Moms Night In Ideas (Give That Mom a Break!)

two women looking at a cell phone

Going out USED to be so much fun. But now that I’ve got the kids and all of our STUFF each week, I don’t feel the same way about it. I want to do something on my night off, if I manage to get some free time.

But does it have to be out? I can’t barely get up the juice to get up off the couch after I’ve made dinner to put on my pajamas, much less get dressed AGAIN to go out of the house.

Turns out, it doesn’t. Moms can have a night to themselves, in rather than out. In this article, we’ll talk about the growing trend of having a fun night in with friends, instead of an expensive, exhausting night out.

The goal is for everyone to have a great time, and who says that it has to be done at a restaurant, car, concert venue, business? And not only will a well planned moms night in be easier all the way around on all the participants, it is likely to be easier on the wallet as well.

three women sitting at a table smiling

Why do moms need a night in?

Moms work really hard. And it can be really hard for us to take some time off from our busy lives and schedules to do anything for ourselves. Yes, we believe in the concept of self care. But we are so bad about making it happen!

Moms nights help moms in so many ways. One…they help moms take a break from their kids/homes.

Two…they help moms work on building vital relationships with other moms that will help them survive their children.

Three…other moms know stuff. When moms get together, we talk about ourselves and our kids. This is a great opportunity to learn about children, parenting, health, fitness, weight gain/loss/maintenance, relationships, and more.

Four…it helps us remember what it was like before we had children, before we were moms, back when we were ourselves. The lines get blurry quickly after the first baby arrives, and it can be a long road back to me if you wait until the kids are flown to try and find yourself.

First, establish the level of readiness.

When you have a moms night in, the first thing you’ll want to do, before sending out invites, is decide how “ready” everyone has to be. It’s not cool to be the mom showing up in full makeup and skinny jeans when everyone else is in yoga pants or flannel pajamas.

Do your sister-mom a favor and let her know the level of dress. Put it in writing so that she doesn’t forget and can check at the last minute, as honestly all of us moms are juggling multiple to-dos and vital items to remember. (I can barely remember their various dates of birth when requested by the nurse)

And if she shows up in skinny jeans and glue on eye lashes anyway, who cares?!?!?

Second, decide on what you want to do!

This is the fun part. There are so many moms’ nights in floating around these days. I have been debating doing one of the following recently (and chatting with other moms too):

  • Clothes Horse Party. In a clothes horse party, everyone digs around their closets for a specific number of items to bring, such as shirts, pants, shoes, accessories, jackets. Then pack them up and bring them to the party. Everyone “shops” around the second hand clothing, and whatever doesn’t get picked up can return to its original owner or get donated to the local used clothing resell shop.
  • Movie Night. I know this doesn’t sound exciting, but it can be a really fun and relaxing evening with friends, throwing in back to the days when we were in college and before we had kids! Show up in really comfy, sitting on the couch clothing. Bring great snacks to share, and drinks of whatever kind everyone is cool with. Watch a terrible movie with lots of tanned abdominals, or watch an amazing movie that moves you all to tears.

A lot of blogs suggest chick flicks or tear jerkers (Love Actually, The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Notebook). I’d rather go with some adventure or something campy. Maybe for some throwbacks, like Indiana Jones, the original Star Wars movies, Goonies, or other classics from the 70s and 80s.

  • Craft Night. You don’t have to be the ultimate Pinterest Mom to host a really awesome craft night. Have everyone bring something to eat and/or drink. Then scour Pinterest ahead of time for a really great craft to do with everyone. Look for something will a full tutorial that you can throw up on your laptop for everyone to see. Shop for the materials ahead of time, and when everyone has arrived, try it out together. You can lead the group…or not. Show them the end product and then watch everyone work their own way to it.
three women standing together smiling
  • Book Exchange. This is similar to the Clothes Horse Night. Have everyone snag some of their favorite books off the shelf at home (or grab some second hand). I think the books should be ones you know, so you could actually “talk book” with the other moms about why the book is great and one you brought to share. Everyone leaves feeling smarter and with some new good reading material.
  • Food Themed Night. There are so many potential food themes for a moms night in. You could do all the cooking yourself, or have everyone bring something consistent with your chosen theme. You could do appetizers, mains, salads, or desserts. You could focus on drinks. You could feature an area of the world (South America, Asia) or you could highlight a specific country (Greece, Mexico, Peru). You could a High Tea or a breakfast buffet. There are so many options to choose from here.
  • Fondue Night. I separate Fondue from Food Themes because it is Fondue. This requires special equipment, if you don’t already have it, and some planning around when and how to serve your meal. You can’t really just do it whenever, or do it all evening, because you need to make sure that the cheese, chocolate, or whatever you are dipping in is still liquid and delicious.
  • Bonfire Night. You won’t be able to do this everywhere, but I think a bonfire out under the stars is a great twist on any of the night in ideas that involve food/drinks that don’t also have a movie, craft, or swap. Sitting in front of a roaring fire, especially if you have the stars overhead, is just so very far away from anything we as moms do in a given day. Just the smell of woodsmoke….that transports me back to a simpler time, and it relaxes me. So long as my toddler isn’t trying to throw herself into it, that is. Roast marshmallows, make s’mores, cook anything else you’ve got that fits on a stick over the fire.
  • Facepainting Night. I know this falls under one of the “learn a skill” type ideas that I’ve generally referenced below. But with the increasing popularity of facepainting, at parties and out in the world, it seems like it would be a skill most of us moms would like to know. What paints are people using? How do they make 4-5 simple faces? We could hire someone to teach us, or just gather what we can off of the internet and practice on each other. Then we could all take turns acting as the face painter at our kids’ birthday parties and other special events.

Pinterest has a wealth pins with Moms Night In ideas, such as:

  • Paint and Sip
  • Planting seeds/potting succulents
  • Wine/mixed drinks
  • Tea parties
  • Swap till you drop (all different kinds of things–appliances, kids clothing, kids toys, house decor, dishes)

  • Friendsgiving
  • Halloween and other holiday themes
  • Game night
  • Work out party (yoga, walk, run, aerobics, kickboxing)
  • Make a photobooth and all of the props
three women sitting in a bathtub
  • Spa (facials, nails, skin care, makeup)
  • Cooking class (learn how to make something awesome)
  • Bingo
  • Bunco
  • Adult color books
  • Make up tutorials (do what you know, or try out some of the more daring trends that you can find on youtube, tik tok or on the ‘gram)

  • Favorite things (bring a specific number of favorite things to swap with other guests)
  • White elephant gift party
  • Karaoke (at home)
  • Hire a pro to learn something cool (craft, physical skill, home repair)
  • Work party (redecorate a room, move the furniture, paint a room, build a garden bed)
  • Quiz/Trivia
  • Decade themed event (90s, 80s, 70s, 60s and so on)–you can do food, clothing, music
  • Pajama party (think of it like a good old fashioned sleep over, even if people aren’t actually staying over)–wear PJs, do hair and makeup, nails and toes, listen to music, tell stories, play Truth or Dare

Third, decide if kids are invited or not

I’ve had some really enjoyable evenings with moms and their kids. I’ve also had some great times without the kiddos in tow.

The whole point of this is for moms to get together, be able to talk and laugh, and enjoy themselves. If the way this happens is to bring the kids, then bring the kids. If not, no one is going to have to get up to separate fighting kids or investigate that suspicious noise.

Consider sending all of the moms to one house, and all the dads and kids to another house, so everyone can get in on the fun.

Just make sure all the other moms are on the same page with it.

Fourth, invite your friends!

You can make up special invitations (if you are fancy and plan stuff in advance like that), use a free invitation service like Evite to make it a little official, or just send out a group text and see who is ready and willing.

If you want to decorate, you can!

If you want to get dressed up, you can!

The other moms won’t judge. They’ll just be happy that someone else did the planning, and all they had to do was to show up with whatever they were told to bring.

Door prizes? If you want!

Games to play to win prizes? If you want!

Just make sure everyone has some sort of role to play, whether it is bringing food, an item for the craft, something to exchange, or a movie to watch. This will reduce the load and expense for the host, and encourage the process of building up your mom community.

I do recommend keeping it as simple as possible, though it is fun to decorate, do prizes, and all the rest. Moms nights should be something done regularly, and if it is more work than a wedding, no one is going to want to take them on.

Consider New Players

This can also be a good time to invite a mom or other woman who you want to bring into your circle, or you just want to get to know better. I can think of a few moms I have met and chatted with briefly around on the playground that I would love to get to know better, as our kids all attend the same school and we’ll be seeing each other for the next 10-15 years at sports events and theater productions.

You might also consider inviting women who aren’t moms in your circle, or have everyone bring a date who isn’t familiar with the group, so that everyone can meet someone new.

While inviting someone new is a risk (she might not jive with the group at all or might even hurt the event), if she is awesome, as you suspect her to be, she might really make the event memorable and wonderful.

I usually just risk inviting the new people, just to see what happens. I hate to leave moms on the outside of the circle looking in, as I have been there myself many a time.

Wrap Up

What’s your favorite moms night in idea? Let us know in the comments section below.

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