Fitting time to spend with your girlfriends into your busy schedule can be challenging, especially as a mom. Your closest girls could be scattered across the metro area or across the world and it is so important to keep those bonds strong.

Amid the laughter, girlfriends from college, past jobs or even from elementary school have steered you through everything from bad boyfriends in their early years to providing support when more serious issues came along. When you carve out time for yourself, it reminds you of who you were before wife or mom.

Step out of the mom zone, find a sitter or leave the kids for one-on-one time with dad. There are lots of ways to spend time with girlfriends, here are a few ideas:

Movie Night

Sure, you can always join or start a book group – but that can mean homework, and maybe the book is not your cup of tea. For a lower-pressure “girls night out,” consider a regular movie outing, such as on the first Monday of each month. For a lower-cost option, have the girls over to the house for an at-home movie night once a month.

TV Series Nights

This is a simple way to all laugh and get together every week (or every few weeks if you happen to be extra busy). Invite all of the girls over to watch a series of your favorite TV show, whether “Grey’s Anatomy” or “The Bachelor” tell everyone to bring wine and cheeses, get away from the kids and enjoy the show.

Free Clothes, with Laughs

Have a clothes swap with your friends. One at a time, women present clothes they are ready to part with; the first gal to indicate she really wants something usually winds up with it – if it fits! Bonus: The hostess delivers leftover items (clothes, shoes, handbags, etc.) to places such as local women’s shelters.

I’ve Always Wanted To…

Have each friend choose something she’s always wanted to do. The whole group could take a course on cooking fine desserts, or perhaps even try a psychic reading.

Painting Party

 Plenty of area businesses host painting nights (they usually involve wine) and each guest gets to take home a canvas of their creation. This is a fun way to bond with the girls—all sitting around trying to copy the artist’s example while chatting up a storm. Some include: Painting with a Twist, Sips n Strokes and Pinot’s Palette.

Taste-Testing Club

Make it a tradition to try all of the new restaurants in town. Have your girlfriends make a list when they hear about new restaurants and twice a month or once a month meet up at the new location. Try all of the new bites and sips for a fun taste-test.

Girls Night at the Ball Park

SunTrust Park offers lots of opportunities for fun girl time, even beyond the baseball game. Choose a game and plan on dinner before at the Battery (the shops and restaurants around the field) there are several great farm-to-table choices. The Uber and Lyft pick-up areas make it easy to skip parking and split a ride with the girls.

Cocktails in the Garden

Explore Atlanta Botanical Garden with a drink in hand and stop for dinner at Longleaf restaurant. Don’t miss the new Skyline garden and the great exhibits on display throughout the year. Every Thurs. May 11- Sept. 28. 6-10 p.m.

Artsy Nights

One of Atlanta’s art districts is open for business the second Friday of each month for an award-winning Art Stroll through Castleberry Hill. There are restaurants in the mix as well for those who think that abstracts and oils go better with appetizers and merlot. You can also visit the High Museum of Art for scheduled art talks and exhibit openings.

Burn Some Calories

There are so many new workout classes popping up around Atlanta. Tell your girlfriends to all meet at an area gym and try a class (most gyms offer the trial class for free or for a low fee without having a membership). Try the traditional spin or yoga classes or attend the POUND workout (using weighted drumsticks to pound on objects) or American Row House for a rowing workout minus the water.

Making it Work

Here’s some advice on finding some time just for you:

  • Put it on the calendar as a “have to” – just like any other appointment you must keep.
  • Share sitters for easier, more affordable fun.
  • Make it all about you, don’t bring your kids for once and focus on adult conversation.
  • Don’t be reluctant to pamper yourself just like you would your child. Go and get a pedicure or buy yourself a new outfit.

–Mary Beth Bishop 

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