Monday, March 29, 2010

Mom, What Do You Do for Socialization?

As a homeschooling mom, I get asked on a regular basis by “professionals” everywhere from the doctor, the therapist, church leaders, even perfect strangers what my children do for socialization. When was the last time any of them has ever looked me in the eyes and asked, “What do you do for socialization?” I am sure I would remember it, because, man -forget the kids, I need more socialization!

The average homeschooling mother spends many hours a day with the kids educating, mentoring, and inspiring. Add to that the meal planning, preparing, and eating. Housework is multiplied with the family “living” in the home twenty-four hours a day.

We can’t forget the man of the house. He needs quality time with his wife. Oh, then there’s the necessary evils of grocery shopping, appointments, errand running, and any groups or activities the family participates in.

The second the van pulls into the driveway- the kids want to be off fulfilling their needs to play, unwind-and socialize! Where is mom? She is lugging the baby and the groceries inside and collapsing on the couch from exhaustion.

Really sit down and add it up. If I, instead of the children, got eight hours a day in a school environment plus outside activities filled with socialization, honestly I’d be exhausted and just plain overwhelmed. I would be irritable and over-sensitive to what people think of me. I would definitely start worrying too much about what I was wearing every day. Social pressures shouldn’t bother me to that extent, but if I were put in an environment where I was always “socializing”, rarely relaxed, and was never alone with my loved ones during that time- I’d be a mess.

I thought school was invented for educating? When did we get to this point where it is more important for children to socialize than to be educated? Maybe some may say that isn’t so, but then why is that the first question out of everyone’s mouth?

What is the big deal with excessive socializing of the children anyway? They end up spending more time fighting over belongings, food or drinks, running off on their own, or forming cliques. When they finally make it home from all this socializing they are over-stimulated, exhausted and irritable.

Seriously, I think it’s a little backwards. All kids want to play and most get their playtime with playmates after the school (home or public) and chores are finished. Throw in a church activity and a music lesson, and that is plenty of socialization for any one person. Take the mom, she is working hard all day and up most of the night catching up or taking care of kids who wake up, won’t go to bed, or are up puking. She wakes up haggard and worn, ready to rinse and repeat! The mom is the one who needs more socialization.

Unlike children, socialization for a battle-worn mom is refreshing, revitalizing, and stimulating. She returns home after an enjoyable time with friends ready to face the giants-or um little giants. Instead of worrying excessively over whether or not junior is socialized enough, let us keep on doing what we are and worry more about whether poor, tired MOM is getting enough refreshing social time.

Shiloah Baker is a mom of seven, pregnant with #8, married to the man she's madly in love with. Exercise is her vice. She runs a The Homemaking Cottage and homeschools. In her spare time she sews, crafts, writes and reads. Join us at The Homemaking Cottage Deluxe Edition for 1057 ways to improve your home and family!

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Martie said...

GREAT article - and so true. I plan a Mom's Night Out for our home school mom's at least once a month. We claim our play ground days at the park as a Mom's time as well. The kids want to come hang on us and you'll hear multiple mom's saying "GO PLAY! This is my time with my friends." lol

Mama Rachel said...

I think it helps, too, when a mom has a babysitter or two in their family. My big ones really help out in a lot in that area, and make it possible for me, or my husband and me, to go and visit with some other adults.

Things that have helped us include a park day where the kids play and the moms discuss books, and evening time book groups of various incarnations. (5 Pillar Groups, Couples Groups, Mom Groups, etc.)

I think, though, what I always crave more than anything, is mentoring-- and getting mentored BY-- other mothers. Luckily, the socializing happens as a result of just being with one another, but discussing (@ park day or book group) and being accountable to others (5 Pillar Group) are the things that have been truly fulfilling for me.

Remember, if you're lacking something in your life, you can build something great and new friends WILL come! And knowing you, it would be a great quality addition to your community! :-)

Shiloah Baker said...

Great comments! Thank you, lovely ladies!

kindredmamma said...