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Caught between SAHM and HSing mom worlds...


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Let me first say that I feel a little bit juvenile in even coming to anyone with this but I'm feeling a bit of an identity crisis and just hoped that maybe some of you have been here and have some jewels of wisdom to share....

 

I have been involved with a community of women, 4 of which have been the "core" of the group for about 3 years.  We meet weekly for organized Bible study, meet up at least monthly for a planned mom's night out, have scheduled and impromptu playdates and other meet ups and sometimes just hang out at each other's house after kids are off to bed and hubbies are home.  I call them my girls.  Our kids are all around the same age (we met at MOPS) and so it was very compatible.  Two years ago, my hub and I decided to homeschool our kids.  The first year was not a big deal as my kids were not much older than the other preschoolers at Bible study and at our meet ups.  Last year, I started having issues as they hated those times when I met up with my friends because of the widening age gap.  Over the summer, I would get text invites for various meet ups but most often, would have to decline because we are working on our lessons year round (a decision based largely on the fact that I'm attending Bible study with them weekly and another day of primary learning missed for weekly co-op).  At the same time, I've missed opportunities to build relationships with other homeschooling moms because I was committed first to my already established group of girls.  This past week, our local schools started back and the other 3 ladies met for coffee.  This is the first time they've made plans without me....as far as I know.  It really hurt to have been left out but I absolutely understand.  I think it's a symptom of the problem (not the problem itself), that we are loosing our points of connection due to the divergence of our lifestyles.  But it still hurt.  So basically, I feel like I've been straddling between the worlds of stay at home mom and homeschooling mom.  So, what do you think?  Am I being silly to let homeschooling drive a wedge between me and social group/community or to even think that it is?  Am I naïve to think that I can maintain community with these ladies?  Should I just accept that I'm unable to participate and therefore expect not to be included to extent I have in the past but continue to be present when I can and not get my feelings hurt as I'm included less often?  I have to believe that some of you have been in a similar situation so I'd love to hear your advice.  Thanks!

 

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Logistically, you are going to be pulled apart because of your schedules, as  you've seen.  Socially you don't have to be pulled apart but honestly probably will be.  I do have friends who are non-homeschoolers but we've had to work harder to get together and we do not get together with the frequency that you were getting together with your "girls".  I wouldn't drop them, but I would look for some more homeschool friends.  I suspect that over time you will find new friends that will click better schedule wise.  

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I don't know what the answer is but I experienced something similar.  I was a member of a local Mom's Club from shortly after my youngest was born.  I was in charge of playgroups, recording secretary/member of the board, did Book Club, etc.  Very involved.  But starting around when my kids were 4 years old it was much harder to do activities.  Most of the kids their age were going to preschool so the playgroups stopped, then book club was taken over by someone with younger kids, and as the kids reached school age, most of the moms didn't do the daytime kid centered activities.  They might do Mom's Night Out or meet up once the kids were at school.  I could have continued with MNO, but I couldn't meet childless during the school day because my kids were still home.  

 

I ended up not paying to continue to be a member and switched to activities mainly with homeschool groups.   Now, I'm working outside the home and don't fit in well with those groups either.  The kids at least still have activities they attend.   :tongue_smilie:

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I wouldn't be hurt that they didn't invite you. The reality is your schedules no longer mesh together as well as they used to.there is no reason you need to assume the friendships are ending, just merely changing. I have a sahm friend who does not homeschool. She is one of my best friends but now that my oldest is officially schooling our schedule isn't as open so we won't see each other weekly like we used to. It'll be more like once a month simply because our schedules don't work together anymore since I'm not as free to schedule things as she is.

 

If they are as close as you mention then just talk to them about it.

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Perhaps you could get together in the evenings at a park or a mutual kids' extracurricular activity.

If that doesn't work, it might be time to make new friends.

 

I have lost some friends over the years due to switching jobs and then becoming a mom, and just being too darn busy to find a mutual time to get together.  I just stay open to the people I meet in newer activities.

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I think that it is just part of life. I, too, experienced something similar when I started homeschooling. And again, when ds1 hit 8th grade and we just couldn't pick up and go for park or zoo days anymore. Throw in a serious commitment to athletics (a surprising source of dissension and comment) and homeschooling friends dropped off as well.

I found that no matter how close I thought all those friendships were, they were much more like work friends. I changed companies and then departments and we just didn't have that much in common anymore. Mostly because we didn't see each other very often. Now, most of my circle is swim team friends. I am sure it will change again.

It is hard, but keeping a good attitude and continuing your friendly ways will go a long way in finding a new group of girls.

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I have 2 friends that I have known for 15 years (both long time homeschoolers). We were each other's support most of those years.  One put her children into  school, but we vowed to keep a connection and we did because we had been friends for so long.  We didn't see her nearly as much because of differences in schooling choices, but we still got together occasionally.  I think it depends on how close the relationship is.  Since ours had been so long, I think that made the difference.  Now, all 3 of us have our dc in school so we are seeing each other a lot again.  

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You have to think of yourself as a work-at-home mom with a schedule, even if your schedule is flexible. The MOPS friends weere phase-of-life friends and the homeschooling moms are shared-interest friends. They're just different situations. You didn't get invited to coffee because those ladies wanted a kid-free coffee date. I'm sure they still love you dearly, but when you take a break from your own kids the last thing you want is to have the conversation interrupted, or censored by, someone else's kids.

 

I'd make a point of meeting the mops friends in the evening, but not expect to be part of the excursions that are planned to be sans school-aged kids. For daytime socialization it's just more practical to do homeschooling events so that your kids can play with other school-aged children. You're not 'excluding' your mops friends by not inviting them to homeschool park days, it's just not the time or place. Life IS change. You can see the good in it, or dwell on the negatives. That's totally up to you.

 

I think the real test is when you meet back up after being separated for a while. Is it awkward, or do you pick right up where you left off? Some friendships last and some fade away.

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This is what has happened here--no longer the connection with the younger moms. Yeah, we can't blow a whole day looking at the firehouse or playing in the mud. Wish we could, but there's orchestra and string ensemble and work and drama club and sports... Someone asked me why I haven't been at the little kids stuff and I have to admit, it was hard to say that we'd hadn't been invited.

 

I MISS little kid homeschooling. It was nice that you could get a legitimate school day knocked out in two hours and just get out and play all day afterwards. We were definitely spoiled.

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I was in a similar situation, MOPS even.   I had this group, we did all this stuff together for a few years and then it was time to move on.   But, I didn't want to at first and I felt hurt and frustrated.

 

Then when we had started homeschooling, I made 2 really good friends with girls my daughter's age, and that was great for about 5 years.  We did all kinds of things together and I felt blessed by them.

 

Now suddenly this year, I am finding myself entering a new phase.   DD is in middle school, and we can't just run around and do everything anymore.   One friend moved away recently, and the other friend has 5 kids she is homeschooling that are getting older.   We still try to get our girls together, but it's been much harder for us to get together this year.   More people are dropping out of homeschooling at this age, and kids this age are involved in a lot of activities.  I started to feel blue about the whole situation, and then I remembered my MOPS experience.   It's just a new phase in life, and I just have to roll with it.

 

I don't know if that helps at all.   But, when you are raising children it's really hard to maintain friendships that aren't based on shared activities or life phases.   If you work outside the home, I think it's more likely you will be friends with the people you work with, just like when your job is homeschooling you are more likely to friends with homeschoolers.   And specifically homeschoolers who have children similar to your children's ages.   It's not snobbery, it's just practicality.

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American culture is particularly bad a living life in chapters.  Somehow, Americans tend to think things are always going to stay the same when, of course, the only thing constant is change.

 

I think we say things we can't hear and don't always think through sometimes.  How many of us homeschoolers talk about how much we like being able to set our own schedules?  Then we turn around and talk about how hard it is to meet up with people because our schedules are so different. How did we not know that would happen? There are pros and cons to everything, but somehow we have a harder time seeing the cons when we like the pros.

 

Homeschooling very young children is very flexible.  As they get older and homeschooling gets more intense, most homeschoolers get less flexible. Middle School and High school are even more so for most.  Remember that homeschooling is a full time job and so is running a household with kids in it all day or most of the day.  Households without kids in them for 6-7 hours a day 5 days a week, 9 months a year requires less from mom.  People make choices and every choice has consequences-good, neutral and bad.  That's just how life is.

 

Keeping the same closeness to the same friends through out different chapters of life doesn't happen.  We make new friends, closeness ebbs and flows and sometimes we lose contact with people.  Assuming no one is behaving badly, that's just how life is-there's nothing wrong with that.

 

If you want to keep up with them, you'll have to plan and coordinate with them.  It will take effort to make it happen. There's nothing wrong with that.
 

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It just happens as circumstances change. Like someone mentioned upthread, I think of myself as a mom who works from home. My schedule and constraints have more in common with my friends who work for money outside the home than those who are home and don't have a paying job. Although, TBH, I don't think I actually know anyone who is a stay at home, non-homeschooling mom. I guess I have one SIL.

 

I went through something similar with my homeschooling friends who are unschoolers. They like to play it footloose and fancy free when it comes to schedules and some took umbrage when I stopped having every afternoon free for playdates because we had lessons. It doesn't mean we don't see each other, it just means it is different. I am not one of the homeschooling moms who is at every social even and day at the park because we have lessons to get through. Oh well.

 

I find it helps if I use the language of work when I talk about my life. I say things like "I can't do that, I am at work during the day", or 'those are my work hours, but I can see you on the weekend.' things like that help others see me as what I am, a woman with a job that has daily responsibilities. 

 

 

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I am sure your friends still love and care about you but they know that you just aren't available right now.  I think that you need to focus on what is best for you and your family at the moment, and that might be finding some new friends to do things with for the times you are available.  If you just can't meet during the day, then it is just the way it is. 

 

I just started homeschooling and had to ditch my morning Bible study group, but luckily I also have a group of night gals so I'm just sticking with them.  It doesn't mean I don't still love my other girls or they don't love me, but my priorities and life have changed.  I told them to think of me if they ever need a night out because I'll be want to get out from time to time.  You may just have to try to find something that will work for you, or see if they would like to get out for an adult night out.

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I just wanted to add that I think it's ok to acknowledge that you feel hurt even while recognizing it's part of a change in your situation and very normal as you go from one phase of life to another. For me it's the kind of thing where my head knows it's normal and that the other Moms didn't invite me because they know I'm busy homeschooling and they want a kid-free outing, but my heart still feels sad. I don't think you should feel bad that you feel bad, if you know what I mean. 

 

I agree with others that it does become harder to keep that connection over time as your lives change. It's normal but that doesn't make it any less tough. 

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I think that if you want to keep that group of friends in your life, you can't sit around and wait for invitations.

 

Find a date and time that works for you and invite them out for lunch or coffee.

 

If you're not actively making a point to stay in touch with them, they may be thinking you're the one dumping them, and not the other way around. (I'm not saying they think you're being mean, but just that they figure they are no longer a priority in your life because you are too busy with other things.)

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The same thing happened to me, but I made homeschooling friends, and I still see my non-homeschooling friends at other get togethers (church, the park, and so on). When circumstances change so do our primary groups of friends. You will not lose your other friends as long as you try to maintain some kind of relationship. :)

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This is what has happened here--no longer the connection with the younger moms. Yeah, we can't blow a whole day looking at the firehouse or playing in the mud. Wish we could, but there's orchestra and string ensemble and work and drama club and sports... Someone asked me why I haven't been at the little kids stuff and I have to admit, it was hard to say that we'd hadn't been invited.

 

 

I MISS little kid homeschooling. It was nice that you could get a legitimate school day knocked out in two hours and just get out and play all day afterwards. We were definitely spoiled.

I agree with both of these posts. It's HARD with older kids. They have jobs, volunteer duties and serious extra-curricular activities that take up a lot of time (music, theater, debate, scouts, etc). Many of them take community college classes. It is much harder than it used to be to carve out time to meet up strictly to hang out with other homeschoolers. Throw into the mix a medical issue that takes a lot of planning, and it is *rough*.

 

eta: I do also agree that you may need to be the one initiating get togethers with your other ladies, a movie out, meet for coffee, etc. You definitely will need to be doing more initiating, if you are sort of turning them down a lot.

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I agree that it is just another phase/stage of life.

 

When my kids were younger, I belonged to a MOMS Club. We got together several times/wk and the young ones played while the moms had coffee and talked. School would roll around and some would become "Empty Nesters" and meet up for shopping, coffee, or the art museum while the kids were at work. As the years went by, my core group went from having kids at home during the to being Empty Nesters, and I was left out because my kids were home.  But do you know what the next stage of life was for those moms?  They all ended up getting jobs, part-time or full-time, and they weren't able to catch a Matthew McConaughey movie at 11 a.m. on a weekday either.  So eventually we ended up leaving MOMS Club and planning evening and weekend get-togethers that fit our evolving schedules.  We don't get together as frequently as we did when we were all simply SAHM, but we do make a point of seeing each other when we can.

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I think we say things we can't hear and don't always think through sometimes.  How many of us homeschoolers talk about how much we like being able to set our own schedules?  Then we turn around and talk about how hard it is to meet up with people because our schedules are so different. How did we not know that would happen? There are pros and cons to everything, but somehow we have a harder time seeing the cons when we like the pros.

 

No matter how much I hate unchanging routines, I must admit that I once in a while wish we still lived in a society where everyone did laundry on Monday, baking on Tuesday, etc. (whatever the schedule was) so that it isn't so hard to make friends and keep in touch.

 

OP--Since you've gone to great lengths to keep in touch (rearranging homeschooling to fit this group), I would try to be realistic with the friends and tell them that you want to keep in touch, it may just not be possible to do everything together. I would hope they are willing to schedule some of the mom-only events at times you can come if the group is more about your friendships than getting the kids together. 

 

I would try to do more stuff with some homeschooling moms too if you can. I personally find that homeschooling schedules don't really mesh any better with me, but that's because I can't get out in the evenings without kids as often--DH's work schedule varies a lot, and he works a lot of evenings. I do have a couple of recurring options that schedule far enough in advance that I can plan for them. If my husband worked standard hours, I would have different opportunities.

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I think that if you want to keep that group of friends in your life, you can't sit around and wait for invitations.

 

Find a date and time that works for you and invite them out for lunch or coffee.

 

If you're not actively making a point to stay in touch with them, they may be thinking you're the one dumping them, and not the other way around. (I'm not saying they think you're being mean, but just that they figure they are no longer a priority in your life because you are too busy with other things.)

This is exactly right. I am in a phase right now where I kinda don't have time for friends, unless they are people who happen to be where I am already. (It's one reason I like to come here; I can have conversations with people who feel like friends and someone I "know" is bound to be here shortly, if not just now!) i'm sure some of my non-homeschooling friends feel neglected by me, but I don't have a lot of time to get together. This is a jam-packed season of my life and I just can't worry about it.

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Over time your friends may indeed change.  I have friends whose kids are in public school, but we've kept track of each other over the years.  All of the Mom's groups I was involved in when they were little have broken up -- people have moved, gone back to work, etc.

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Thanks all.  It was really nice to hear your thoughts, advice, personal experiences and permission to grieve what seems to be the possible end to a season.  Yes, I did work really hard, especially this last year, to "keep up" with them because I love them so dearly and long to build long-term friendships with a robust history.  While it's been a bit of an identity crisis for awhile, it was certainly this particular event that really spoke to me that I needed to grieve it (the season, not the lack of invitation) and start investing in ladies who are similarly purposed (and available). 

 

I would love to be able to ask one of them why I wasn't included but that just sounds so juvenile and petty and embarrassing.  I think the purpose was to support the one who was having her first experience sending her oldest to Kindergarten.  The other 2 still had little ones with them so it wasn't a kid-free coffee, probably 3x 3yr olds and a 1 yr old between them still tagging along with the moms.  So I think I wasn't included because it was intended to support that first experience of sending your oldest to K and it didn't apply to me (even though I did actually send my oldest to K and 1st grade public).   Again, like PP mentioned, I do think I understand the why but it hurts all the same. 

 

I committed any social opportunities free time to them so I wasn't making any connections with my fellow HSing moms.  Looking ahead, I think that's one of the biggest take away realizations.  I need moms to meet me for coffee who can get what I'm going through with particular experiences relating to our homeschooling journey. 

 

I also like that perspective changes things.  I had not considered that they may have felt like I dumped them.  Definitely gonna explore that a bit more.  Thanks again for the encouragement.

 

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