When I met my ex husband over twenty years ago, he used to call me the woman who worked the room. We went to parties and out for margaritas on Thursday nights. I loved going out and getting dressed up. We used to host parties for every season: A chocolate party before Christmas, a harvest dinner in the fall, brunches in the spring and there were many potlucks at our house during the winter.
If someone wanted to drop by, I was all for it. If my husband wanted to pull together a barbecue at a moment’s notice, I was in the kitchen making appetizers and shitty party favors. I secretly wanted to be Martha Stewart and live like we were the cast of Friends: Always surrounded by people with somewhere to go and something to do.
Then we had kids. Before my first child was born, I had invited everyone to his birth and to our house afterwards because I literally thought I’d be walking around in heels serving cookies on a damn platter. All those guests did me in and in the days that followed the guests kept coming, the phone kept ringing and I didn’t answer the door or the calls.
I couldn’t. I felt like a different person. My husband asked what happened to the social butterfly I used to be around the time my son was three months old. There was a part of me that hoped she would return but even the thought of her wore me out.
I think my extroverted chip got pushed out of my body when I had him. And it never came back.
Now, I have three teenagers. They are 18, 16, and almost 15. I am not a full on introvert and I get it when another mom cancels or says she can’t or explains she just doesn’t freaking want to do something.
It now seems like the introverted moms of the world are speaking out because we want to make it okay for each other. We want it to be okay if we don’t show up. We want to normalize. Not having the energy is enough of a reason to cancel. We want to feel like we aren’t the only ones who hate the gatherings, the parties, the school functions because we simply don’t have any reserves left after caring for our families. This doesn’t mean we don’t want to do anything that involves leaving our house, it just means we don’t want to do as much of it.
My kids make fun of me because my kind of a weekend evening involves my favorite candle and a 90s movie marathon. I can’t be asked to do something during the day, and at night because that’s too much social time for me. I need time to recharge so I can be at my best the next day for my kids, and for myself.
If I’m seeking pleasure outside my four walls it’s for an early dinner with girlfriends, a pedicure, massage, or maybe a stroll through Target. Is it exciting? To a lot of people, it isn’t. But it is the way I want to live my life right now. Maybe my extroverted self will come back but if it doesn’t, I am more than content with staying in, reading a book, or puttering around my house with the Food Network in the background.
Not every mom is an introvert– we are all different and we all get our energy from different sources. However, now more than ever moms are saying enough is enough. Tending to my family, my job, my home, myself, and my social life is too much. Something has to give and at this stage in our lives, we are more than fine to pass on a play date if it means we get to catch up on some rest or go get a facial instead.
We have no problem skipping the party so we don’t have to wear a bra or pants and can sit and eat chips on our sofa.
It takes a lot of work to be on all the time and we want to be on for our families as much as possible and we are finding the best way to recharge is to say ‘no’ to certain things instead of committing to every invite and feeling resentful and stretched too thin.
If that makes moms today introverted, then I guess that is what a lot of us are.