I had SMOYC night last night.
I know what you’re thinking.
What the hell is SMOYC????
SMOYC is short for Spend Money On Yourself Club. A big group of girls get together every month. 12 of us each bring $40 each time and the money goes into a pot. A name is drawn and that person wins the money for that month. We do that each month. You only win once/year. And the rule is, you MUST spend that money on yourself. Not your bills, not your husband, not your kids – YOU. Once a year, you can blow over $400 on whatever YOU want.
Then once you have won, you host the following month’s party. You decide the theme, location, everything. Everyone brings food, or contributes to food in some way, except you, cause you are hosting. And, you take a bit of money from what you had won, and buy “favours” for the rest of the girls.
So, here are some examples.
One night we went to the casino in Clinton, because that is what the host wanted to do…she gave the “favour money” back to us (about $7 each) to spend there.
Another night, we all went mini golfing. Another night we went to Kelsey’s and then a movie in Stratford. One night we all went out for supper to one of the fancier restaurants in town. Another time, we went toboganning. 12 or so grown women, whooping it up on the Maitland Golf Club Hill. But a lot of times we just hang out at the host’s house. Like last night. Sometimes we all pitch in for chinese food, a lot of times it’s just potluck. I brought cheesecake last night, and have decided they will be my guinea pigs; each month I will bring a different one and they will tell me what they think…there were no complaints to that idea.
The first time I won I spent the money on laminate flooring for my living room. Maybe it wasn’t JUST for me…but it was something I had REALLY wanted, for a long time. I hosted a video scavenger hunt party. Each group had a list of tasks to complete throughout the town, had had to videorecord themselves doing it. One girl fell out of a tree. Ooops…not a part of my plan. The next time I bought a wooden screen door for my front porch, something I have ALWAYS wanted, and I got my hair highlighted and got some other little stuff for myself. I had just had my son a couple months beforehand and so my party was held on a Sunday afternoon, and everyone brought fixings for Ice Cream Sundaes…get it…Sunday/sundae?? As favours I handed out ice cream scoops, bowls, and GCs to a local ice cream shoppe. The last time I won, I took the money with me on a shopping trip to Pennsylvania. It was put to good use! When it came time to host my party, my son was ill, so we had the party at another girl’s house. I handed out tiny heart shaped baking pans with chocolates.
As fun as that all sounds, that’s not the point of Smoyc. The idea, is to get 12 or more women out with our friends, once a month. It’s a time to hang out, in our pajamas or all dressed up. It’s a time to eat our faces off without feeling guilty about it and drink a bit too. It’s our time to catch up with eachother, to vent, to cry, to lean on eachother and, most of all, to laugh. Laugh and laugh and laugh. This has been going on for at least 5 years, maybe more, and I have been a part of it for the last 3.
The 12 of us are all moms. One of us is even a grandma. Some of us are married, some are not. Our kids range in age from 0-18. And then we have other good friends that join us from time to time too, that don’t go in on the money part, just come for the night out. It’s rare that we can all make it out every time, and that’s okay. There’s no pressure. The majority of us live in Goderich, or did at one point. A few live in neighbouring towns now but still come out once a month. And then, like last night, we all travel to their town, when they are the host.
But the real benefit of being a part of thi group? We have seen eachother through pregnancies and births…(a lot of them). We have seen eachother through colicky babies, babies that don’t sleep, post partum issues, through the unexpected that comes with becoming a parent. The realities that are very different than what we expected.
We have supported eachother when it comes to infertilityand infidelity. We have seen eachother through weddings, and through break ups. We have supported eachother through serious illnesses, through hospital stays and scares. Through deaths and near deaths. We have supported eachother when it comes to bratty kids, to sick kids, to bullied kids, to kids having kids. We have helped eachother move, and we have helped eachother move on. We swap baby clothes back and forth so much we forget who belongs to what. We swap our own clothes. We swap recipes, We swap kids. Between the 12 of us there are 22 kids and 1 grandchild right now, and we treat each one like our own.
This group of 12 girls, for better or worse, count on eachother. We know that when push really comes to shove, we know we have at least 12 girls ready to act. Ready to do what needs to be done and help wherever and whenever they can. 12 strong women standing behind us, ready to walk beside us no matter what we’re walking into or out of.
Of course as anyone knows a group of at least 12 women produces a lot of hormones. And with that comes a lot of things. There are arguments, there are differences of opinion, there are differences in how we view life. Some of us are pro choice, some are not. Some of us have more of a religious outlook on life than others. Some of us raise our kids differently than others. Some of us view the school system differently than others. Some of us are older, some of us are younger. Some of us grew up in Goderich, some of us did not. Some of us had great childhoods, some did not. All things we have come to know about eachother over the years. There are groups within groups, and this one is no different. Some of us are closer than others, to different people. Some of us spend a lot more time together and know much more about eachother, than others do.
But all of us, care about eachother. All of us don’t know where we’d be without eachother. All of us, depend on eachother. All of us, look forward to that time, once a month where we can hang out with the girls, play 20 questions, or 2 truths and a lie, or “whose baby is that?” or even… just maybe…trivial pursuit……and leave the rest of it behind, if only for a few hours. All of us feel re energized after Smoyc night, and we have always, always, always, learned something new. About eachother, about how the world works, about life.
There are 2, almost 3, nurses in our group. There are 2 girls that work in social services, and 4 that work in the childcare field. Some within their own homes, some outside the home. We have a restaurant manager, a government worker, and a 2 that have great positions at their local rec centres. We all come to the table from different backrounds, and with different outlooks on life. 4 of these girls are sisters or sisters in law to eachother. Some of us have eachother listed as emergency contacts for our kids. Some of us have been best friends forever, some of us are new.
But all of us, one way or another, are family.
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