Socializing for Homeschooling Moms

As homeschoolers, we usually put quite a bit of thought into arranging opportunities for our kids to hang out with other kids. Even if the kids aren’t exactly in the same grade or age group, we usually try to make an effort once or twice a week to have the kids in an activity or group setting.

However, as homeschool moms, we must be as proactive in taking opportunities to socialize ourselves. As an introvert, I used to downplay this need in my life. I like being alone, and I like being independent. But I found that if I went very long without adult interaction (not counting my husband) I began to feel a little out of balance. I’d worry over silly things. I’d dump all my frustrations on my husband when he came home. I’d feel backwards and shy around others. I’d feel isolated and ostracized in group situations like church. As I have grown in self-awareness, I’ve learned, that even as a “loner,” maintaining and developing friendships is important.

The Scripture is clear that we are not to depend solely on ourselves. God wants us to minister to others and to be ministered to ourselves. That’s what the whole “Body of Christ” is about. It’s not just about listening to a sermon every Sunday. It is about intertwining our lives with others.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

And this doesn’t even mention all of the “one another” verses that encourage us to demonstrate our faith by pouring grace into the lives of others.  We’re told to love one another, pray for one another, honor one another, be at peace with one another, accept one another… I could go on and on.

So how does a homeschool mom go about finding friends for herself so that she can minister to others and be ministered to?

The easiest way to start is to join a local homeschooling support group. Even if you don’t share the exact same homeschooling style, this is a good way to meet new friends.  Some groups have weekly park days or monthly meetings.

Don’t be afraid to walk up to someone and start a conversation. I can be rather shy; however, I’ve forced myself to be a little more outgoing in unfamiliar situations. I seek out a person who looks lonely and try to chat with them a bit. If everyone is in a group, I tend to hang out nearby and look for a chance to join in.

Another place to  look  for friendships is in your church family. Is there another mom who seems like she shares your interests? Even if she’s not a homeschooling mom or a mom with kids your kids’ ages you may be able to find some common ground.

Look for chances to volunteer for a helpful group. You may meet interesting people there who you will want to get to know better.

Wherever you initially meet friends, the biggest challenge is deepening those friendships. It’s easy to have lots of acquaintances but no real friends. This is where the real work comes in.

If you’ve found a friend who seems to click with you personally, invite her and her kids, if applicable, to your home. Don’t fall under the assumption that you house has to be spotless and freshly baked cookies need to be on the stove. Just be who you are. Be real. Sit and chat while the kids play. Offer some coffee and some muffins if you like. Ask questions about her life.

However, if someone turns you down three or four times in a row, you may want to try to nurture a relationship with someone else. Try not to take it personally, as much as it may sting. That person may be in an extremely busy season of life and be unable to spend much time nurturing new friendships.

After you’ve established some sort of deep friendships, you will have to prioritize maintaining those friendships. This means that you call, email, or interact personally with that person on a regular basis. You may need to invite them over to your home every Thursday for a sandwich, even if the house is messy, go for a walk with them in the mornings before your households wake up, or just chat on the phone as you clean house on Saturday mornings.

Consistency is the most important part of building lasting friendships.

Now, I know, some of you are thinking “I barely have the energy to handle my kids and my house! How am I going to find the time to build friendships?”

All I can tell you is “You just do.” Just as you and your husband  don’t wait until you “feel like it” to build on your relationship, building friendships takes the same amount of dedication. I promise, if you make the effort to go visit with your friend, even if piles of chores are undone at home, you will feel better when you get back to the house.

Remember that there is probably some other person out there who is just as lonely as you may be. Take the initiative and reach out to bless them with your friendship, and don’t wait for “someone else” to make the first move.

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