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  1. #1
    Senior Member Arrived lakshmi's Avatar
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    Cool Parental Friendships

    Over the years, I've made friends at various times. Most of those times involved work or school. But friendships also seemed to be a secondary thing, or so easily encountered that no extra energy was spent to find or keep them. Maybe this says something more about selfishness, lol, that anything else?

    But recently I had the pleasure of making a friend, who get this, lives close, homeschools, is pretty much awesome all around. I hadn't even realized that this was something that was missing.

    As my children have grown, I've made choices about social outings based on them. How many times have I said, Can the girls come? Oh, sorry i can't make it that late, the girls bedtime is 7:30. Or I can't get a sitter. (Even using this one when the Mandatory Fun Functions didn't sit well with me.) We are even part of a co-op to provide some sort of community for the two special people in my life. I'm learning to keep my mouth shut [hard to believe if you've read any of the other posts here...] when people have different views. Every now and then I'lll let loose something when I feel particularly over-caffienated.

    A lot of folks come here to SHS and feel "at home" other people do not, obviously. This is sort of a multi-part question.

    1) How do we negate our own needs for relationship, for those of our children/family/spouses.

    2) Are online friends actually friends? Does it count that there can be a connection for a thread, or is it simple just a forum. For example, could I say, "my friend..... insert username here...said, " Does your spouse say, "oh did you miss your friends" if s/he sees the GREEN SHS screen?

    3) What types of things have you done to "get" your kids friends/experiences? Like if you hated farms or animals and put your kid in 4-h. Or anything that you were opposed to before kids or before homeschooling.

    I chose homeschool issues to put this in because one of the major differences of homeschooling, even more than being a SAHM, is the possible lack of making new friendships or trouble keeping the old, for various reasons.

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  3. #2

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    Lakshmi, like I've said before, I only make an effort to talk to people in real life for my dd's sake. I am a member of a homeschooling group just for my dd's sake. And I drive 45mins for their activities just so my dd can socialize with other kids. Like I already said, I've never made connections with anyone so far, except for a friend who is also an Indian, and home schools her kids.
    I'm happy being a recluse if not for my dd's need to socialize. I'm new to this forum, so I'll give it sometime before I call someone here my best buddy. But I love the camaraderie we all seem to share here. I do want some kind of association with people, at least on the internet if not in real life. I really do like it a lot here.
    Mom to dd who is 8 years old. Eclectically homeschooling, using time4learning as our base curriculum. And we sometimes digress to unschooling methods.

  4. #3

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    Online is tricky because you can't just go around saying, so, are you my friend ? Sometimes you get burned b/c you think you have a connection with someone but it turns out you don't. Some of us over think these things Idk. I spend way too much time here, but as I said to dh recently, "Remember how I used to cry when you got home from work because I was so lonely all week in my conservative Christian h/s cohort ? I don't do that anymore.' And I don't, because this forum meets the need for me to have h/s colleagues who offer good advice, mentoring and humour and the opportunity for me to return that favour sometimes. I guess I wouldn't presume to have an online friendship here unless it spilled out of the forum and into the rest of my life. Otherwise you are trusting someone as a friend who could simply not be there tomorrow if they quit the forum or stopped blogging or whatever, and that would be that. Where I invest, I invest loyally and tenaciously, qualities that don't transfer well to the emphemeral nature of cyberspace. I feel like I am always open to friendships though.

    Getting friends...well, for ds, co-op, always saying yes to having another little buddy over, being nice to parents when I'd rather read. Saying yes to stuff I'd rather say no to!

    For dd12 - she sorts herself out for friends.

    For dd14 - well, I've tried running homeschool groups, classes, activities. Dance. Volunteering. It's hard when you are 14 and in love with crafting and history and every other 14 year old girl is into boys and lip gloss. She's always been the odd one out because she's quiet and quirky in her interests and preoccupations. She is the one I agonise over most. I would do anything to help her have a really good, close friendship.

    I see my bf fairly often - she normally comes over once a week or so for morning tea. She is good friends with my kids too. We text a lot as well. We take a break from school to spend time with her. Another friend, who is my dd12's best friend's mother, comes over for the day about once a term, to sew, eat, chat. We take the day off for that too.

    Then I spend a fair bit of time with my sister and my Mum. The kids are normally along for the ride too.

    I don't do much solo socialising without the kids. I guess that will change as they grow older. Dh and I don't do much socialising sans kids either; babysitters are too $ and I need to 'save' family babysitting for when I have medical appts. We don't do couples socialising either; dh is too anti-social.

    It's all kind of working out, except for my eldest. She is lonely and will get even lonelier when her sister goes to school next year

    eta Hey Lakshmi, that's good news about your new friend I am happy for you.
    Last edited by Stella M; 09-19-2011 at 03:49 AM.

  5. #4

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    I was just reading in Medina's "Brain Rules for Baby" how moms neglect their female relationships at exactly the time they really need them.

    DH and I are social introverts and truly best friends, so that meets a lot of my social needs. I think my biggest challenge is that we have had 3 cross-country moves in the last 6 years. It seems to take a year or more to meet ANYONE, and then just when I have a bit of a social life, we move.

    For the decade I was in college, it seemed to take at most a couple days to make more new friends than I could handle, even when I went on a 3mo fellowship or attended a conference. But as a married adult with kids and working from home, I have met 2 neighbors with whom I exchange words about once every 2 months in this year since our last move. My friends are the people I still converse with long distance (occasionally and electronically) from those college days.

    It's good my kids are content with each other and a martial arts class. I really need to do more to get them connected -- this is the only place we've lived where the neighborhood kids are totally absent. I keep dithering on joining a local hs/AP/or secular group -- I seem to think if I dither long enough I'll divine which is best for us without having to actually put myself out there. Ha!

  6. #5
    Senior Member Enlightened hreneeh's Avatar
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    Boy did this hit home. I have one more issue. I move constantly. We are a military family and in the last 4 years we've moved 3 times. We are set to move again in May just 11 months after we moved here. So yeah making friends is not a high priority for me. I always make sure my son gets out and makes friends and meets people but it just isn't a priority in my life. Sort of a why bother when I'm leaving in 15 months. I have always made superficial friends, the kind that can help out in a jam or you have coffee with but noone I would share my deepest darkest thoughts with. I only have my husband for that. Sometimes that sucks when he IS the deepest darkest secret. Here I've made friends with someone who I can see keeping in contact for a while after we move, but if we don't, oh well, I'll enjoy it while it lasts. I'm in the middle of making a major life change (gastric bypass surgery) and I have made sure to look for support for that both online and IRL. I find that the "real" me is more prevalent online as I don't have to mince words to keep the peace. I can be openly atheist online and not fear retribution for my children or husband's job. It's nice and if I didn't' have the internet I don't know if I could be a military spouse. I'd go nuts. That's a lot of rambling, sorry.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Enlightened Elphie's Avatar
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    I have a few friends that live nearby but they both work outside the home so our schedules differ. We get together for dinner every couple of months. My kids are friends with their kids and we all go camping together once every summer and try to get the families together a couple times a year at our homes. Other than that we keep in touch on Facebook. I'm happy with that. I don't feel like I need a huge group of people to be friends with.

    I have one friend that has been my BFF since Kindergarten. We live in different cities and live completely different lives but when we get together it's like we were never apart. I think we are closer than sisters. My actual sister lives across the country and I do wish she was closer.

    I like to hang out in online forums because they put me in touch with people who share the same interests as I do. I feel very at home here and I'm very glad to have found a group of people who understand what I am going through as a new homeschooler. I have found that I can learn a lot from online peeps about various things that interest me. I like to see how different people do things different ways and hear about how life is in other parts of the US and other parts of the world. I also like that it allows me some time during the day as a SAHM to connect with other adults.

    My kids make their own friends. My DS 13 has a very hard time making good friendships. He mostly hangs out with the neighborhood kids. It seems that they are always over at my house and that is okay with me...it's my way of helping him maintain his friendships. (and I like to know what they are up to). He also hangs out with people online according to his own interests (through various online games). I keep an eye on it but I think it's a fine way for him to connect with other kids who share the same interests that he does (not a lot of kids around here share his interests). We are not part of a co op yet. I don't know if I will find one around here or not. I'm still new at homeschooling so I don't know a lot of people who homeschool in my town...and I have a hard time just showing up to functions and introducing myself. I may get over that with time.
    Homeschooling DS16, DS12, and DS11

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lakshmi View Post
    1) How do we negate our own needs for relationship, for those of our children/family/spouses.

    2) Are online friends actually friends? Does it count that there can be a connection for a thread, or is it simple just a forum. For example, could I say, "my friend..... insert username here...said, " Does your spouse say, "oh did you miss your friends" if s/he sees the GREEN SHS screen?

    3) What types of things have you done to "get" your kids friends/experiences? Like if you hated farms or animals and put your kid in 4-h. Or anything that you were opposed to before kids or before homeschooling.
    1. I have very few friends in the world of flesh and blood. I have about five close friends from my high school and college years-but I have lost touch with them for about 5 years or more. I'm sure if I meet up with them again, we'd continue where we left off, but family issues get in the way-as in, if I had no family, I'd have more time to see them, but they're all halfway across the country. Locally, I have only a few (maybe 4) people that I know from work who I will see outside of work hours socially, and then, only once or twice a year. I really am quite a recluse, partly because I suffer such awful social anxiety.

    2. Are online friends actually friends? I don't know, but it certainly helps me fill my need for social contact, while remaining safely behind the real world/virtual world curtain and allows me to interact with people from the comfort and safety of my own home. In many ways, my online contacts are as close to friendship as I get, though if I am speaking to people in real life about online contacts, I typically refer to them as "people I know on line", or "people from an on line forum I frequent", rather than "friends". I feel closer to a lot of my on line contacts, here and on other forums, than I do to many people I know in real life. I think this is partly due to the ability to search out people with similar interests and viewpoints on line, rather than in a small physical geographic location.

    3. I do very little. I leave that to my wife. But my kids already have friends from the time they were in public school, so they keep in touch with them, and my wife has made some friends with their parents, so she and the kids will go visiting at times. I usually stay at home. Often, my wife doesn't even invite me anymore, because I get so grumpy from my anxiety that it just isn't worth it for her. (I probably should do something about that).
    Just call me Shoe...
    Previously homeschooled our son and daughter (both now in university)

  9. #8

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    1) How do we negate our own needs for relationship, for those of our children/family/spouses.

    I joined a local hs organization. Thus, once (occasionally twice) a month I get to converse with other women. My relationships with former friends and colleagues fizzled within a few months of moving away.


    3) What types of things have you done to "get" your kids friends/experiences? Like if you hated farms or animals and put your kid in 4-h. Or anything that you were opposed to before kids or before homeschooling.

    I enroll them in programs at the Y. We go on field trips with a local group and take classes at the zoo and science museum. I take them to a mainstream church and Sunday School. I am considering scouts for next year. My children really would like to have friends. I just don't know how else to help them meet other children. It is sort of ironic that we moved to the suburbs so that the children would have playmates.

    I spend more time than I would like in the car. I miss having a relationship with my neighbors. (Our city home was in a neighborhood of front porches that actually were used.) I am an introvert and do not need a lot of face to face interaction with others, but would like to have some where I did not feel as if I had to constantly guard my tongue or worry about reactions to what my children reveal about their studies.

  10. #9

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    I've always had a problem with making friends, homeschooling really didn't change that. I always had acquaintances or was part of a group, but I always felt like I was just slightly on the outside and that people weren't really interested in being friends outside of the group. I know that part of that is my own insecurity that is deeply ingrained from traumatic experiences starting in kindergarten and continuing right through college. I don't feel like I make deep connections with people outside of my family. To me, the on-line relationships are perfect. I get to "chat" with people with similar interests, vent about things bothering me, get support on things I'm unsure of and I don't feel the constant judgement I do IRL. I have one really good IRL friend but we almost always do things with our kids are hers are now both in school. Plus, it's always been slightly one-sided in that she doesn't drive so I always go pick her up, my house is too small to hang out here and I'm allergic to all her pets and can't hang out at her house so we usually go out and do things. Since money is very tight for her family, I often end up helping to pay or using memberships we own. With the kids in school all day, our connection is definitely getting lost and turning into just another facebook friend. I feel like my friends here are a step up from the majority of my facebook friends because we have more back-and-forth interaction instead of little snippets. (I will add that my homeschool friends on my private facebook groups are the exception. There are a few there I would consider friends and I hope they feel the same).

    As for my kids....they are all extremely social. My oldest I don't need to do anything - public school and 14 years of dancing with the same core group of dancers have taken care of her needs. She invited 125 close friends to her Sweet 16 party last year. My younger guys, I have to work at it more. We do some park days and activities with homeschool groups. There are a few repeats there that I can chit-chat with and could possibly turn into friends if we spent more time together. It's hard because I literally cannot invite people over to my house. I'm also getting ready to sign my kids back up for homeschool gymnastics and I'm looking into martial arts for at least my son. It's definitely easier for me when it's a regularly scheduled weekly thing - especially one we've paid for. Otherwise it's too easy for me to make excuses to not leave the house.
    Last edited by dottieanna29; 09-19-2011 at 11:48 AM.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member Arrived skrink's Avatar
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    I don't think I negate my own needs. Sometimes I have difficulty deciding what my needs are, actually. I do think they have changed over time, and honestly, I believe I lack the ability to easily connect. We did a decent amount of moving over the early years of our marriage. I take a long, long time to feel at ease and to warm up to folks (and them to me, apparently), and we tended to leave just as I was getting comfortable. My work friends dropped away soon after I left those jobs, and with our last move here we left behind a network of people in our neighborhood whom I really loved. Sadly, those relationships have faded, too. We're far enough away (8 hours) that it makes it hard to get back often. My dd doesn't do well with lots of changes in routine so we don't travel often. And, we've only had visitors twice since we've been here. So. I have my dh - we're best buds - and I have one friend from college who lives out of state. I have/had a good friend locally, but we've had some weirdness in our friendship which I've posted about before. That's it. Sometimes it feels like enough. Sometimes it doesn't.

    I do tons for my daughter that I would never do otherwise. We have multiple, 100-mile round trip excursions each week to take part in an inclusive hs group. This means hours of small talk (painful!) with other moms. I sit in on classes she takes to make sure that they can cope if she tantrums. We do things, like scouting, that I have some fundamental problems with because it's an opportunity for her to spend time with girls her age. I join local groups and listen to the young earth creationist nonsense, biting my tongue and I'm sure developing a facial tic, just so she can see that there are actually homeschoolers in our neighborhood other than her. I throw birthday parties.

    I've changed a lot since I've become a parent. Some for the better, some not. Hopefully more for the better. I get lonely, but I've had that problem since I was a kid. The online community is something that I am just now starting to explore more fully. I don't know that I'd call anyone a friend yet, but folks have been welcoming and kind. Right now that's golden. I am finding I'm spending way, way too much time online lately!
    Skrink - mama to my 14 yo wild woman

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