Thursday, July 14, 2011

Don't Forget the Little People

   It was hard for me to figure out what to blog about today.  I have a list of things I would like to blog about (as I'm sure most bloggers do), but I had one of those days where I was behind the eight ball most of the day.  I was running late, messed up dinner, got cranky with my kids, etc.  Those kind of days make me feel like not blogging, because what possible advice could I offer other homeschool moms, except maybe what not to do.

     However, the day didn't start off badly.  I joined some other homeschool moms for breakfast.  This summer we decided that it would be fun to do a mom's breakfast every couple weeks.  We do a potluck type breakfast, and kids are welcome.  For the moms who don't have the room for a lot of people we meet at a park and bring breakfast there.  

    Most of the moms there today had younger children (younger elementary, preschool, toddlers and babies).  It reminded me of when I was in that stage of my homeschool journey and how much I needed the support of other moms, especially "veteran" homeschool moms.  It was so hard to make connections and feel like I was doing the right thing when I didn't know anyone else who was homeschooling.

   I think about this topic off and on since I help lead a support group.  I plan activities and field trips, but since my kids are older I don't always have activities that include the younger moms.  I don't leave them out on purpose, we just aren't always doing things the younger kids can do.  It can be a challenge to plan an activity that my older kids can't (or don't want to attend).  For instance my teens aren't excited about going to a Play Place.

    So, I do my best to try and encourage these moms, and stay in touch with them, since I remember how much I needed someone to say, "You can keep doing this."  But I wanted to encourage other moms to do that too.  Don't forget the little people, the moms who are just starting out and need encouragement and connections.  Even if our kids aren't the same age I know it gives other homeschool moms comfort knowing that if they show up at an activity they will know somebody.

   Some of the ways we can help these moms is to help them get plugged in.  If we know two moms with kids the same age, or two moms who have only children we can introduce them and try and help them connect.  We can send emails or make a phone call to see how they are doing, how homeschool is going.  We can tell them the things we did to make connections, to help our kids find friends, etc.  

     We had a mom leave our group recently.  She was having a hard time finding other moms with younger kids to connect with.  After she left we had an influx of moms with younger kids.  So, I sent her an email and let her know there were some younger moms and that I hadn't forgotten about her, etc.  She told me that she had found another group and made some connections, but she said something else that stuck with me.  She said that if she had still been seeking to connect with others my email would have been a lifeline to her, and she appreciated that I was concerned for her well-being. 

   It made me think, "Am I being a lifeline to the moms who are newer to this?  Am I being a lifeline to the moms who just moved here and are trying to find connections for their kids again?"  I wanted to put this out in the blogosphere to encourage other moms to do this too.  Homeschooling is a LONG journey (as is motherhood in general), and we all start it at different stages.  Some of us start at the very beginning and some pull their kids out in elementary, or Jr. High.  We may think we don't have anything to offer, but sometimes being a listening ear is all that another mom needs.  Someone to say, "That sounds tough," or "I'm sorry you had to deal with that."  I read recently that women process our feelings by talking, and that our husband's brains are actually not capable of dealing with the amount of words that we speak in a day, nor the amount of emotion that we sometimes throw at them.  I'm not offering this as an excuse, just an interesting observation that sometimes our husbands physically cannot process these things as fast as we can.  If we give them too much they stop listening because they have to.  This is a good reminder to be concise, but what it really made me realize is that we need other women to process our feelings to, or a prayer journal or a blog.   Maybe we can be that for other homeschool moms as well.

   So, this week I am going to try to reach out and be a lifeline (or at least a sounding board) for one mom.  I hope that you will consider doing that as well.

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