Modern home ec club

Growing up, we’d occasionally come across someone my mom would say she knew from home ec club back in the day.  She was talking about a club to which she belonged when my brother and I were small (and maybe even before me).  The details are sketchy for me (in that I don’t know them, not that my mom and her cohorts engaged in nefarious activities).  I just always thought that seemed like such a silly thing.  Why would women want to get together and talk about home stuff like cooking, cleaning and decorating?  I have always chalked it up to just being of a different generation.

These past couple of weeks, though, I’ve realized that I’ve followed in my mom’s footsteps.  I don’t have a physical club that I belong to or women that I meet with in person once a week or month or however often they met.  But, I have them online.  I have a group of mom friends I talk to daily.  I have an addiction to Pinterest that I feed a few times a week and find new recipes to try.  Who knew that I could get so sucked into looking at recipes, children’s activity ideas and even funny sayings so easily?  And what I also find amusing is that I often come across ideas I think are new and grand then realize they’ve been around forever.  Those “new” made-from-canned-biscuit doughnuts I tried a few weeks ago?   My grandma and my husband’s grandma used to make them.  The new post going around about baking cupcakes in ice-cream cones?  My mom did that when I was a kid.  We’re a different generation and we’re communicating differently, but there really is nothing new under the sun.

These sites and technology are the modern versions of a home ec club.  I turn to these online friends when I have a question about baking, when I need a recipe, when I have a question about whether my daughter’s latest activities are normal and when I am figuring out how to best arrange my cleaning schedule.  I turn to them for support.  Just like I’m sure my mom and her club members were back in the day, I like to know that I’m not alone.  I’m not the only one dealing with potty training.  I’m not the only one trying to find the right balance between all the hats I wear.  I’m not the only one who gets tired of cooking the same stuff over and over.  I’m not the only one trying to make healthy meals for my family.  I’m not the only one who is looking for a good deal to save my family some money.  As humans we have this desire and need to connect with others.  We want to belong.  We want to know someone understands us.

Technology has helped with this for introverts like me.  I’m not sure I’d go to a home ec club in person.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t.  Even just figuring out the schedule and babysitter and all that jazz would seem too much effort.  Wondering if I’d have anyone to talk to or even the courage to say something would be stressful.  I’d imagine the scenario of me sitting sort of by myself not really talking to anyone.  Been there done that.  Good at that.  Don’t especially enjoy that.

But, online is my haven.  This is where I can come and get to know other moms like me.  This is where I can come and find support when I need it.  This is my home ec club.  I can come to “meetings” in my pajamas or during my daughter’s nap time or whenever I have a break to do so.  I can make it fit into my schedule instead of vice versa.  And I don’t find myself sitting in a corner by myself feeling awkward.

I’m not sure I noticed this desire quite as much until I became a mom.  Sure, I made some connections with other women who suffer from the same bladder disease that I have.  Their support got me through many rough days with my bladder.  But, being a mom made me want to reach out even more.  I know I’m not the first woman to become a mother.  And I’m certainly not the last.  It was so new to me, though.  And it was lonely.  Those early days of motherhood was some of the loneliest I think I’ve experienced, and I’m a person who thrives on alone time.  It was rough.  We were trapped at home.  I was tied to the breast pump.  I was exhausted.  It was so hard.  I desperately needed to know that I wasn’t alone and that it would get better. (I wasn’t, and it did.)

And so I found some friends online.  They assured me that what I was feeling was normal.  They helped me come up with activities and things we could do.  They encouraged me to try story time.  And they listened.  And I’ve listened to them.  Somehow over these last two years, this modern version of a home ec club has become a part of my life.  I pray for the concerns they have.  I cry with them when they hurt.  I cheer for them when they get good news.  I laugh with them over our toddlers’ antics and life in general.  And I do it all virtually.

It’s not my mom’s home ec club per se.  It’s the modern version.  It works for me.  And I’m thankful for it.

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