There is something truly wonderful about female friendships. As I have moved through phases of life and physically from city to city, people have moved in and out of my circle. In each case, there has been a strong circle of girlfriends.
Girls groups are for all phases of life. These escapes with the girls are especially crucial as we conquer new life experiences such as becoming a new wife, new mother, new employee, an empty nester or retiree. A group of girls can offer help, guidance and escape during the challenges we face in each of these life phases.
For me, whether it was a Mothers Morning Out group, a business networking group, walking group, or a ladies Bible study, each group created a space where I found common ground and support. Even though I dearly love my family and my home, I found my girlfriends understand my stress and experience life from the same perspectives of a wife, mother, and daughter. Being together we feel nurtured and validated because, no matter our age, only a girl truly understands girl issues.
My current group, known as the Crafty Ladies, meets once a week to do a craft. While I am a relatively new member, the group’s origins date back 30 plus years to Northwestern Pennsylvania, where two of the members started a Mothers Morning Out group. Although these new moms were giddy to just get out of the house alone, they decided they needed to do something productive with their time together, so they began scheduling speakers, and cooking demos and craft activities. Eventually, the needs for the group changed. When Sara and Barb, along with their husbands, retired to coastal Georgia, they continued the group by inviting their new local friends to join.
“The cool thing,” says Sara, “is the mother’s club in Pennsylvania still exists.” Proof that the need for a girl’s group stands the test of time.
Why a craft club? Girlfriends and hobbies are probably one of the greatest combinations. A hobby, such as crafting, replenishes your soul. There are times when we need to clear our minds and just let the creative juices flow. The craft provides automatic talking points and the opportunity to do what women do best, nurture and support one another. Taking home a finished project is a bonus.
I love being crafty, but I don’t take the time to do crafts on my own because there are always so many other things that need to be done. There is a guilt factor that I impose on myself, that comes into play. Being in this group, I have learned that I can get all my responsibilities completed and still have time to play. I easily found a couple hours a week that were formerly wasted– mostly on social media or TV.
I have enjoyed trying many different projects. It is a great way to try something new and learn. Even though we are all working on the same project, each turns out completely different. It is fun to see our personal styles shine through.
The gathering, however, is so much more than the craft project. We laugh, encourage one another and share stories. The positive buzz in the room is contagious. Each of these ladies brings a new experience and perspective about life. We tell stories, laugh, and yes a bit of gossip may pass through. Allowing the time to be in this group is like a big thank you to me. As an empty nester approaching retirement, it is acknowledging all my hard work as a mother and saying, “it’s my time now.” I come home energized.
Many studies have shown that women who have social ties with other women are happier, healthier, and live longer. Make friendships a top priority. Like plants, if we aren’t growing, we are dying. Crafting keeps us growing and learning. Carve out some time for this and if you don’t have a women’s group, why not start one?
How Our Crafty Ladies Group Works
- Select a specific time and be consistent with that time. We meet every Wednesday at 2 p.m.
- Select one person to be in charge of the calendar and email everyone information.
- Have a hostess sign up. That person is in charge of selecting and teaching the craft and hostessing. She either buys the supplies or provides a supply list. Rotate so that no one person is overburdened.
- Remember the more, the merrier, but you also have to keep it manageable. You don’t have to know everyone in the group. Everyone doesn’t have to attend every meeting. We RSVP to help the hostess with supplies.
- Be realistic about the time a craft takes to complete, how complicated it is and how much the supplies will cost. We often are referring to you-tube videos for instruction on our iPads. The hostess can also be learning the craft.
- Don’t feel like you have to be best friends with everyone. Invite ladies you think will have a good time and get to know them through the group. Meeting new people can be rewarding and bring new life into the group.
Don’t have a craft idea? Check out the DIY crafts featured in Fayette Woman Magazine. They are a perfect place to start!