Now that I live in the honest-to-gosh ‘burbs, I joined my local chapter of MOMS Club International. For a $25-per-year membership fee, other mamas in my neighborhood are obligated to invite my kid and me to picnics and story time and holiday parties and weekly play groups. It’s the only club I know of where whipping out a boob mid-conversation is considered normal. Except for strip clubs maybe.
For me, the best part of MOMS Club is the weekly play groups, which are organized by birth year. My son is part of the 2013 play group. Most weeks, there is a respectable turnout of about 6 or 7 moms and at least as many kids. That’s a dozen or more people per play group. Usually in one room. And not just regular people — toddlers!
And until this past Tuesday, I had weaseled out of hosting a play group. Despite my naturally abundant guilt, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. What if someone got hurt? What if someone was allergic to our dog? What if no one came? What if everyone came? What if all the kids started screaming and crying at once and I accidentally yelled, “I hate you. I hate you. I hate every single one of you!”?
But guilt did, eventually, prevail. I signed up to host a play group and, lo, I lived to tell about it. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say I nailed it. Blood loss was minimal and the carpet is free of diarrhea. So, as a public service to those moms wondering what it takes, I give to you:
Hosting a Play Group or Running a Fight Club in 10 Easy Steps…
1. Buy snacks. If their mouths are crammed with store-bought sandwich cookies, the moms can’t tell you that your house looks like the Barbie Hoarder Dream Hovel.
2. Enlist your husband to help erase all evidence of your child from the home: Scrub oatmeal from the highchair, milk from the floor, pee from the walls, boogers from the carpet, whiskey from the mugs.
3. Brew a pot of coffee to mask the smell of the Diaper Genie’s corpse.
4. Hide all of the stuffed animals, or, as they’re called in our house, “the Kleenex.”
5. Stick a note on the door reading, “Moms, join us in the basement for play group. Don’t mind the barking dog; she’s been corralled in the bedroom.” Another option might read: “Want to burglarize my home? Act now!”
6. Welcome your visitors. Offer them cookies right away. Jokingly offer them whiskey in a mug. “Jokingly.” Wink-wink. But seriously, offer them whiskey in a mug. Jokingly.
7. Watch as the children swarm the VTech activity table. Watch as the children bash the VTech activity table with a xylophone hammer. Watch as the children bash each other with a xylophone hammer. Watch as hair is pulled. Watch as a cheek is scratched. Watch as Cheerios are stolen. Watch as baby gates are scaled. Watch as tears are shed. Watch as snot flows like a deep, slow-moving river of toddler grief. Simply watch. Because this is the natural order of things. Because this is the jungle.
8. Kick everyone the hell out.
9. Pluck your dazed child from a heap of alphabet blocks. Settle him into his crib for nap time, even as you wonder — Why is he sticky? Why is he missing a clump of hair? And whose tooth is he clutching in his sweaty fist?
10. Pile all of the toys in the backyard. Douse the pile liberally with Lysol. Burn it to the ground.
Hooray! If you followed the above steps, then you just hosted fight club and/or play group! Enjoy having the flu, pink eye, or fleas within the next two days.
Related post: 10 Rules of The Mom Club