Months after my first baby was born, my parents moved a few hours away from us, getting help when I needed it hasn’t always been an easy option for me. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because this lack forced me to get out and make some new friends, especially those living right in my neighborhood. My mama friends have turned out to be the glue that has held me together through some rough times, I mean really rough times. Likewise I’ve been there to see them through hardships as well. It’s been an privilege to be available for last minute doctor appointments, morning coffee while our kids played, bible study/therapy sessions or passing some freshly baked goods to one another. These things were all a part of our helping each other along through this whole Motherhood thing.
Things are a bit different now as we’ve transitioned into new homes, have older children busy with activities or just figuring out what this next phase of Motherhood means with babies and toddlers grown.
For some of us it has meant children going to school and moving onto a Career. Not an environment I would thrive in, but for those that do, more power to you!
Then there are the really crazy ones, the ones who choose to keep our kids at home and add a new job title to our list of Motherhood duties, home educator.
Here is where things can get tricky.
Friends who do not take a shot at understanding this lifestyle, can become hard to be around simply because we sense that and it’s exhausting having to justify our lifestyle to those unwilling to understand. Or worse, the fact that we can no longer be transparent in those relationships knowing that the chance to be criticized is highly likely.
What happens when a Homeschool Mom is brave enough to ask for help? That is when the whispers can fly about. See, my friends have responded so incredibly to me making this choice, many of them have been supportive. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t heard the conversations when I’m in a room and nobody knows I’m a Homeschool Mom. That is when I hear the criticism & harsh words fly. Did you hear about that poor Homeschool Mother? Things are just out of control in their household, too bad they are homeschooling, things would be so much easier for them if they would just put their kids in school.
Believe me, as a Homeschool Mom, I can list the reasons that Homeschooling is an inconvenience.
I have to bring all my kids to the store, or take a night during the week to go grocery shopping.
Running errands means buckling four kids into the van for each and every stop, for those that are truly blessed, they have to buckle in even more children.
Sometimes I need my husband to come home from work early so I can go to the Doctor without all my kids swarming around at the OB/GYN office.
They are here making messes ALL day.
I have to listen to their questions ALL day, without much quiet time and sometimes this fries by brain to a point of numbness I could have never imagined.
Here is the thing though, last I checked there are a lot of downsides to being a working Mother too. Yet, how terrible would it sound if we sat around talking about how if such and such Mother would just QUIT their job, everything would be so much easier. Or maybe God called you to be a missionary in a foreign country, but it’s hard, so instead of being supportive I just sit here and tell you to come back and stop doing hard things.
It’s really not that simple is it.
I can easily rattle off a list of hard things about having kids in school as well.
Homework at night absorbing family time.
Waking kids up early to get on the bus and dealing with their exhaustion at night.
Having mess to clean up yourself, after they go to school.
Making lunch the night before.
Dealing with the frustration of siblings not getting along, because they aren’t used to being together.
Playing the game of keeping up with what kids at school are wearing, doing, saying and wishing your kids were exposed to better examples throughout the day.
Amazing isn’t it? So it’s not really about whether or not the lifestyle choice makes sense to you, it’s about supporting one another in God’s call for our families, whatever that may be. See if one of my working Mom friends needed a hand getting her kids off the bus that day, I would happily do the favor!
So now that we’ve established it’s OK to give a Homeschool Mom a hand, what are some things you can do?
Offer to babysit for those things that can only be done during the day.
Deliver coffee or tea, chances are you’ll get a hug and some leaky, grateful eyes.
Pick up her kids to come play with yours for a few hours so she can get a break from ALL THE TALKING. I’m so serious about this one.
Ask how homeschooling is going, without judging the response given. It’s lonely to sit in a room of moms chatting about their kids in school and be completely looked over.
Send an encouraging bible verse, quote or kind words.
When she forgets why she is Homeschooling, remind her.
Instead of wondering if we are socializing, come socialize with us, we are actually pretty friendly.
For especially tough times, bring a meal!
Chocolate is great too (Homeschool Dads take special note on this one!)
Just don’t be the friend that says, “I wish I could help but….” basically, you should do things the way I do them so your life isn’t so difficult.
As friends, we should be there to support whatever call God has on our life. I have supported my husband through some pretty big dreams, and sometimes people did question whether or not we were doing the right thing. The ones who trusted we were following God’s call were by far the most supportive ones. With God’s help, your own determination and help or encouragement from a few close friends, you can find yourself doing some pretty impossible things!
Even surviving being a Homeschool Mom.
I’m so thankful to have experienced this with both my public school and my homeschool friends.
I know that isn’t the case with everyone!
How do you encourage or help your friends out?
Answer in the comments below!