Is it just me or is being an introvert suddenly the trendiest thing in the world?
Netflix and yoga pants! parents declare. Do what makes you happy! proclaims everyone. Naps before nights out! advice suggests.
And look, I get it. I totally get it. I’m a self-proclaimed introvert to the core. I spent my childhood with my nose buried in a book (usually more than one actually), I get anxious if I have too much scheduled in a week, and I need a good two hours of decompression time after any social activity.
But here’s the thing: being an introvert is still no excuse for hiding at home. And being around people? Is actually very important, especially in this season of parenting life known as The Trenches.
The truth is, I definitely use my children as an excuse to hide out at home. And let’s be real, the “excuse” is a very valid one. My kids are sick about every other day, 2 out of 4 of them still need naps, I work from home, so there’s never really an end to what needs to be done. And if I wanted to, I could probably use Amazon Prime to keep us alive forever.
Would anyone blame me if I focused solely on my family and our four walls that house them? No, probably not. Would anyone notice if I never ventured out or made an effort talk to real-life people? Again, no. I don’t think I’m winning any popularity awards here or have swarms of BFFs knocking down my door to come hang with me and my yoga pants, but that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? That I need to make the effort. That having kids and using my built-in excuse to hide behind them isn’t always good enough if I want to make sure that I have adult conversations with people other than the bank teller. (Who, it should be noted, I don’t actually need to talk to either, because hello online banking).
The point is, like all things with parenting, living life with young kids comes with a balance. I’m certainly not going to feel guilty for taking time to cultivate our home life and raise our little family, because that’s what matters most, but I also don’t want to reach the point where all my kids are in school and I finally raise my head up from the ground, where it feels like I’ve been buried in poop and diapers and tantrums and ear infections, and realize that I am totally and completely alone.
Is it hard sometimes to make an effort to hang out with other people and get out of the house and even have more adventures with our kids? Yes, of course. But I do believe it’s worth it, and I do believe I am only hurting myself in the process of hiding behind the introverted young kids shield.
My goal for this year has been to force myself — and I do mean force myself because it’s hard for me and it doesn’t come easily — to make more of an effort with cultivating real friendships. Because it’s what makes life worth living, and the effort, even as draining as it can be for me, is always worth it. I’ve noticed I will tend to feel even worse with a lot of isolation, and I don’t want to end up 40 years old with grown kids and realize I have no friends left at all.
I use my kids’ young ages as a built-in excuse for never leaving my home right now, but quite frankly, it’s not good enough to just claim we’re all introverts and stay home and watch Netflix. We can do better.
Now, if anyone wants to come hang out with me and my kids at home while we watch Netflix, I would say that we could count that as a win-win.
Note: There will be wine. For us introverted adults, that is. Not for the children.