Most introverts feel pressure to become extroverts, or more “social”. But I’m here to tell you, from an extrovert’s perspective, that you got it all wrong.
You see once you start to circulating your 30th birthday, it seems like your social life will come to an end as you know it. Somehow between work and family life people just stop being social. No one seems to have time for casual get togethers, or parties, or even grabbing coffee. So unless you happen to have fantastic coworkers or your kid is friends with your bff, you better get ready to start your new life as an introvert.
I myself thrive around people, I like to talk, I like to make jokes, I like to be outside of my house as long as possible, I don’t go to movies by myself, ever, and ending up at a restaurant alone was possibly the lowest form of punishment and humiliation.
But things have changed. I now have two children and a few moves under my belt, thanks to the military lifestyle. Suddenly, the effort it takes to find, keep, and entertain new friends seems to be as fun as extracting molars from my mouth. Which I refuse to do, by the way. So I’ve decided that from now on I shall be an introvert.
So here are my 5 Reasons why being a mom turned me into an Introvert
1- Technology. This is a controversial topic, tech shaming is all the rage now. People are being put down for their screen time, the endless hours spent on FB, and it’s just bad. Or is it?
You know what? I don’t have to leave my house to see my best friends. And even if I did leave my house, I wouldn’t see them! They all live a million miles away. So guess what? I’m having social hour, in my kitchen, on my phone, while the kids destroy the house, and yes, I’m laughing out loud standing there physically alone be cause my friends are totally funny, even in chat version.
2- The parents at the dance class, educational groups, play dates, sports teams, etc. are too tired to socialize. Seriously, have you had a coherent conversation with a mother of children under 4? It’s a hit or miss. They’re all lacking sleep, and severely cranky. They’re all on some mad juggling act of play times, chores and errands, and “don’t have time”. They’re all too worried about being judged, or too busy being judgmental to be open enough to have a real conversation. Even the moms you meet and sort of get along with are subject to these effects, making any small argument a great excuse for dropping the friendship because ain’t nobody got time for drama.
Social time at kids events seems to be some unicorn I can’t seem to find.
3- Having lunch, coffee, or ice cream with friends and kids is a special kind of hell. You remember how great it was to grab coffee with that friend when both your kids were non mobile? Cherish those memories. Now you both have crazy toddlers not suitable for civilized life, and the conveniently located “in between” cafe is not an option. So instead you get to decided who has to drive over 35 minutes to see each other. Got a screaming I-hate-car-seats child? Yeah, see you never.
Want to know what my best lunch date was recently? I went to a restaurant I don’t even like, because it has a kids play area. Older kid played, while younger was asleep. I quietly read a book while I nibbled on some overly salty food I didn’t cook. Heaven? Close enough.
4- When you have friends over it’s like having a hurricane in your house… Congratulations! You finally found the time, the schedules both worked, the star alined, and no one was sick, or had diaper blow outs, or missed naps. But beware, if house work felt overwhelming before, now it’s about to get better. And by better I mean so much worse. Before the friends show up, you are cleaning things here and there, not because you can’t be “real” with your friends, but rather because it really would be nice to have a a few inches of space on the table in case you need a snack, or maybe you’re friends don’t have dogs so you have to vacuum to spare them the reality of living in dog hair, or maybe you just haven’t cleaned the floors in over week (or month) and this is a good excuse as any to self motivate to do chores. And then of course there’s the toy collection. You know, where you hide the toys that can’t get lost, ruined, or damaged. You’re mad dashing through the house and shoving the chosen ones into the closet for safe keeping. Then, the play time. Oh boy. While mommy friend and I completely spaced out trying to have the first adult conversation either of us has had in over a week the kids take it upon themselves to pull out every single toy on the shelves, every single crafting material, every single book. They quietly get into as much mischief as possible which usually isn’t immediately obvious, those are surplices you find later. You laugh it off and shrug at your friend, “Kids! Don’t worry about it!” And you mean it, but dear god, how is it even humanly possible to make such a massive mess?! Guess who’s cleaning that up?
And while it was fun while it lasted, probably more fun than I will have till next time, boy was that exhausting… and on to more chores, cooking, bath time, etc. Oh and no, the kids are not tired out, like at all… Yikes!
5- It’s 5pm on a Friday night and there’s a Mom’s Night Out group getting margaritas. And I don’t want to go.
You know what? I want to spend the evening relaxing at home. I have no desire to force socialize with people I barely know. I’m tired, it’s been a long week and I just want to cuddle with my husband, have some wine, pop in a Disney movie and call it a job well done. Maybe I will even take a bath, alone, and it will be the best fun ever.
Perhaps the transformation is now complete? Introvert high five!