I think you all know that I love my Autism support group. I look forward to seeing my very special moms every month. We talk about our challenges, we share our successes, sometimes we cry together, but most of the time, we just laugh a lot. After seven years of getting to know one another, I think we just “get” each other. When the children were younger, we used to meet every month, sometimes twice a month – one is a Family Social and the other is Moms’ Day Out. Dads need support too and we love it when they come out with us to help us with the kids, but the funny thing is - the Dads don’t really talk to each other. I can’t speak for all of us, but we joke about us Moms being the social butterflies in our families and the Men just need some nudging.
The Ladies and I have been trying to find something in common for the Dads to bond over – we talked about playing poker or watching football. After a year of still talking about it, we finally put it on the calendar. Of course, we had some concerns and this is how we accommodated them all. Here's how to throw a Football Social...
- Will we have a place large enough to accommodate everyone? This will depend on who is hosting. One of the Moms was gracious enough to host it in her large home. She had two living rooms (one for the Dads and one for the Moms) and a decent sized backyard which fit an inflatable bounce house, three long tables with chairs, and still had room for more. We capped it at 12 families with a wait list.
- Will there be enough food? Our potlucks are the BEST! Everyone usually brings a favorite dish to share. We have lots of varieties, GFCF options, and it takes the pressure off the Hosts.
- Which Game will be on? We were a bit nervous at first because one of the Dads asked which game would be on (there were three games playing at the same time). How do they decide which game to put on? They don’t even know each other that well. Luckily, the host said, “All of them because we have three TV’s". On Game Day, someone figured out how to split the large TV screen to have all of them on at the same time – AWESOME!
- Will the Dads hit it off? When you have a room full of men who are antisocial (some meeting for the first time), the worse that could happen is they rush us Moms to leave early after a couple of hours with a look or a head nod toward the door. In this case, most of them already enjoy watching Football. We checked in on them often – they looked comfortable, we heard conversations, some took naps on the couch, and we were there longer than 2 hours together! LOL
- Will the kids be entertained? The great Hostess really wanted the Moms to relax (what's that?) so she rented a party package from Jumper Lina that came with an inflatable, tables and chairs at a really affordable price. The kids loved it!! We were just happy they were burning off energy (this also meant they will sleep well that night).
What a great event! The Dads talked to each other. It didn’t matter if they had silent moments or if someone fell asleep during the game. Hey it happens and it meant they are comfortable. None of the Dads rushed us to leave after two hours, they grabbed their own food during half time, and when we checked up on them, we heard them talk about random things. My family was the last to leave when we’re usually one of the first ones. We all thought it was really important for the Dads to bond which means more support and more time together with these lovely families in the future - the Moms just want to be together. When you want the Dads to bond, throw a Football Social!