Thursday, May 28, 2009
Are you following your spouse to Paris for a three year expat gig?
Wondering how on earth you're going to make new female French friends to have long sisterly chats with? Someone who will tell you the ins and outs of living in Paris? Share their secrets with you and become your best friend?
Ha! It's never going to happen with a French woman, so don't even waste your time. Just join an expat playgroup to meet women. And to that end, here are a few tips from La Mom to make your playgroup integration a success!
Rule #1: DRINK CHAMPAGNE
The most successful playdates I've ever hosted and attended are the ones where the champagne is flowing before noon (accompanied by a colorful plate of fresh fruit and macarons from Ladurée.) Champagne somehow gets the moms in a great mood and we all agree that the kids play better once we've had a glass or two!
Most of the time.
You see, the new expat arrivals are a bit shocked at this little custom. It's not taboo in France to have a glass mid-day. Embrace it and don't roll your eyes when the hostess brings out the bubbly! After all, when you move back to wherever you came from, won't it be fun to say that you attended playdates in Paris where all the moms sat around drinking champagne?
What's the worst thing that can happen? You walk home with your stroller a bit tipsy and step in dog crotte?
Rule #2: NO SHOES!
Remove your shoes and those of your children as soon as you step into an apartment. No exceptions!
Have you seen the streets in this city? It's a horror show! Some of the moms in my neighborhood have even begun issuing Sidewalk Security Advisory Alerts the night before they host a playgroup so the guests know whether to expect a clear path or not to the hostess's apartment. Dodging doggy bombs with the stoller can be very diffucult. Either the mom or the stroller ends up with a little brownie on 'em.
So save yourself the embarassment of being the new playgroup mom who shows up with dirty shoes and remove them toute de suite as you enter the apartment.
Rule #3: MATCH YOUR SOCKS
Make a heroic effort to wear nice socks. Nothing clears a group of moms chatting in the salon faster than having to talk to one who's got her big toe sticking out of the nasty hole in her mismatched socks.
Rule #4: JUST SAY NON TO THE ANTI-SUGAR JIHAD
Freshly baked mini croissants, pain au raisin, and pain au chocolat are the snacks of choice for Paris playgroup toddlers. Lighten up and let yours happily devour one instead of whispering to other moms, "Why do La Mom & Miami Mom give our kids this stuff? Don't they know that toddlers + sugar = trouble?"
We know, but hey, it's playgroup. It's fun, it's once a week for 2 hours, it's no big deal.