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If you are introverted, shy, insecure, and struggle to put yourself out there and make new connections, please, please reconsider your thoughts about homeschooling. Children need socialising, they need other kids, they need adults outside of their own caregivers; being a shy introvert who homeschools means your child is a lot less likely to get these vital social interactions. I've been a SAHM for over 5 years, I know it can get lonely sometimes, and be draining, and it's easy to want to stay put in the safe surrounds of your own home. But kids need more.
I was so fortunate to be able to choose to stay home with my kids, but I'm also so glad that my eldest went to kindy (pre-prep, or the stage two years before grade 1) so she could socialise to her heart's content and experience care from other adults. She's in prep this year. We have always gone to the dog park or the playground near our home for approximately 5-6 afternoons per week since both kids were babies, and also live near my parents, and have some other adult friends (neighbourhood friends met via the dog park), so both kids have socialised with other kids and adults that way. It's so important for their developing brain. Going to playgroups, library story/singing time, new playgrounds, new experiences, it's all good for them.
A homeschooled kid who doesn't go out much will probably have a very hard time when they're older, as they won't have had the chance to learn and practice social skills, or be exposed to people who are different from their parents. Also, consider your own mental health and whether being the sole person responsible for your child's education is a task you feel truly ready to take on.
As for the loneliness of being a SAHP... yeah, it's tough. I've made some local friends by going to the playground a lot and seeing the same people occasionally, if our kids get along well then being brave enough to ask for their number, organising playdates (either at houses or playgrounds). I also have other adult friends met via the dog park, people more likely to be in different phases of their lives so it's nice to not just have "friends who are also parents of young kids". You need to make sure you're making choices not just for your kid's wellbeing, but for your own too; as my mum likes to say, "you can't pour from an empty cup". If you're giving giving giving all the time, and not ensuring that you're getting what you need too, then that's not actually good for your kid either. Not only because you'll end up being sad and exhausted, but because they need to see what a functional, healthy, happy adult looks like because they may model themselves on you.
When things open again start going to play group, baby bounce n rhyme, etc. I made friends that way.
I used to take my kids to story time at the library and signed them up for all the free activities at the library and our local recquatic center. Our council also ran free activities such as vegetable planting, card making, science experiments etc. Check what’s going on in your area. The same parents were at everything so I made friends with them. They weren’t close friends but it was nice to have someone to chat to a couple of times a week. Some of the kids ended up going to the same school so I continued the friendships there. I’m a really shy quiet person too but spending an hour max with people was enough for me, it wasn’t too long so that I became uncomfortable. It was a nice way to meet people. Good luck. You’ll find your rhythm.
That was also our plan. I stayed at home for 5 years and had our 2 babies in that time. And it was so mentally debilitating. I had to go back to work I couldn't do it. It is incredibly hard.
I would check out some local activities/playgroups/community centers or PCYC's. You cand o a bit of volunteering also, not going back to work because of home schooling is all well and good but your child doesn't start school for an other 5-6 years, maybe get a job that is just 1-2 days a week and only a few hours. Just as a social thing?
The loneliest people are the ones who sit at home and wait for people to show up. Lots of great advice as to things you can do. I homeschooled my kids and it was a great experience for all but you have to put yourself out there and make efforts to give kids ways to socialize. My kids played sport, did drama, cubs, girl guides, choir. They both left home before the age of 21. Both have post school qualifications and work in there chosen fields
There are lots of home school groups. Contact your local one and ask if you can come along to a meet up.
Does it matter whether your friends are back at work? I mean you might have to schedule things around their work hours a bit but why not try to keep them as friends? I work part itme, I have mum friends who work full time, some who don't work, some who work from home etc, it doesn't matter at all.
That was the biggest surprise for me when I had my first, how damn lonely it was once all my new mum friends returned to work.
Harder at the moment as depending on where you live there probably aren’t any playgroups running (thanks Covid). But get involved with playgroups. I’m in qld and the local community and child health run free groups or there’s a bunch of others run by churches etc. you don’t have to be involved or attend a church to attend a playgroup.
Libraries are also fantastic, ours runs baby rhyme time and story time and there’s always other parents to chat to.
Mainly music is another group that we love going to, I think they’re Australia wide just google it.
I also found swimming lessons a great way meet other mums, especially when all the mums are in the pool with the kids during the baby classes. But I take my kids to a smaller, private swim school, not a large public pool.
You just have to put yourself out there and start up conversations, there’s a lot of other mums feeling the same loneliness.
Also look at toddler dance classes or ball skills programs. I know your LO is only 8months but it won’t be long before they’ll be running around and able to participate.
My eldest is 4.5 yrs and I only just feel like I’ve started making more meaningful connections and new mum friendships in the last year.
Thanks, this is definitely not a poor me post, just genuinely curious for some ideas. Thanks ladies. I guess now things are returning it should be easier to get out and about.
Keep your chin up mummy. It's early days in the parenting phase and there are a number of years before your little one is due to start school. I was fortunate to have 2 children and be a full time stay at home parent by choice. It was challenging, lonely (not by choice but lack of support from family and being the first in a friendship group to have children) and I made the decision to go back to work on a casual basis when my youngest was in kinder for the reason that I was sick of being by myself and finding myself lonely at home. I was never put in or introduced to a mothers group and have struggled with the fact that I haven't made alot of longer lasting friendships through uni or the parenthood journey thus far. During since covid work has been slower and I've found that the feelings of being lonely have crept back in and that i need to keep busy to take my mind off things. My advice would be to ride out the idea of homeschooling until your little one is nearly school age. Focus on the now and perhaps engage yourself with playgroups, library groups, going for a walk ect and consider your needs socially. Covid has made things very difficult and the feelings that you are having are very much in line with many mums at the moment I'm sure..sending you a hug x
Have you tried looking at notice boards or pamphlets at your doctors office or community centre for example?
I’d like to say it gets easier, but I don’t know that it does. I made the decision to stay home with my little one (now 1yr and 3yrs) and it gets really lonely. My mother’s group wasn’t particularly close and hardly anyone has stayed in touch, plus we moved so I don’t have many parent friends now. It make me feel sad sometimes if I’m honest.