Socialization. Sorry. I know that one is a curse word in the homeschool community. Everyone talks about whether or not we socialize our homeschoolers. “Do they get enough time with other kids?” “Won’t they be weird?” “How do they handle social situations if they aren’t in school?” I have talked about socialization of homeschoolers in the past. Today, I want to focus on something that no one really asks. What about Homeschool Mom Socialization? We spend our days educating our littles, keeping the home, balancing extra-curricular activities, and just being mom. Are we socialized as much as we should be?
Homeschool Mom Socialization
It is important to make sure our children have social experiences. However, I think it is equally important for homeschool moms to have quality social experiences. When I say quality, I don’t mean the phone call that has 27 interruptions from the littles before saying you will call the person back in five years. Instead I am talking about time in the week to have real conversation with other adults. If you were to look at the last two weeks of your life can you say you had any of these encounters? If not, I want to share some important reasons why it should be a priority as well as some tips to find these moments.
With all of the admonitions to be in the moment, not miss a memory, or treasure it because it goes too fast homeschool moms can become trapped in their homes. If this is you I need you to understand something very important. You are part of the memories. You are present. You spend more time with your children than most parents. You also deserve a break once in a blue moon. You are justified in talking on the phone with a friend for a few minutes while the kids play outside. You do not have to chase your child around on park day. You can sit down and enjoy the presence of other moms. Here are a few ideas to help you make socialization for yourself a priority.
Make friends at extra curricular activities.
Both of my children are involved in activities. R is in theater, acting, and dance classes. C is in t-ball which I didn’t realize is a 3 night a week commitment. Between the two of them I spend almost 10 hours a week waiting for their different activities. Instead of wasting that time I use that time to get to know other moms while waiting. I have met some amazing ladies while sitting at baseball practice or in the waiting room for her theater classes. Don’t let these activities be wasted time. Use them to get to know some awesome moms. You may meet a few annoying moms but you might also meet a great friend.
Homeschool Park Days
Our homeschool group has park days every few weeks. I make this a priority for the kids but it is also a priority for me. On these days I choose to resist the urge to be a helicopter mom and sit and talk with some of the other moms. In this time I am able to ask questions about homeschooling, life, and parenting. It’s such a great time and I can’t imagine going without it. If you have a local homeschool group take part in park days. Find the people that you can get along with well and spend some time chatting with them. There are many types of homeschool moms. You are sure to find one you can get along with.
This has become my favorite part of the month. Once a month I sneak out with a small group of close friends. We don’t do anything extravagant. Instead we take over a table at Starbucks and talk for hours about everything and nothing. This is a great time for us to laugh about silliness from our past or talk about real struggles we are walking through. Over the months we have become very close and love this time. If you have a small group of friends you can meet with, set up a night to get together. If it is a group of ladies you get along well with you will find that the time flies rather quickly.
Ok, I know there are about 10,000 mom shaming posts about staying off of social media while your kids are awake. I have to disagree. Sometimes you need that moment with another adult before going back into the trenches of homeschooling. I am not saying to spend every moment on Facebook or Twitter but sometimes it will help to have those moments to sneak away and catch up with a friend for a minute. My best friend and I talk on and off throughout the day and she lives across the country from me. Ignore the mom guilt and enjoy talking to a friend occasionally. As long as you make time where you unplug and focus only on your kids there is no problem with getting online occasionally.
Ministry/ Community Service
For some moms, their only ministry is their home and their children. I am in that season of life right now. After 8 years working with teen moms I am taking a season to just focus on the family. That being said, if you have a way to serve in a great ministry or community service project jump on board. You may make some great friendships while giving back to others. One of my best friends in the world used to be one of the teen moms that I ministered to.
What do you do to make socialization a priority for yourself? Do you feel alone homeschooling?