It’s late here – and I should be in bed. But I’m writing this post instead because my brain is wide awake. Tonight, some of us local homeschoolers met up for mom’s night out and we had a great time! It’s rare to find a group of people who get you – your life, struggle, kids – all of it.
I realized as I sat in the group that we rarely do stuff like this. We have friends and family, we have acquaintances and neighbors. But we rarely have meet-ups with the people who live a strikingly similar life to us. We homeschoolers are isolated much of the time while living in a crowd.
I’m not saying we are hermits that hibernate at home. Nope. We go do stuff with the groups, we set up field trips, and we spend time at playgrounds just getting the wiggles out. But all of that time – all of that contact – is really more for the kids. Even when the parents can sit down and chat for a moment, we’re still on parent duty. We’re still alert for that wail that means someone got hurt, or we’re hyper aware of the potential involved with stick weapons and slippery rocks.
Tonight, we were off duty. I rarely feel like I’m off duty these days. When I am, I’m usually tethered to my desk madly scrambling to get work done. Tonight was a nice chunk of self-care.
I don’t speak for everyone, of course. I’m part of that special sub-set of homeschoolers whose kids don’t fit into the public school box at all. Call it special needs, call it 2e, call it weird – whatever. Not many people understand us. So when I find people who do, I’m happy. Because I don’t have to explain things beyond “sensory issues” or describe what anxiety does to our daily life. It’s just understood.
I’m reminded all over again that sometimes we have to push outside of our comfort zones to make this happen. Did I really want to spend most of my night sitting around a table and talking? I’m an introvert. So this was pretty draining for me. Did I really want to set this event up and risk no one coming? Not really, but I know that everyone usually waits for “someone else” to do stuff like this. Today, I was the “someone else” instead of hoping for others to jump in.
Not my comfort level, for sure, but it was worth it.
I think it’s often harder for homeschoolers to network and build those relationships because we have to start from scratch. We have to actively go out there and search for people in a way that most people do not. When I was working full-time, most of my friends were from work. We were around each other all the time, and it helped build relationships in a way that’s difficult to do without that constant contact.
Frankly, I don’t have a whole lot of time to go searching for people to be friends with. I’m stuck with trying to manage my life, which leaves little time to go out and play. I envy my kids a bit: “want to play with me?” and off they run. It’s so simple at this age.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me being antisocial. Maybe my distinct lack of peopling skills are popping up again. Maybe we’re the only family who struggles to make deep connections.
I don’t think so, though. I think this is more common than people admit. Making friends as an adult is hard. It doesn’t seem to get easier with age either.
Homeschooling can be isolating. For us, not the kids. I think the next time someone asks me about socialization I’m going to snicker and say “yes, I do have trouble finding other adults I can relate to.” Because the kids have this thing down – I don’t.
And clunk! My brain turned off. Sorry about the bad grammar and run-on sentences. ::yawn:: Bedtime!