5 Temptations of the Introverted Homeschool Mom
I am proud to be an introvert, although I didn’t always feel this way.
When I was younger, in my 20’s, I thought there was something wrong with me. I may not even have really known that I was an introvert.
I wanted to have friends and to be with them and I had a small friend group of about 4 women that I got together with regularly.
Not one of them was homeschooling, but all of our children were friends and those women were some of the best friends I’ve ever had.
So of course introverts can have many friends, enjoy them and want to be with them. We can even enjoy social events, such as parties and having friends over.
The difference, is that instead of being energized by this activity, it drains us.
I see this truth with my very extroverted husband. He loves to have people over, to go out and to be social with everyone he meets. He once told me that he could have fun in a paper sack and that is most definitely true for him.
How does all of this translate to homeschooling?
After 20 years of living this lifestyle as an introverted homeschool mom, I have learned a lot.
Read on for the 5 temptations that us introverted homeschool moms face and how to overcome them!
The 5 Misktakes
These are 5 temptations that we must fight as an introverted homeschool mom, things that could get us into trouble if we let them.
I guess you could say these are 5 mistakes I have made in my life and the lessons I have learned. I want to pass them onto you so you don’t make the same ones.
- Push yourself to get out there.
- Recognize your extroverted children and honor that.
- Set social boundaries, but not too much.
- Encourage your introverted children and make them get out there.
- Be intentional about your own friendships.
Push Yourself to get out there
Being introverted doesn’t mean you don’t like people.
It means that people drain our energy and we must have alone time to fill up our batteries again.
Because of this draining, we tend to prefer being alone. Being alone makes us happy, fills up our tanks and helps us regroup and figure out life.
However, since it’s so easy to stay in this happy place, we tend to neglect our social lives.
It is important to have friendships and relationships outside of your house and to invest in other people.
Introverts have so much to offer and we are doing the world a disservice by keeping it to ourselves.
And even though it’s a push, it’s important to not neglect this aspect of life. So it is vitally important to challenge yourself to get out among people and show them who you are!
You are an amazing person!
Don’t keep her all to yourself!
Find ways to join coops, Bible studies, book clubs. Stick around during your child’s sports practice and talk to people, text those moms and ask them to go to coffee. If you get invited to your husband’s work party, go.
There are many ways to get out into the world. Find one and challenge yourself to do it!
Recognize your extroverted children and honor that.
Out of 6 children, I have 3 that are very extroverted.
And a husband who joins them in that.
It has been difficult for me over the years, but one thing I learned when my oldest was very young, around 5 years old, was how important social interaction is for my extroverted children.
Just like I desperately need that alone time to recharge, they need social interaction just as desperately.
And as the mom, it’s easy to just lay down the law and say no to too much socialness.
However, we are raising strong, confident humans, and to neglect this part of their soul is unfair and unwise.
If you were forced to go to parties every day, you would become a shell of a person–at least I would.
It is imperative that you honor this aspect of your extroverted child’s personality.
They need to be out in the world. Homeschooling can be isolating. For us introverts, it’s great!
But for our extroverted children it can feel like a death sentence.
And just like you don’t have to be alone every single day, your children don’t have to be with friends daily, but you do need to be intentional about it.
Put them in coops, have them take a class at the local public high school, put them in sports, church activities, 4H, or other extra curricular activities.
If a mom invites them to join a chess club, let them go.
I know, it’s so much running around and so much extra energy for you. This goes against every fiber in your introverted being, but these are your babies!
We want what’s absolute best, and respecting this side of your child IS what is best for them.
You do not want them to wither.
They need to be watered with regular social activities.
Of course, set boundaries so your family isn’t in the car all the time, but don’t forget how deeply important this is for them.
Set social boundaries, but not too much
Since we’re talking about boundaries, this leads to the next item on our list: setting social boundaries.
One way I’ve done this is to limit the number of activities that my children do.
We have always said one activity per year. If they want to play volleyball, they can do any volleyball related activity, but that’s it.
My oldest 2 children both chose year round activities (dance and horses), so that was smart on their part, but it was still limited to that.
I do want my children to be in 4H, so that was a mom-inflicted activity, but they did enjoy it and my younger children are still very involved in 4H.
You also need to set boundaries around your own introversion.
As an introvert is very easy to plunge into alone time, but setting a boundary around that is important. You don’t want to miss your children growing up, so disappearing every night to your bedroom is probably not a good idea, although it would feel so good.
We must do everything in moderation and with intentionality, so only allow yourself a certain amount of alone time.
Another way I have met this need in a moderated way, is to be focused on the present and to thoroughly enjoy moments of alone time when I get them.
One example is taking a shower. I relish that time alone and use it as a regroup time. I try not to worry and fret about things. I will turn on music or a podcast and listen to that and just try to relax. Usually nobody will bother me in the shower.
Another time you can steal like this is in the car. If you happen to be in between picking up kids, or you’re going to the grocery store without kids, you can be intentional about this time, using it to regroup and satisfy that alone time you need.
Be present and enjoy these small alone times you get here and there and it will help tremendously.
Encourage your introverted children
Having introverted children is probably more of a struggle, at least for me, than having extroverted children.
I have one, my second child, who is very introverted, maybe even more than I am!
I worry about her being depressed, I worry about her being alone, not having friends, and a myriad of other issues.
Although she is a great kid, with strong social skills and is doing great in life, I have always worried about her introversion, even though I deeply understand it.
I think it’s important to let them be introverted, to tell them they can be strong leaders and also be this way. Introverts tend to think there is something wrong with them, since the world values extroverted personalities, but encouraging our introverted child is vitally important.
They need to hear that they are wonderful the way they have been created, ideas on how to use their introversion to be successful and that you understand and love them just the way they are.
They also need to be encouraged to get out among the living and to go to social events, do things with friends and to even have friends over.
They don’t naturally think this way, so helping them to recognize the importance of beings social is a valuable thing you can do as a parent.
Modeling that for them and talking about these things, out in the open, is helpful for our kids to identify who they are and being able to deal with it, instead of being blind sided and beating themselves up when they keep turning down friend invites.
They may think, “What is wrong with me?” But if they have been taught these concepts, they will be able to recognize their introversion as an asset and accept the invitation or deny it without guilt.
Be intentional about your own friendships.
This also goes for us introverted moms. We have to be intentional about our friendships.
Invite that woman to coffee, send her a text and tell her you’re thinking about her.
Offer to babysit her kids or take her a meal for no reason.
I know you’d rather be with you kids in your house and the energy it takes to reach out can feel taxing. But it is important to not keep yourself secluded.
We need friendships, I know you know this. But the days get away from us. We’re so busy—and completely happy hanging out with our kids all day, no social pressure, no awkward silences—that it’s hard to remember to reach out.
We fall into bed exhausted and think, “How could I even fit in a friendship?”
But we need it.
You need it, momma.
Think of it as self care.
Nurturing these friendships with other women helps us be better moms, better people. So being intentional about this, making the time, setting the date, and then actually doing it.
You will be happier in the long run.
Thank you for being here!
I appreciate all of you!
I hope this helped you see being an introverted homeschool mom from a different angle.
Introverts are powerful forces and we can do a lot for the world. Sometimes we just need to see it for ourselves.