I’m an introvert. At first, I thought this was a bad thing and that I needed to be more outgoing and extroverted. But, I realized, that we are all created differently, and being an introvert wasn’t something I needed to change. Deciding to homeschool was easy. However, as an introverted mom, the reality of constantly talking to little kids, having little space to myself as a stay-at-home mom, and the social events and activities that come with raising children hit me out of left field.
Challenges As An Introverted Homeschool Mom
There are a few challenges to homeschooling as an introverted mom. For some moms, the constant interacting with kids fills them with joy and energy. Going to all of the activities, co-ops, and playdates brings excitement to their experience. For me, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love being with my kids, having a front-row seat to their growth and development. I even enjoy seeing them socialize and interact with others. It’s just the lack of alone time that takes getting used to. Also, those kids your kids are playing with, come with adults that usually want to engage and have small talk.
Being Social Is Draining For Introverted Moms
Ok, so I don’t hate people, but I do feel completely drained after being around people. I enjoy myself when in the moment for the most part, but a two-hour social outing means two days of recovery for me.
I am a people-pleaser and working on growing out of that. So for me, being around people often means I am more concerned with performing instead of just being myself. I don’t want to do or say the wrong thing because I’ve been convinced that different is weird and not acceptable. If you’re an introvert, you probably know what I am talking about.
Overstimulation Is Hard
For introverts, overstimulation is extremely difficult. Children come with constant touching, talking, questioning, playing, toy clutter, noise, etc. While all a blessing, it is still very challenging when you need moments of pure silence without any little eyeballs looking at you. Complete alone time, just for a few minutes.
Again, I actually love being with “my people” and get so much joy out of being home full time and homeschooling. The overstimulation is just simply hard. Throw in the homemaking and woo wee, talk about overstimulation, that brain clutter takes things to another level.
Pandemic Struggles Even For An Introvert
Stay at home orders sounded great in the beginning because I didn’t have to talk my way out of socializing. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the freedom of getting us out of the house regularly until the choice was taken away. Even as an introvert, we still went out. Who wants to homeschool between four walls all day? That’s what traditional schooling was for in my opinion.
Before the pandemic, I could control where we went and at what time. I knew interactions would be short while my kids still had opportunities to socialize and be themselves. Now, to socialize, it has to be very limited and with the same few people in order to reduce the risk of illness or spread. This means I have to see the same people and socialize myself because we are spending consistent time together isolating.
So, how does an introverted mom thrive as a homeschooling mom? I have three tips that continue to help me on this journey.
3 Ways To Thrive In Homeschooling As An Introverted Mom
I want to thrive in homeschooling. It is truly a blessing to be in a position where I can be home full-time, and pursue a calling I received so long ago. I want you to thrive as well fellow introverted mom. Here are my three tips to help you on your journey.
Embrace Who God Created You To Be
First and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. Don’t let anyone try to convince you to change who you are. The world needs introverts just as much as it needs extroverts. There is strength in your vulnerability. Power in your calm. Beauty in your intimacy. Enjoyment in your reservation. We are needed in this fast-paced world.
Embrace who God created you to be. Know who you are.
Boundaries Are Your Best Friend
I never really understood why routines and boundaries were so important to me. I notice when I have them, I do so much better. My second tip would be to set boundaries in as many areas as you can. For example:
- family and friends that may have ideas of how you should homeschool or parent,
- don’t feel obligated to gather with people you don’t vibe with,
- home and cleaning routines are important,
- declutter toys, laundry, kitchen, etc.,
- time and commitments,
- activities, outings, and co-ops,
- and boundaries with your children and/or partner to make sure you have moments of uninterrupted alone time.
Make sure your children know that they are loved and that needing time alone or away isn’t about not wanting to spend time with them. Reminding them that everyone is different and some people need more alone time than others, but that it doesn’t mean you don’t want to spend time with them or don’t love them.
Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First
Dear introverted mom, take care of yourself first. You cannot pour from an empty cup. There is a reason we are instructed to put our own oxygen masks on first before helping another passenger. If you are not well, how can you care for your kids? Find a creative outlet.
Start with just 5 minutes. Find time for 5 minutes a day to yourself. Preferably before the kids wake up and you start your homeschool day. Use this 5-minute break throughout the day anytime you feel overwhelmed. Once it becomes routine, increase it little by little.
The key aspect of this is to have a conversation with your kids and family. If you have small kids, maybe you create a break-busy bin that they only get to play with during your 5-minute breaks. You don’t want them to feel like they are a burden.
The Beauty Of It All
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him” (Psalm 127: 3, NIV). This journey can be a blessing when we are aware of our unique personalities and write the narrative ourselves. Find support through other introverted homeschool moms, books, and online spaces. These books are a great start.
I have read the Introverted Mom twice and listening to it on audiobook makes me feel like I have a friend in the author. The second book is on my TBR (to be read) list. It was a recommendation in the book Introverted Mom.
Are you an introverted mom too? Share your tips on how to navigate homeschool life without burning out.