I used to be pretty outgoing. In school, I would always get the comment on my report card: She participates in class and is very social. I loved to talk and be surrounded by people, laughing and having a good time.
When Leo and I started dating, we were always in a group setting with a lot of people or couples and I remember it getting tiring once in a while but for the most part, we had a blast. Even after we got married, we still did a lot with other couples. I had Nico and it really didn’t change all that much. We either did things with friends of ours that had kids or the ones that didn’t were very accommodating. I had the twins and still I remember doing things with other people all the time.
When we moved to this neighborhood everyone had kids the same age so weekends were filled with hanging out and being social while the kids all played. I remember sitting back thinking, this is the good life. Then Nico started playing travel baseball and social took on a new meaning. When your kid plays a sport where there are 50 games, you become friends with the parents pretty fast. You have no choice because you are always together. I was extremely lucky for every team Nico was on, there were great people involved-both parents and kids. Games led to eating out. Eating out led to hanging out until late at night. Hanging out late at night led to planning vacations both with kids and without. Again, I thought, this is the good life.
Then came Gia and I’ve talked before about the challenges of having a toddler when everyone else only has older kids so while she contributes to this bug that has bitten me. I really don’t think she is the whole reason.
I don’t know what it is but lately, I just can’t do it. I can’t muster up the motivation to do much socializing. I know a part of it is that I’m tired. Tired of being pulled in four different directions and then hearing Leo say, “What’s going on tonight? Do we have plans? Are we going out with anyone?” It used to be so easy but now everyone has their own idea of how to spend our very rare free time.
You might laugh but I don’t think I’ve actually looked in a mirror to see what I look like since Leo’s work outing. I just go through the motions of fixing my hair in the way I’ve done for the past 8 years, throw on something (these days it is either a black v-neck with gray pants or a gray v-neck with black pants), put the little make-up I wear on (and yes, I have gone out forgetting to even do that) and go. And by go, I mean either to Target or carpooling (or if I’m lucky, Barnes and Noble). To be social, I would have to pay attention to how I look and what I’m wearing and I don’t have the energy to do that. I won’t even go into great detail about how many times I’ve had to scramble to get a sitter because leaving Nico isn’t always the best option. A lot of times, even for as much as I miss hanging out with friends, it is just easier to stay home.
We’ve already established that I suck at small talk. I like getting to know people. Really know. I don’t have the patience for all the masks that people wear. Tell me how you really are…don’t tell me how great your kid is or successful you are at your job. Chances are I already know that so tell me a funny story about your kid and tell me what you love about your job. Tell me a story of how hard it is being a mom and how you got through it. Tell me how there are parts of your job you don’t like but that the good outweigh the bad. Tell me that you are exhausted teaching your kids how to be good friends and that sometimes your kids get it and sometimes they don’t. Tell me that your kid makes mistakes and that you are working really hard at helping them learn from them. Tell me that your kid hurt another kid’s feelings and you were mortified but that a lesson was learned. At the very least, tell me that even though you love your kids (which goes without saying), they are driving you crazy. Be real. Don’t sit and act like everything is sunshine and rainbows because we all know it’s not. Let’s laugh about this life we are leading. I think that is why this bug has bitten me. There is not enough laughing and too much judging. A friend just said to me that this raising kids thing is “a sisterhood” and I LOVE that. I want that because if I’m the only one sharing, that’s not fun for anyone.
I don’t go out anymore because when you are incapable of small talk, someone asks how you’ve been and you blurt out that while you love social media for your blog, you despise it for your kids. Someone might ask how your son’s liking football and you could blurt out he loves it but…and then go into how he’s trying to gain weight which leads to a discussion about CF. Someone might generically ask if your daughter is going to do competitive cheerleading and before you know it, you are discussing how expensive both cheer and dance are which leads to a discussion of your family’s finances. See…it’s just better that to stay home (because, yes…all three of these actually happened).
So once upon a time, you could find me at a neighbor’s, at a restaurant with a lot of people or at my house with a house full of people. These days, now that I’ve been bitten by the anti-social bug, you’ll find me at home, in sweats, with a goomba in my hair and minimum make-up, playing with Gia while watching Nick Jr. (or Project Runway or The Voice).
When I was forced to be social at Leo’s work thing, I found myself in the middle of a conversation that could rival that of one on The Big Bang Theory. I’m sure Leo doesn’t see himself like that but when someone cracked an inside joke about work and everyone but me cracked up, that’s exactly what it felt like. I kept thinking, “Well, if you think that’s funny, I could tell you what happened on the last episode of Bubble Guppies.” Because these days, that and how to build a Lego tower are all I got.
Wait…I could always chime in on the latest reality show. I still have that.
What about you? Am I alone or has anyone else been bitten by the anti-social bug? When did it happen for you?
Pouring it out with Shell: