Let’s face it: we’re all super busy. Too busy to get to the gym. Too busy to have a date night. Too busy to even fit in a shower some days. So no matter how much you may crave adult discussion, or new stimulation, or time to ruminate on ideas, you may feel like you simply do not have the time.
I'm part of a book club that meets every two months or so, and I really like the chance to discuss literature, and the inevitable transition into others topics, over tea and treats. It's hard, though, to read novels like I used to. First of all, when I get a moment to myself that would be suitable for reading, I probably have a list of other things to accomplish: shower, dishes, get dinner ready, or sit and stare at the wall while holding in sneezes so as not to disturb the baby. Chances to read a page or a chapter are sometimes so rare that I get completely taken out of the story and forget where I left off or important plot points. I love reading so I will continue to find ways to reincorporate it into my life, but I totally understand if you think a book club would be impossible for you right now. If you want the discussion of a book club without the struggle of reading a novel, why not try starting an article club?
What is it? It's the same general idea as a book club, but the required reading is much less time consuming. Choose between one and three magazine or newspaper articles (or blog posts) on a subject to read and discuss as a group. It's a great choice for time strapped parents looking for a social event to host. You can choose parenting articles if you're incorporating it into weekly play dates, or you can choose other topics of interest if your group is more diverse.
Here are some tips to starting an article club of your own.
- If you can, find two articles that take opposite stances on an issue so that everyone comes to the discussion knowing what both sides are saying.
- Pick a timeline. Are you going to meet once every month or quarterly? Articles may not take as long to read as books but getting together can require lots of scheduling mastery.
- Set some guidelines. Does everyone have to have read the article in advance or can people who didn't have time attend without shame?
- Make it clear that discussions must be respectful. No matter the topic, there are bound to be opposing views, so keep the debates light.
- If you're hosting, consider hiring a baby sitter to tend to everybody's children in your basement play area or den. Parents get to bring their kids along, saving money and anxiety, but don't have distractions during grown up discussion time.
If you choose the parenting theme, here are some article suggestions to get you started:
(October, 2014) The New York Times: A Cure for Hyper-Parenting - Pamela Druckerman
(August, 2014) Philly.com: Siri, Can you Make Me a Better Parent? - Jane Scott
(October, 2013) Forbes: The 5 Most Important Money Lessons to Teach Your Kids - Laura Shin