August 1997

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Events, Commitment, and CMC

By Beth Weiss, Copyright 1997

 I find myself perplexed today.  The turnouts at several recent social events have been very low, and I don’t know why, and I don’t know how that should affect future plans.  And it confuses me, because those social events are the very thing that made me feel I belonged to CMC.

One of the first CMC events I attended was a Project Night.  I’d only been to one General Meeting, and wasn’t in a playgroup, and so didn’t know many people. I was warmly welcomed by the eight or so women there, and enjoyed the great conversation, as well as the progress I made on my photoalbums.  There were several of us trying to make headway on the boxes of pictures that we all collect, and others doing various needlecraft projects.  Being somewhat feeble-fingered, I viewed those with awe!

That Project Night was what made me feel that I could fit into this group; it was the event that let me get to know some of the women so that I felt comfortable going to the hayride field trip and the Halloween Party later that month.  By the time I attended my second Project Night, I was starting to feel a part of the group, not just a “new member”.

It was December before our schedule permitted us to attend a Game Night for the monthly Couple’s Night Out.  We’d missed two that had been marked on the calendar; out of town weekend trips had interfered.  We had a great time: the games were fun, the company was funny, the food was tasty.  My husband isn’t usually comfortable when he first meets people, but he felt at ease right away, and told me later that the other husbands were “good guys”: high praise indeed.

So, as you can all imagine, I eagerly looked forward to actually hosting a CMC evening event, and volunteered to host Project Night one Thursday last spring.  I admit it: I wanted to show off my house, I wanted to bake something irresistibly tasty, I wanted a fun and pleasant gathering.  But to my distress, there were only two of us.  We had great conversation, although I didn’t get much done.  The truth is, my feelings were hurt.  I know how schedules can get; mine gets too full too, but it made me worry that people didn’t want to come to my house.

And that seems to be the way the last few Project Nights and Couples Nights Out have gone: one or two women, or one or two couples getting together.  Is the interest in those events waning?  Should we stop scheduling them?  Or is there something else we should do to revive interest?

I have trouble believing that we're the only couple who want to get to know other couples “like us”.  We can’t be the only parents who really need an occasional night out, and really like to make conversation or play Taboo with a few other couples.  And we can’t be the only couple who appreciates that Game Night is a cheap date: just the cost of the sitter, or that the chosen restaurants generally have Entertainment Book discounts available.

I can’t be the only woman in CMC who likes to get out of the house one night a month and hang out with other women—other moms.  And if I’m the only one with a box of neglected photos needing attention, well, I’ll eat the box!

But here’s the rub: I also can’t be the only one who is reluctant to attend an event if I don’t know someone else there.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who says to herself: “I don’t know the hostess; I feel weird about going; I haven’t even met her.”  Although when we’ve gone anyway, it’s been great fun.  I know that the first few events I attended that it really helped to have someone say “Do you want to go?  I’ll pick you up.”

So I don’t think there’s a lack of interest or need in evening social events, either for couples or moms.  I think there’s a reluctance to get started, a concern about not knowing anyone, or worse, not remembering someone’s name, especially if they remember yours.

Even as President of CMC, there are lots of you I haven’t met yet—and I want to.  And there are some of you I’ve met whose names I’ve probably forgotten.  That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about our September program.  We intentionally didn’t schedule a speaker, but we have scheduled some ice-breaker activities, to help us meet people beyond our playgroups—as well as have a great time.  And since we’ll all be wearing nametags, you won’t have to worry about whether you remember everyone’s names!

So, put the September meeting on your calendar as an unbreakable commitment.  And if you have a friend who might be interested in CMC, bring her along.  We all have so much in common—and our September Get Acquainted meeting will help us all remember that!

Best wishes,

Beth

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