From Chicken Soup for the Working Mom's Soul

Chat and Chew

“How was school today?”


“What did you do in class?”


“Anything new?”


As any busy working mom will tell you, finding out what’s going on at your child’s school isn’t always easy! So a group of us moms—bankers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and nurses—formed a book club to get to know other moms in our community.

Once a month, over a relaxing glass of chardonnay and bites of crudités, we discussed the new principal, commiserated over the homework horror stories, and traded tips on how to complete that ridiculous science project that we, I mean, our children, had to complete by the next week. Sometimes we even discussed a book!

Of course, it wasn’t long before the kids got curious about these book club meetings their moms wouldn’t miss for anything. More than one asked, “Why can’t we come?” Hmmmm.

Although all the moms relied on these meetings to socialize and share much-needed information with the other moms, everyone agreed it would be fun to set aside one meeting a year that the kids could attend. Because our children’s ages ranged from toddlers to early teens, we wanted to pick a book that all ages—including ourselves— would enjoy. Though most of the children were old enough to read a book on their own, those who hadn’t yet mastered their ABCs were thrilled to have their moms read to them. Charlotte’s Web was a perfect choice.

The excitement on the night of the first parent/child book club meeting was palpable. Before discussing the book, the moms and children got to know one another better over a potluck dinner. It’s amazing what the kids shared between mouthfuls of double cheese pizza. Listening carefully while nibbling on grilled chicken, the moms actually picked up enough clues to figure out the real answers to How was school today? What are they doing in class? and What’s new?

Anxious to get to the main event, the kids cleaned their paper plates in record time and gathered in a circle. The moms were amazed at how responsible all the children were about reading the book (even more so than their parents!). One of the moms—a teacher, of course—got things going by asking a few open-ended questions about Charlotte and her famous web. From the youngest to the oldest, all the children participated and proudly gave an opinion. Some wished they could have a pig like Wilbur for a pet, and all unanimously agreed that their dinner had been much tastier than Charlotte’s dinner of flies, bugs, and insects!

Still energized after a lively discussion about the themes of friendship, love, and caring, the older children continued their chatter about Charlotte, Fern, and Wilbur well into the make-your-own-sundae celebration. But as the youngest book club members started to yawn, the moms knew it was time for the evening to end.

Dinner and dessert might have been over, but every one of the busy moms left the meeting that night with quite a bit of food for thought.

Pamela Hackett Hobson

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