We’ve made it through yet another week of social distancing and survived another week of the implemented stay at home order. I awoke this morning thinking about the changes that have occurred and the conversations I have had with friends, family, and neighbors. There is an overall feeling of being over this virus thing. There is a resounding desire to get back to work, a desire for stability, and a need for normalcy. However, on the flip side, what I am hearing is the stay at home order isn’t all that bad. The common theme I see in most of my “mom” friends is they are enjoying the slower schedule. They are enjoying not having to run their children from activity to activity, event to event. I’m also discerning that children are not hating being home. Many have developed new hobbies and interests that are home based. Many are enjoying not being chauffeured from one activity and event to another. Many families are enjoying the opportunity to just be a family.
In our home, I am the one lacking the commitment level to chauffeur the bean to several activities in one night and multiple activities during the week. Not only does Jordan become overwhelmed and exhausted from a busy schedule, I too cannot handle that constant pressure of having to be somewhere. We adhere to the rule of one sports activity per season and one non-sports activity. After years of trying everything under the sun, she has finally settled on Tae Kwon Do and Art. Both activities are independent…much like my child…and both activities give her a sense of strength, release, and accomplishment.
I have also noticed a shift in consumerism. Not only do people not have an opportunity to shop, they have limited availability and resources. For example, try finding black yoga, athleisure, or jogger pants ANYWHERE. It just isn’t happening. I have a new obsession with what I consider comfort clothes, probably because my incredible baker/cook mother-in-law is staying at home with us. A steady diet of homemade cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, and various forms of meat everything are bringing me comfort but making my clothes feel like they were made for Jordan. Which brings me to grocery shopping. There are days that friends and neighbors still report being unable to find pantry staples such as flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and some meat. The Bibbed Wonder raises heritage breed pasture pork and he has all of his piglets sold through August. The local family owned farm stand down the road is experiencing unprecedented sales in both produce and meat. Also, my personal favorite, Lone Oak Farm, is a family owned dairy farm that produces dairy products, produce, baked goods, and meat are doing very well with their curbside pickup and order ahead option. I am thrilled to see these hard working, farm families succeed and thrive.
In my humble opinion, we as a whole would be healthier, have a more stable, diverse local economy, and a greater appreciation if we understood where our food comes from and how it is raised. I have been part of the eat local movement for several years but I feel a greater allegiance to my local farm families with this virus thing. We dabble at self- sufficiency and for the most part succeed, but I am more than okay with not making a trip to Walmart in the past month and a half. I believe my days of big box store shopping are over. We have several small, family owned candy stores, in our area. We have a small independently owned book store, there are lovely boutiques popping up that sell the latest fashions, and independently owned shoe stores that provide superior, high quality service and shoes. Perhaps the new trend will be independently owned specialty stores that care about customer service and quality. Wouldn’t that be refreshing, rather than feed the glut of cheap consumerism?
The wonderful thing about small business, is there is national and global access to all small-scale business on platforms such as Etsy. If you can’t find a small business that supplies you with what you are looking for in your local area, jump online and you have an entire world of handmade items at your fingertips. Although I wasn’t able to score any comfort pants, and let’s be honest, it is better to scale back on the baked goods rather than buy new fat pants, I will be sporting some new, fun, handmade t-shirts from a fun little shop on Etsy, MVPtshirts. It’s not a new seasonal wardrobe, but it is something to look forward to and it was bought with the conscience effort to support small business. I don’t mean to sound small minded; I know there is a global network of business and commerce that is beyond my scope or understanding, however, I can’t help but think we would be fundamentally better if we supported those near us. In my naive, idealistic mind, we would build stronger communities, provide jobs for our neighbors, and support our local and national economy. An economist I am not. I am simply a former educator, turned goat farmer, turned small business owner. Again, these are just musings of a soap maker.
I hope you enjoy your weekend at home. Whether you are staying home alone or with your tribe of minions, I hope you are able to rest easy, work hard, and sprinkle in moments of joy. As always, stay safe, stay smart, try shopping small scale, and wash your hands…multiple times a day…preferably with superior quality handmade goat’s milk soap.