Finding Your Tribe When You’re a Homeschool Mom

Especially as a homeschool mom, we spend so much time taking care of other people, we sometimes come last (or not at all). Here are ways to fix that...

It is so easy to become isolated as a mother, let alone as a homeschool mom

We spend so much time taking care of other people, we sometimes come last (or not at all). We need connection though. We need to feel not alone. When we feel connected to other people, we are more able to bear the burdens we struggle within our lives. The key to finding this connection and relief is to find people that understand you, love you, and make you feel relaxed in their company: your tribe.  Finding your tribe, as a homeschool mom, is important.

As the parents of a child with special needs and homeschoolers, we have a couple more obstacles in our path to finding the right people to include in our circle. As a severe introvert, I especially find this difficult. I have learned a few things through trial and error and talking with people I trust, and I want to share those thoughts with you so if you are feeling alone, you can start to connect.

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What Does Friendship Look Like to You?

There is no “one-size fits all” friendship. Everyone is different, and we all need different things. In order to be able to find people to connect with, you need to understand yourself. Taking a long look at what your needs are in a friendship is so important. At different stages in my life, I have even needed different things, and that is okay! Here are some ideas for what you might need in a friend.

Someone who:

  • Is adventurous and breaks you out of your shell
  • Is fine hanging out in the backyard for time together
  • Has kids the same age as yours
  • Has kids much older than yours
  • Doesn’t have kids
  • Loves the outdoors and physical activities
  • Is nearby and can spend lots of time with you
  • Doesn’t live nearby but can talk on the phone on hard days

Obviously, not everyone is going to have every characteristic (that is why we typically have more than one friend!), but knowing what you need to feel loved and supported is so important to making real connections with others. Which leads me to my next point…..

Accept What You Need (Instead of Pretending You Need What is “Normal”)

I have spent years trying to make friends and feel connected to people my own age who had kids the same age as my boys because I thought that is what I was supposed to do. After a lot of soul searching and talking with people I trust, I have come to the realization that is not what I need in my life right now. 

My son has some behavioral issues that we are working through, so when he is around kids his own age, my entire focus has to be on facilitating appropriate and safe social interactions. That means that I don’t have any time for visiting with the adults (and some adults have stopped wanting to do playdates because of the lack of “adult” time with me and the focus they need to keep on their children as well).

That is just not a good fit for me right now. I have found that I feel so much more connected and relaxed spending time with women older than me with teenagers or grown children. My son plays better with older children or adults, so this decreases my stress levels. As I have started letting go of what I think I am “supposed to do” and instead embraced what I need, I have found some amazing friendships that I cherish.  

Hey there Homeschool Mom – Stop looking for what you think you’re supposed to find, and look for who God is giving you!

Turn Outwards

We need to remember that friendship is a 2-lane road. You have to be a good friend to others and open yourself up if you want to make good friends. That means serving others and loving others. Like we said earlier, everyone is different, so loving a person is going to look different for everyone. The only way we can love a person is to get to know them and stay close to the Lord who can guide us in our actions. Here are some ideas of ways to love others.

  • Take them out to lunch
  • Bring them a meal or their favorite treat
  • Write them an unexpected note
  • Remember their birthday
  • Follow up on important things going on in their lives
  • If you see something small that reminds you of them, share it with them
  • Give sincere compliments
  • Support them in their endeavors
  • Pray for them
I know it can be lonely as a homeschool mom dealing with special needs, but there is hope!

If you are feeling lost and disconnected, reach out. It is hard to open up and share the tender parts of yourself, but if you share a little, you will know if you should share more or look for a safer place to connect. I have also found a lot of support and love in online communities for special needs mothers. If you need to start by finding an online tribe, that is okay! Just know that even if you feel so alone, you don’t have to be. There are others out there feeling just as alone, you just need to find each other.

More about Mary Winfield

Mary is the media manager and blog editor at SPED Homeschool and blogs about special needs parenting and homeschooling at www.growingastheygrow.com. She is the mom to 2 rambunctious toddlers who are more dirt than boys most of the time. She is an avid reader and loves to write in many genres. She especially loves connecting to other moms so she can learn from them and maybe even offer a little help in return.  You can find her on Facebook,  TwitterPinterest.

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Author: Jill C

Jill is a Christian, homeschooler, "boy mom", and special needs parent. Jill has ADHD and has learned firsthand how adapting environments can be key to finding success! Her current mission is to empower parents whose desire is to homeschool their special needs children and helping them squash their self-doubt!

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