Today is story time! I’m going to tell you about a time that highlights my social awkwardness, even online, and how it led to me finding the best group of women in my area and making lifelong friends.
I live in a planned development – one of those neighborhoods with an HOA, several parks, a rec center and pool…and our own little Facebook Group. It’s a pretty busy, large, neighborhood and the Facebook group stays pretty active. One day, a woman decided to start a spinoff group for moms specifically, saying it was to help moms find more local friends. Since I’m a mom, and I wanted to meet more women in the area (I only had 1 friend who lived in the neighborhood at the time), I joined. The group grew pretty fast, and I thought it might be just what I needed!
Alas, Facebook groups are never quite what you hoped for, are they? It became clear within a week that this group was focused on two things primarily: stay at home moms, and religion. Multiple Bible studies were started – all in the middle of the day on Tuesdays and Fridays. Someone commented about working moms not being able to do those times… so another thread was started about an evening event – a Bible study. So here I am, a couple glasses of wine in on a Friday night, a little bummed that this working mom, who is more spiritual than religious, ended up in a Bible study group somehow. So I comment on this woman’s post – I said something about how Bible study isn’t really my thing, and I work full time so I can’t do weekly daytime things, but that I would be happy to host a regular books & booze club on the weekend, every month or two.
Well apparently all the moms who are my kind of people are also scrolling Facebook with a drink on Friday nights because my comment took off. Dozens of women commented that they want to be part of a books & booze club, that they aren’t available for weekly commitments or just don’t want to do a Bible study for personal reasons. I felt a little bad because this (I’m sure perfectly nice and lovely) woman’s post about an evening Bible study was taken over by a bunch of moms who want to get together to eat, drink, and talk about books. I started a spin-off group since clearly we were a different breed of people. Good thing I did too, because I clearly upset the lady running the group (who’s Bible study post I took over), and I was shortly removed from that group.
The first book club night around 25 of the 40 women in the group showed up. Many people didn’t know ANYONE else and were taking a brave step to meet some new neighborhood friends. The introverted, socially awkward part of me took over about 60 minutes before people were meant to show up and I had to pregame like a broke college student going to a club to keep myself calm and stop myself from locking the door and turning off the lights and pretending I never invited anyone over. My best friend brought a taser because she was worried about how I invited a bunch of strangers to my house for drinks. Yet over 20 people showed up, and everyone had a great time, and we hung out for hours!
That night is still one of my favorite memories since I moved into this house and neighborhood. We did talk about a book (Confessions of a Domestic Failure), but more importantly we talked about ourselves, our kids, our own lives and hobbies. We learned who likes wine, who likes cocktails, who was pregnant. We realized we had people ranging from pregnant, soon-to-be first time moms to empty nesters who were waiting on the grandparent stage of life. We had working moms, stay at home moms, military wives, Colorado natives… the you name the demographic, we had it covered in our group.
Nearly two years later, my book (& booze) club is going strong. We have this amazing group of women that sits at around 50 members. Staying active in the group is required or you are removed, but attendance at the bi-monthly get togethers isn’t mandatory since mom life is busy and stressful. We read all kinds of books – and even when most of us don’t like the book, we still get together. We’ve done personal development brunches, too, which are always smaller, more intimate, and I get to know the women more deeply there.
We are still a diverse group, we still love to chat, drink, and eat more than we talk about any book, and I absolutely love hosting this group. We have so much fun, and I meet the best people. I have made lifelong friends from this book club that I started on a wine-fueled whim, and I love seeing so many of the women start hanging out with each other outside of the book club. These women have helped me keep my sanity during a pandemic, between Zoom happy hours, random Facebook memes, and them dropping off birthday gifts for my kid who had a March birthday that got cancelled. More experienced moms helping newer moms, women giving each other advice and celebrating each other over work promotions, pregnancies, and new houses. We complain and vent to each other, and for the few women who are single in the group – the rest of us are more than happy to be wing-women to get them back out and dating. There is so much good energy, laughter, fun, and delicious food & wine at these events that my heart is so full every time I host one. I forget that I’m an introvert who usually hates group settings when I’m with these women.
This group has become about so much more than books & booze (though we do still love those). It has helped me realize what I am good at, what my bigger purpose in life is: to build community, particularly for women. So many of us were just wanting to make some more friends that we were willing to show up at a book club where we knew nobody on the chance we could find our people. When we realized we had found our people – we built a strong, diverse, uplifting community that has lasted. This has given me more joy and satisfaction than nearly anything else I’ve done, and reminded me why I joined a sorority in college – because I believe in the good energy and power of a group of women who come together.
I am so incredibly thankful for my book club. I love what we have created. I LOVE finding new books when I’m researching for our group. I love how full my house is of love, laughter, and joy when I host. I appreciate no one has held it against me how strong I made the margaritas that one night (proportions are not my thing!). There is joy in the ordinary, and magic in words. This book club has helped me find joy in the ordinary life of being a suburban mom, and the magic of my words written on a whim, and the magic of the words of the books we read to bring us together, help me remember how truly wonderful and magical life can be. I am forever thankful for the women who took a chance on me and this book club.