Is there currently a St. Greg’s Pocket in your area? (Have you checked the list?)
Maybe you already have a good group of friends. The type of friends who are connected to each other by locality, by shared interest… most importantly, by shared goals in life and the willingness to look out for each other?
I needed this kind of group when I was single and I needed it when I was a bride. I need it even more now that I have kids. We all need people to rely on, no matter our place in life!
I have been so blessed with the group of families I’ve been making contact with here in Manchester, since we moved here last Fall! My Pocket has been such a blessing for me, for my husband, and for the kids.
At first, since I was new in town, I didn’t jump right on top of making a St. Greg’s Pocket. I thought maybe there was already a moms’ group, and I did have a few friends here already who welcomed us and connected us with some other like-minded folks.
But after some time, and especially in the midst of a very long winter, I decided that even with the lovely communities already in place here, perhaps there might also be a use for a Pocket — something that could bridge the lines of our Catholic parishes and include other Christian ladies as well. So I went ahead and formed the Facebook group and got it started. I emailed a few people I was close to and explained it to them and asked them to spread the word – and they did! (I know – I’m really lucky.)
Five months after “officially” kicking off, we have 45 members in the group. Now, we haven’t all met (yet) and no one get-together has included more than about 12 ladies. Not everyone is equally interested. But hey – there are a few dozen people I am in touch with that way, and that means a lot to me! There is a little core of us who have been enjoying getting together frequently and getting to know each other. At the very least, we’ve been helping each other get out of the house!
1. State a time and place. If everyone posts on the Pocket Facebook page to say “would anyone like to meet at the pool?” or “I’d like to meet you all!” everyone else will just smile at their screens and state their agreement… and nothing will happen. Instead, just throw an event on there and say you’ll be there and ask others to be there too.
Especially if you can do this on a consistent basis (for us it’s been Wednesday mornings for the most part), you will make it easier for others to join. We all find ourselves saying, “oh, I wasn’t ready this week – but I could make it next week,” right? (Of course if you’ve just picked a day that doesn’t work for the other Pocket members, then you need to adjust that.)
2. Include food. For our first get-together, which I hosted, I asked ladies to bring a treat to share. I prepped a few things and some tea and everyone generously contributed and suddenly there was an abundance of food! Honestly, it just made it more fun. Food is fun. It’s easier to connect over food.
The next time around, I said to bring something to share “if so inclined,” and tried to dial it back a little. Those who were able brought something, and those who didn’t have the time didn’t, and it all worked out such that there was still plenty – a little something for the ladies, a little something for the kids…
Sometimes there were just a few of us, so we just munched on a very simple snack and had tea. We didn’t need to get fancy, we just needed to extend some graciousness to each other to help break the ice.
3. If possible, meet outside. I loved having ladies over to The Chesternest for a weekly visit, but there are only so many people my apartment can fit and only so much corralling of littles that we could manage while also enjoying ourselves. It wasn’t the best environment for the bigger families in the group, either.
Once we were able to get out of doors, things really started to take off. Meeting at the park and the playground – where kids can mind their own business and get energy out and there’s less social pressure, as it’s neutral turf – has been awesome. And even if the day doesn’t work out for everyone’s schedule and it turns out to be just a small group or just a couple ladies or even just you… well, it’s the playground, so you can still enjoy the swings!
For our playground meet-ups, we haven’t been doing the food-sharing. We just pack our own kids snacks and arrive and depart on a more relaxed basis.
We’ve been able to get meals to each other when they were needed, share prayer requests, give tips on where to take the kids for day trips, and more.
I already have ideas for when the weather cools down again and we need to retreat indoors. Now that many of us have been able to meet and we’ve gotten a little established as a group, I look forward to doing some reading and discussing with these friends. These things take time…
Has it been scary to start a St. Greg’s Pocket? In my case, no – but I know I’ve had it easy. I did enter a lovely community of ladies; the Pocket has just been a new way to get those ladies together. And I know that I’m the type of personality that thrives on getting people together and organizing events, etc.
If this does not suit your personality or if you are looking at a very dull landscape in terms of like-minded souls in your area, then you may have more challenges ahead.
Still, I think you should go for it – if you haven’t already – because I think it’ll be worth it. And you should keep at it if you’ve already gotten a start!
Another few thoughts:
Maybe you already have your circle of friends and you’re feeling all set. Even so, would you consider getting those friends together to formulate into a Pocket that can be posted here and made searchable to other readers? There might be a neighbor – someone who is in your vicinity and is like-minded – who doesn’t know that you’re there and really does need you.
Also, for you more experienced moms: please know that young moms and young women without kids want to meet you and be with your families! Those of us who are starting out family life need to be around those of you who are further down the road, and it can be hard to break into your sphere sometimes. We want to learn by your example and have our little kids mingle with your bigger kids… we need your collective memory! There is no age limit – high or low – for Pocket activity!
As my mom mentioned, we would love to see your Pockets in action! So here is our proposal:
– Organize a get-together (at least just one!) by the end of the summer. Fit one in by September 7 (Labor Day). Summer really is easier!
– Snap a photo of you and your other Pocket people. Your living room, your local petting zoo, your beach; whether it’s two of your or twenty of you, whether it’s all moms or couples… whatever it is! Just say “ok let’s get a photo for those pushy LMLD ladies” and then take it. (Yes, one from before will work too, if the summer finds your Pocket on the back burner until everyone gets back from vacation.)
– Send us your photo and we will post it on the blog! We want to see you, and we think that seeing you will give others encouragement as well! Just send your photo to LMLDblog [at] gmail.com. (Make sure that everyone in the photo is okay with it ending up posted on the interwebs!)
If you don’t know what I’m going on about with all this “Pocket” talk, check out the previous posts:
Have you already gotten going? Have more tips and experiences for our readers? Let us know in the comments!