What About Socialization ... for Mom?
- Tuesday, June 21, 2011
As a homeschooling mother, I've often gotten the "What about socialization?" question. My typical response is, "While it's hard to do, we try not to socialize too much!" There are so many opportunities out there for our kids that if we're not careful, we'll end up doing more socializing than schooling.
Socialization, however, isn't just a question for our kids. What about us as moms? Do we need socialization? If we do, what should it look like?
"My life is perfect!" she said. "I'm doing what I love. I get to stay home with my children. My husband is home every day by 4 p.m. I love our home. God is good."
Never before had I met anyone who viewed life with such peace and confidence. It was not with arrogance that she spoke, but with gentle meekness. Two weeks before, my family had packed up our home of nine years to move three hours south so my husband could attend college. Not only would we be several hours from my close-knit family, but my husband would be attending school full-time during the day and working full-time in the evenings. I knew the children and I would be lonely. I had one prayer: "Lord, please bring friends into our lives."
Before long, I met a lady at the local library who invited us to a "Just Because" party. Since we had nothing else to do other than unpack a few boxes, I agreed to go, much to my children's delight. So there I sat under a shade tree, drinking punch, watching my children eat cake, play games, and meet new friends—and making a new friend of my own.
As it turned out, my new "life is perfect" friend and I both loved to walk in the mornings. We decided to meet every morning at 5:30 to walk together before our husbands left the house. During these mornings we discovered our shared love for the Lord, and our hearts knitted together as believers. Since we both had small children, it had always been nearly impossible to have an hour of uninterrupted time to talk with a friend. But here we could. In a few days, we felt like we had known each other for years. The Lord had certainly answered my prayer. And even though that was several years ago and we now live over 500 miles apart, we are still close sisters.
Friendships are very important. Not only that, but they are direct blessings from the Lord God Himself. "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel" (Proverbs 27:9). I don't know what I would do without the friends I have made over the years. The value of a true friend is priceless. This is especially true for a mother who stays home all day.
For those who homeschool, being involved in a support group is a blessing. There are many mothers who would have given up that first year without the needed support and friendships made in such groups. And don't forget what a treat Moms' Night Out can be! These can be evenings set aside for mothers to come together to fellowship, encourage one another, laugh, and sometimes cry. Socialization at ladies Bible studies and retreats can be very valuable to our spiritual walk. And what mom doesn't need girlfriends to share a cup of coffee or talk with on the phone?
However, just as our kids can spend too much time socializing, mothers can fall into "too much socialization" as well. As followers of Christ, as wives and mothers, our number one priority is our home (Titus 2:4-5)! Too many times I have seen women become codependent upon their friends, neglecting their own families and in doing so, neglecting the Lord. While there is a need for fellowship, it must have its proper place in our lives. Too much of a good thing can certainly take us away from the best things.
When it comes to socialization, what does a healthy friendship look like? First and foremost, our friends must be believers."Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).
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