I don’t think I’d ever make any new mom friends if it weren’t for fully fenced parks. Constant fear of one’s child running into traffic kind of puts a damper on conversation.
But, that was not a problem this morning when I met a couple of other moms at a nearby-fully-fenced park. My boys were both resembled grubby little chimney sweeps by the end of the playdate due to my focus on our conversation, but I made connections with two other moms who are also interested in homeschooling their toddler/preschool aged kids.
Being the unapologetically proud independent American sort, I used to scoff at the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child”, but then I had kids. Not only is it impractical to shun community in favor of independence, but also it’s not in my children’s best interest. Building a community of like-minded moms has helped keep me sane when I need someone to talk to (or just text) during late night feedings , it’s given my sons a friend group that brings them such joy, and most importantly it gives us (the moms) the ability to model what friendship looks like among kids and adults.
Young children need a village of their peers to learn with and from. They need other kids to learn how to navigate social concepts like fairness, sharing, empathy, and tolerance. As much as I believe in the importance of teaching my children literacy and math at home I also deeply believe that the social and emotional lessons are the most important things they will learn in their early childhoods.
To ensure that my boys have opportunities to socialize I’m enrolling my oldest (3 years old) in a two day a week mother’s day out program this fall, and I’m seeking other families like the ones I met today (in the safety of the fenced park of course) who are interested in creating opportunities for our little ones to learn together. We will still aim for at least an hour a day of structured learning time every day, but I’m excited to find ways to build up our little village of friends through his new school and through many more playdates at the park.