Choosing whether to have a family or be a part of a community doesn’t have to be an either-or-choice. I must admit, for the first 10 years of living in Hoboken, I never understood why it was so difficult to make plans with a parent. But that all immediately changed when I finally became a parent almost two years ago.
Parents, we want and need you in Dinner Group with us! You have unique perspectives and wisdom to bring to the group that the rest of us need to hear. We know that figuring out childcare can be a roadblock to getting involved, so here are five ways other parents have discovered to make Dinner Group work.
1 – Pay for childcare
I’ll wait for you to stop laughing. Listen, we want to give you every option, and for some families, this is an investment they choose to make. We might be biased, but we think it’s definitely worth it. Consider all the other places you choose to spend your money and if you need to, cut back on things like a $100+ cable package, or decide to eat just two fewer dinners out.
2 – Join a Sunday afternoon group
This fall we are having what we call a Large Group Gathering which is made up of 12 smaller Dinner Groups meeting at the Sunday gathering location on 3rd and Garden. The big bonus of the Sunday afternoon session is that we have FREE, yes F R E E, childcare available!
We have all group types available during these afternoon sessions. It’s a great way to meet others and experience a Dinner Group.
To join a Sunday Dinner Group click here.
3 – Join an online group
Technology can really be a wonderful thing. Online Groups have been a growing segment of Dinner Groups at Hoboken Grace. Online groups work by members all jumping on the same video conference call.
It’s very convenient for those who live outside of Hoboken, travel for work often, but also for parents who can’t find childcare because you can attend group from your home each week.
Listen to what one online dinner group member, Ana R., had to say about her group. “[The online dinner group] is the highlight of my week. The women is my group are amazing and I’m blessed to have them in my life! Thank you for the online dinner group set up.”
To see our available online groups, click here.
4 – Attend a men’s and women’s group
Decide as a couple to go to a men’s and women’s group. It works two ways: attend different nights, or one of you can choose to host your group at your place every week while the other goes out. If you attend different nights the spouse that stays home gets the added bonus of a little “me” time while the other is at dinner group!
As a parent, this is my favorite option because it allows my wife and I to expand our circles past those who are married couples. We just enjoy getting our guy and girl time, which becomes harder to come by as a parent. Also, this is the method we witness being most successful for parents as it allows them to be more consistent.
5 – Start your own group and host it at your apartment.
Ok, I lied, this is my FAVORITE option. The beauty of starting your own Dinner Group is you can control where it’s hosted each week. Last year my wife and I led a married couples group at our apartment while our child slept in the other room. It worked out surprisingly well.
We love to start groups at Hoboken Grace because it creates more space for people to belong. This fall we’ve made starting a group as simple as possible. You just need to have these 4 things:
H – Have a heart for people.
O – Organize a place to meet (Done! Meet at your place each week).
S – Serve some food (I’m sure you have some Goldfish and Cheerios laying around).
T – Turn on the video.
If this sounds like something you would interest you’d I’d love to set up a time to chat so that you could hear more about how we support, prepare, and encourage our Dinner Group Hosts. Email me at email@example.com
6 – Join a group where the children can come
We do have a few groups where you can bring your children along with you, but I’ll warn you they tend to fill up really fast, so jump in quick. Each group that allows children does childcare a bit differently. Some will hire a babysitter that everyone chips in for, some take turns watching the children, and some rotate how they meet. After you sign up for the group the dinner group leader will let you know how they handle child care inside their group.
To sign up for a group with childcare, click here.