About three years ago I attended one of the first Baking Club meetings in Northeast Columbia. The founder, Nikki, was inspired by her travels as a military wife to bring women together through food. Nikki had asked me,
“What mom couldn’t use a night away from the kids to eat cake, right?”
I wholeheartedly agreed!
The premise was that each meeting would have a fun theme, to which each member would bring a dessert to share. The only rule was no judgment. This was not a competition of baking skills or parenting skills for that matter. This was about community – with a sweet addition.
I had just moved to Columbia. Nikki was the first acquaintance I met at library story time, and we didn’t know each other well. I had joined a moms group, yet didn’t feel connected to many other women.
I was a SAHM with few connections outside of the home. Basically, I was lonely for friendship. Every time we have moved, I have started over making local friends. We can all agree that it becomes harder the older you get, particularly with a young family to care for as well.
Naturally, I was incredibly nervous tottering over to the restaurant table that night with the white chocolate and raspberry cake I prayed was edible.
Then came the most amazing journey.
This Baking Club became not just a silly hobby to improve my meager baking skills, but a challenge of self-improvement; including that of being confident in my own motherhood.
The group of women who show up for sweets every other month inspire me more than any book or lecture ever could. Nikki speaks her mind with refreshing honesty and depth. Leah relentlessly pursues new creative paths to fuel her passions and soul. Emma is hilarious with unparalleled self-determination and willpower. Alyssia is the personification of kindness and consideration of others. Heather is a true leader who radiates calm. Nicole has an uncanny knack of offering a fresh perspective to any situation.
The list goes on, yet each woman reminds me that motherhood is real. Love, of course, is abundant. Yet, struggle and anger are also real and ACCEPTABLE.
Three years of cake, and I am changed for the better. I am a more relaxed mother. I put myself first once in a while (and only feel slightly guilty while doing so). I don’t feel alone in this city. I have come to feel that I bring value to any table, as well as a kick-butt caramel Blondie recipe.
I encourage you to find a group for the hobby that fuels you. Bible study, book club, wine drinking, ax throwing… Your tribe is out there too. If motherhood is a marathon journey rather than a sprint, then these women are the water givers at every milestone.
I am forever grateful for that refreshment of mind and spirit. For me, it all began with a cake.