Monday, July 25, 2016

What Will We Do Without You?

Moms' Night Out!

I like answering questions. Ask me a question, and 98% of the time, I will have an answer. I have no problem sharing my opinions or experiences when asked. In fact, like many, I enjoy speaking my mind. So you have been warned!

Last summer I responded here to How Do You Do It All? and more recently answered How Are You Doing? But the question I was asked by friends before moving across Texas about a month ago that has been on my heart lately is What Will We Do Without You?

At the time, I mostly shrugged off the question. It was a time of difficult goodbyes, and I knew people meant well. Inside, I honestly was bothered by the repetition of this question, though, and at one point I did try to articulate why. Since I am sure I did not communicate well in that moment, I thought I would revisit my answer.

For those of you that know me IRL, yes, I realize you probably asked that rhetorical question merely to express your appreciation for all of my contributions to our community. And I thank you for your kindnesses and friendship, but I do have a challenge for you. For those of you who do not know me, as you read the following response, I invite you to think about that homeschooling mom who serves your community. I have met these women and heard about these women, and I know some of them probably feel just like me.

When I feel called to serve outside of my family, my passion is to provide support for, connect, and encourage Catholic homeschooling moms. So, my answer to What Will We Do Without You? is to encourage (or beg?) you to provide support for, connect, and encourage other Catholic homeschooling moms.

It can be very simple to reach out to new homeschooling mothers. If you have been homeschooling at least one year, being present to another mom, in my experience, can mean the difference between peace and anxiety over her daily choices. Listen to her. Share your experiences, the good and the bad. Loan her books and answer her questions. Give her a call, send her a text, or invite her for tea!

If you are in a season of life where you are able to go a step further, I challenge you to get homeschooling moms together. This can be easier than it sounds and building personal relationships is crucially important to our Christian walk. A park day, a moms' night out, coffee, breakfast, whatever! It doesn't have to be a large event, strategically planned, or a long-term commitment. Just pick a date, time, and location and invite a few other moms, or your whole homeschool email group! (If you want a more formal event to nourish mamas, I highly recommend putting together a Grace Day!)

And if you feel like access to support and encouragement is as key to a homeschool family's success as I do, then volunteer as a leader for your local homeschool group, conference, or co-op. None of us have the time, but all those wonderful gatherings do not happen without time and talent. Many hands make light work. Etc. Etc. Please help! It might just be your turn to say yes.

Please remember one more thing about those mamas who seem essential to the cohesiveness and success of your homeschool group and community. They may do a lot and serve on boards or committees, and you have no idea how they do it all (most of us don't). But if they are anything like me, they do what they do because they need support and encouragement, too. Just like you, they regularly feel the weight of this homeschooling journey and are bolstered by their connections with you!

So, what can you do to reach out and fill the void this year? How can you serve your homeschooling community in some small or big way?

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