(Pay attention to yourself at least as often as you pay attention to your utility bills.)
This one is mandatory! You cannot let Chick Night get lost in the shuffle of your life. It must take place at least once a month. I cannot stress the importance of this point strongly enough. Start off gently. Arrange for one evening a month that is just for you. Don’t talk yourself out of doing it. Start putting yourself first. If you don’t … who will?!
The logic behind planning your Chick Night schedule is twofold.
First, these Chick Nights are meant to help you rediscover how critical time for yourself really is. If Chick Night happens only sporadically, or (even worse) as a one-shot deal, you will never reap the emotional and psychological (that’s shop talk for morale) benefits of Chick Night.
The second (more practical) reason for booking Chick Night well in advance is that women do have busy schedules. Trying to coordinate with three or more women is often easier said than done. Our chapter has opted for Saturday night Chick Night. However, your group should not limit yourselves to this one particular night of the week. There is no special significance to Saturday. It simply works best for us.
When you and two or three or more of your girlfriends have formed your very own chapter of Chick Night, I highly recommend that you choose a logistical coordinator. She will call or e-mail all members ahead of time to book future Chick Nights well in advance.
In our case, I am logistical coordinator. I take my role seriously. I have been known to organize the date and time of next month’s meeting while we were on our way home from this month’s Chick Night. The few times I wasn’t nearly this quick on the draw, my fellow Chicks have cheerfully picked up the slack.
Once your group has engaged in several successful Chick Nights, it will become easier to set aside the time. However, in the event that an entire calendar month seems to be slipping away without the possibility of snagging even one evening that works for everyone in your group …
you can use this little-known provision in the Hanmer chapter of Chick Night regulations Section D, Subsection 3A, which clearly states the following:
All authorized chapters of Chick Night have the right to reassign, reposition, or recategorize specific calendar dates for the purpose of celebrating Chick Night.
In other words, ladies, don’t let something as simple as the arrival of a new calendar month interfere with your Chick Night fun. Simply exercise your creative thinking and turn April 3 into March 34.
Laugh if you want (and I encourage you to laugh as often as you can!), but this scenario also provides a wonderful opportunity for you to create a new habit: doing something you would like to do.
Contrary to popular misconception, going out for Chick Night once a month is not a selfish or rebellious act. It is simply about putting yourself back on the list and offering yourself the same consideration you offer everyone else.
How often do you make every possible effort to be flexible and accommodating with your schedule so that someone else can do what he or she wants? I’m talking about rearranging your schedule so you can handle a client’s last-minute request or run an errand for a friend or family member or drive your kids to [fill in one of the three most frequent Mom’s Taxi’s destinations]. I am also referring to times when you have made alternative arrangements to get to work or wherever you needed to go so someone else could use your vehicle.
Do you consider it selfish for someone to ask you for a ride? Is asking to borrow your car a selfish thing for a family member to do? If you don’t consider these selfish requests, then on some level you must acknowledge that doing them for people is an act of thoughtfulness on your part.
Isn’t it about time you showed yourself the same thoughtfulness?
Instead of automatically accepting that getting together with friends “isn’t going to work this month,” figure out a way that it will. Then make plans to go out.
I’ve been doing all the talking about Rule #2. If you still aren’t quite convinced that you deserve Chick Night on a regular monthly basis, I will let my two cofounders have a whirl.
What Chick Night™ Means to Me
by Collette Caza
Chick time allows me the opportunity to be completely real. In doing so, I have made a remarkable discovery. When I take time to hang around with vibrant, alive women who are not afraid to be themselves, I am able to feel free to be me. The process works pretty much like osmosis.
As I share laughter and tears, Chick Night brings me closer to my friends. I know that through Chick time, I have found two bosom (pun intended) buddies. What surprised me is that I also found another one. I found the “me” that was hidden deep down inside, buried beneath a mountain of dirty laundry, expectations, demands on my time.
I also found out that I can belong to an elite group of individuals — none of whom I married or gave birth to. I can like who I am. I can be open and vulnerable in the company of other women.
Time and time again, I discover that the problems, worries, and concerns I am facing are also being faced by my Chick friends.
I have discovered that when you start to like who you are, it becomes easier to love others. After a night out with the Chicks,
I come back a better person. Not only do I get the benefits, but so does my family.
So, for all you men out there … hey, what are you doing reading this book? (Just kidding.) For all you men out there, encourage your wife or girlfriend to have her own Chick time at least once a month. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
Now it’s Bonnie’s turn:
What Chick Night™ Means to Me
by Bonnie Paquette
Chick Night is one of those special things in my life that I didn’t plan for, but now that it is part of my life, I wonder how I ever managed without it! I was introduced to Chick Night at a time when I really needed something just for me. I was a single mom and working full time. Special time set aside for me hardly existed. No, that’s a lie. Special time for me did not exist. On those extremely rare occasions when I actually had time for myself, I didn’t go anywhere. All of my extended family lives out of town. Most of my friends were married. I didn’t want to take precious time away from them (and their families), especially on weekends. Saturday nights were typically spent doing my ironing while watching a movie on TV.
Then one day, out of the blue seemed at the time), the first Chick Night was hatched. Before I knew it, Chick Night was a monthly Saturday routine. It gave me something to look forward to. It gave me a special outing. It got the house. It became a gift I gave to myself.
Guess what?! My ironing still manages to get done!
Let me just add a small tip: nothing you own that can be thrown into your dryer (along with a clean, damp washcloth) for five minutes ever needs to get ironed again. Ironing, shmironing!
Women never seem to forget the jobs still waiting for them on the home front. I’m really hoping that this book will help you start remembering to put yourself ahead of errands, floors, dishes, and ironing.
Countdown to Chick Night™:
26 More Sleeps … 25 … 24 … 23 …
You have now heard why having Chick Night once a month is important to Collette and Bonnie. The best way I can explain its importance to me is by telling you about the incident that taught me this lesson.
It happened more than a dozen years ago. It didn’t seem very funny at the time, but I laugh about it now. In fact, it’s become one of my favourite stories highlighting the trials and tribulations of raising my son. By the way, if you do not yet have children, don’t worry. No child of yours will ever do anything like this.
Footprints in the Sanding
Any woman who has been a mother for more than ten days has a story to tell. We have all experienced moments when, despite our very real love for our child, we have wondered, “What the heck was I thinking?” when we decided to start a family. The older your children get, the longer your list of stories will be.
Of all my possible examples of a time when Chick Night came to my rescue, this one stands out from the others. It beats the fact that my son, Braedon, started walking at ten months and running a mere one week later. (Ask my mother—she is my witness!) It tops the time he rode his three-wheel motorcycle right off the top landing, sailed straight out over five stairs, and collided with the front door (at five feet off the ground). It even outranks the time he discovered that jumping out his bedroom window (a nine-foot drop) was a much more efficient route to the backyard than walking all the way around the outside of the house.
Each of these events occurred before my son was four years old. Are you starting to get a picture of my life back then?
Fast-forward six years to a crisp fall afternoon when Braedon was ten years old. The previous weekend had been spent installing a tongue-and-groove pine floor in the master bedroom. I was now finishing the sanding and applying three coats of industrial-grade polyurethane.
All went well until I applied the second coat.
Fumes from the polyurethane I was using are extremely strong. I was purposely taking a nice long walk between coats to clear my head and allow most of the fumes to escape through the open bedroom window.
Unfortunately, while I was gone, my son arrived home from school. We had a policy that, in the event that Mommy wasn’t home and the front door was locked, he was to go across the street to my friend and neighbour Jan’s house and wait there.
I will never figure out why, on this of all days, he decided not to go to Jan’s house. Instead, he went around to the back of our shed, grabbed a ten-foot ladder, leaned it up against the back of the house, and crawled through the only window that was open.
Yes, my darling child jumped through the master bedroom window and proceeded to walk across that freshly polyurethaned floor wearing his winter boots. He was within two feet of the doorway when he suddenly realized what he was doing. He panicked, turned around, and walked all the way back to the window. He was climbing back outside when I arrived.
I don’t need to describe the condition of the floor between the window and the doorway. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you my emotional response to it, either. Let’s just say that my son and I will always be grateful for the ten feet of floor that separated us at that exact moment.
They say timing is everything. Sometimes timing can work against you (in the case of my walk during my son’s arrival home from school).
Sometimes timing can be absolutely perfect. In this case, Tammy, my fun and frivolity mentor, had perfect timing. She called just as I was inhaling that huge lungful of oxygen necessary to start blasting away at a child who is about to get seriously told off. Braedon climbed down the ladder into our backyard as I began to tell Tammy what he had just done. Not having any children of her own, but certainly in possession of a brain, Tammy immediately comprehended the seriousness of the situation. Within ten minutes, she had arrived at my door with enough chocolate to impress a 911 paramedic.
Tammy filled my bathtub with bubble bath and hot water, handed me all that chocolate, shoved me into the bathroom, and shut the door.
I spent the next thirty minutes soaking, munching, and calming down while Tammy helped my son do his homework at the kitchen table.
When I look back on this incident, I always marvel that this episode had anything even remotely resembling a happy ending. Without Tammy’s quick thinking and equally quick arrival, that evening would have been an unhappy few hours. I would have been feeling angry and frustrated, and Braedon would have been banished to his bedroom and told to “think about what you’ve done.” The only reason it ended on a sweet note is because of the timely intervention of a Chick.
I can’t promise you that your Chick Night network of friends will always have the kind of radar antennae that Tammy proved to have that fateful day. However, I can assure you that knowing you can count on adult female companionship at least one evening a month will go a long way toward helping you cope with the many challenges that like to pop up in life.
When you have Chick Night to look forward to, it can be your light at the end of a long and trying month. It can help you maintain your balance, keep your perspective, and hold on to your sanity during times when you’re actually afraid to wonder what else could go wrong.
Re: “Footprints in the Sanding”: My son is much older and slightly less impetuous now, plus he doesn’t know where you live, so you should be okay. However, if you ever encounter a similar situation, here’s what to do: Lightly sand the affected area. Mix two parts polyurethane with one part mineral spirits. Use this mixture on the affected area only. Allow to dry overnight. The next day, resume applying fresh coats of polyurethane (as if nothing happened) to the entire floor.
The Observations of an Offspring
It has been more than a decade since that incident with the floor.
I can laugh about it now. In fact, Braedon and I use it as our favourite example of how Chick Night can come to the rescue of even the most impetuous of offspring. Over the years, I’ve watched my son grow up into a really terrific young man. He’s funny, outgoing, caring, compassionate … and very observant. I asked Braedon to talk about Chick Night from his perspective as the son of a Chick.
How Chick Night™ Has Benefitted My Mom
by Braedon Kleven
My mom has been doing Chick Night since I was a kid. First it was with Tammy, and then when Tammy moved away, my mom started getting together with Bonnie and Collette. Chick Night has been a social network builder and a friendship builder for my mom because it’s a guaranteed once-a-month thing. I know it means a lot to her because when Chick Night comes up in conversation, her eyes light up and true excitement rises from within her.
All other plans and tickets to shows can be cancelled or missed out on, but not Chick Night. It is one of the biggest events of the month, and for good reason. In ten years, I have never heard her say, “Chick Night sucked tonight,” because if they saw a crappy movie at least they got to see it together.
My mom is happier because of Chick Night. I think the number one reason for that is because she has people she can confide in other than family members. Sometimes family isn’t as objective as your close friends.
Having a Chick Night with Collette and Bonnie means that she will have hours of heart-to-heart conversations about everything. These are guaranteed, intense sessions of bonding that my mom looks forward to. I think she feels freer now because she has these ladies who she can talk to about anything. I know that the confidentiality between them is strong and important.
Whatever they talk about never leaves the group. How could you stay close friends for ten years if you had a backstabber in the group? Think about it.
These women are so good to each other. They talk about their feelings, they laugh, they cry, they vent, and it all helps.
Instead of a book-smart thing, it’s based on having lived life and understanding what the other woman is going through.
Chick Night is like a psychiatrist session—with chocolate.
The Voice of Experience
Just to prove that Bonnie, Collette, and I are not the only women in the world who think you deserve Chick Night, I would like to give you the opportunity to hear from Bonnie’s mother, Betty. When Bonnie told her mom that I was writing a book about our shared experiences, she sat down and wrote me a lovely letter explaining how she and a group of her friends were handling retirement.
The RODEO (Retired Old Dames Eating Out) Gals
by Betty Blair Smith
We began our group with four retired teachers who had all taught special-needs children (those with mental, physical, and emotional challenges). As teachers, we had supported one another by sharing our problems and our successes. Over the years, we had shared a few tears and many smiles. We were confidantes for each other. When retired, we missed that close relationship.
After several years of retirement, we decided it was time to get together again. Our friend knew about the ROMEO Boys (Retired Old Men Eating Out), and she thought we should be the RODEO Gals. We all agreed.
It is amazing how busy four retired ladies had become! Like most retirees, our days were filled with appointments, volunteer work, church work, housework, social events, and (of course) grandchildren. Sometimes we wonder how we ever had time to work!
After many phone calls, a time and place was finally arranged. We met for lunch and conversation. The conversation was the most important part. When you put four retired teachers together, there is always lots of conversation! We have memories to share and important news to catch up on. My husband always asked, “What do you find to talk about?” We just never run out of conversation.
We have so many laughs. Our time together lifts our spirits. Each time we meet, we set the date for the next luncheon, which is usually every other month. As we are growing older, it becomes more difficult. One of us has had a hip replacement, another has had eye surgery.
Our initial group has grown. When Dorothy retired two years ago, she joined the RODEO Gals. She had worked with us for many years and has become a genuine member of our little group.
It is so important to touch base with each other. We need the time together. After so many years of friendship, we know we are in “safe” company. Our confidences will be always be respected.
There really are “no friends like old friends.” Old friends know your faults and still care about you. They are true friends and precious treasures.
I salute these ladies for creating their own version of Chick Night.
It works for them—and that works for me! Congratulations, ladies.
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