By Jill Camacho
Allowing Yourself to be Vulnerable is Difficult
Live longer than just a few years, and you already know that! I’ve shared often on my blog and social media channels that I think it’s important to stay connected to people in real life as well as online, but I know it’s hard! Challenging as it may be, it’s also important.
We have a double whammy as homeschooling parents and special needs parents. Both of those things can become very isolating if we let them. It’s easy to focus on past hurts and busyness, allowing an “us vs. them” mentality to creep in. Being isolated, however, also puts us at risk for homeschool burnout and depression. This is coming from a self-confessed introvert- even we need a community around us on a fairly regular basis.
In an attempt to remain connected to other moms in real life, I’ve recently been hosting a Bible study in my home with women from my neighborhood. Before starting the study, I polled everyone, allowing them to vote for their top two choices. We Saved You a Seat won hands down.
It’s Not Just Us
The study centers on developing and maintaining lasting friendships. The fact that all these moms selected this study tells me we’re pretty much all looking for a meaningful connection. It’s not just us special needs parents who are lonely or isolated. Although it’s hard because it takes being vulnerable and getting out there to build strong relationships.
Being open and vulnerable is a key part of developing deep relationships. Jesus modeled the need for vulnerability in the ultimate way – coming to Earth as a helpless infant. He always goes before us, and He knows exactly how we feel. We can trust that He has felt all that we have felt, are feeling, and will ever feel.
One week, our study discussed feeling alone even in a crowd of people. As a special needs parent, I find this especially relatable. I shared with my group a shocking (at least for me) recent event in our special needs journey. No one in that group could relate, I was almost certain of it. These are the sort of things that we sometimes just feel like, “No one else I know is going through this. I’m just trying to get through one problem at a time, on my own.”
We don’t, however, need to do that…
Parenting is hard.
Special needs parenting is hard.
No matter where we fall on the parenting spectrum, we certainly have something in common with every parent around us.
It was hard to share, but important to share, allowing them into my world. For us to be supportive of each other and truly get it, we need to share those hard parts with trustworthy people. How else can they pray for us and hold our hands through it?
We need to share the painful, ugly, sticky moments in our lives with people who care and be that same person for them. We need a tribe around us to make the most of homeschooling and special needs parenting.
Built for Community
It’s scary to risk being turned away or judged. I encourage you to keep trying to connect with other moms though. Keep looking and putting yourself out there to find the friends God has in store for you. Talk about your “stuff” with them, even if it’s hard.
Sure, use some wisdom regarding how and what you share. Just make sure you don’t keep walls between you and the rest of the community. It won’t save you from any pain. Being made in God’s image, we were designed for community, and there’s simply a gap in our lives without it.
Connect with SPED Homeschool
If you are looking for ways to connect with other special education homeschooling parents, make sure to check out our Connect With Us page to learn all the ways you can become part of our community. We will see you there!