer and lock up all the knives, scissors and sharp objects in your absence.
2. Get Physical.
No I don't mean start making out with your friends (though by all means don't let me stop you if you are so inclined), but in this case I was more referring to going for a walk or a bike ride, play some tennis or team up to do a sport that interests you. You could even join your kids up to a team sport together and then you can all guiltlessly sit on the sidelines at training and the games, have a laugh and be there to cheer for your kids and scream and chicken dance when they score / shoot a goal, win a race, score a try or whatever (ahem doesn't everyone do the chicken dance?)
3. Have a Movie Night at each others Houses.
Again once a month, make a date to don your comfies and slippers and take it in turns to host a movie night. Share some takeout dinner or nibbles, drinks of choice and the biggest tub of Sara Lee or Maggies Beers Icecream and settle down to watch some chick flicks, horror movies or whatever you as a group decide to watch. It could even be a marathon of your favourite TV show like The Real Housewives and you can spend your night working out which one of you is who in the show. It really doesn't take any effort - you simply lock the date in every month, take it in turns and you don't even have to bother dressing up for this one. Bonus points in my book.
4. Have a Swap Party.
Catching up with friends AND free shopping. Does it get any better than that? You can have a theme like swapping your clothes you no longer wear, or kids clothes they have grown out of. You could even swap things like books, magazines or housey items you no longer love to bits.
5. Take a Class Together
Take a cooking class with some friends, sign up for pole dancing or belly dancing lessons. If you have recently moved to a new area, why not invites some mums from playgroup or school to do something together or perhaps you could arrange a get together with some bloggy friends that live in your area.
Whatever it is that tickles your fancy, make the time. Schedule it in and give your family plenty of notice, chuck the guilt to the kerb and just enjoy it. After all you have well and truly earned it.
A handful of some of my gorgeous friends and I have made a pact to do something once a month together, no pressure, whoever can make it will make it, but we will all bend over backwards to make the time.
Go on, just do it! Pick up the phone, email, tweet or blow smoke signals - whatever, however, organise some time for yourself to catch up with your friends. You won't regret it!
Baileys Australia have an awesome Facebook page where amongst other things you can find some delicious recipes using Baileys Irish Cream. Baileys encourage responsible drinking but their gorgeous recipes should come with a warning all of their own. Check them out here.
Disclaimer* I wasn't directly paid for this post, but the Fabulous people at Baileys and Splendid Communications did pay for me to take out a group of friends out to dinner to discuss their survey, share some ideas to encourage other woman to make time for themselves and of course - drink their liquid gold. I know I know - it's a tough gig, but for such a great cause, I was more than happy to oblige.
Do you have a regular catch up with friends? If so - what do you guys get up to?