Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Homeschooling Introvert

When the girls were all small, I would read things, or hear other moms talk, about their longing for adult conversation.  All I longed for was NO conversation.  I didn't need to spend time talking to others.  I needed -- I craved -- quiet.  All that noise, all those needs, all those things that come with having small children at home.  It wore me out.

And then we decided to homeschool.  I'll admit -- I was the one who brought it up.  I felt like it was probably the best thing for our family.  But it still didn't change my need for quiet.  It didn't still all the noise, the needs, the constant talking.

As we have continued on this journey, the girls have gotten older, more self-sufficient in their daily needs.  And the pressure is less.

I am still an introvert.  I still choose to homeschool.  Now I am finding the joy in that journey.

Homeschooling as an introverted mom is not always easy.  It is a lot of work, as is any worthwhile task.  But it is getting easier.  The conversations are less "Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, I need ______________ (some physical need)" and more "Mama, I've been struggling with ________________ (some spiritual matter)."  There's less jump and run to prevent catastrophe, and more discussions of why something is/was a bad idea, and what consequences would follow.

I wish someone had told me that introverted parenting and homeschooling wouldn't always be the draining experience of the early days.  I wish someone would have told me that someday, I would genuinely enjoy my children.  That the things that truly drained me most would be outgrown.

Now, all three are at camp this week.  Sleeping away from home.  Fidget for the first time.  I am enjoying the quiet, the alone-ness that comes with having no one else at home during the day.  But it's not the desperate "where is all my alone time going?!" feeling that it would have been before.  I look forward to having them home, to picking them up and hearing all about their new friends, and the time in the pool, and the good food they ate, and all the silly songs they will be singing for months after this week ends.

In part, I am learning that it is OK to be an introvert, that it does not make me a bad parent.  That need for quiet is just a part of who I am created to be.  What would make me a bad parent is letting it rule everything, demanding always to get what makes me comfortable.  Learning to balance what I truly need with what the children truly need is a constant job.  One I hope to get right one day.