Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pouring My Heart Out...Parenting Has Turned Me Into a Social Hermit



As I listened to a few girlfriends chatting about how fun it would be to take off somewhere minus the husbands and the kids...just us girls...I couldn't help but think it sounded more stressful than being at home.

Call me crazy but socializing actually drains me these days.

Here's the thing...I spend a good portion of my day taking care of my kids.

Making them meals, wiping their asses, playing endless games to the point where I can't see straight, keeping them happy and entertained.

They hang on me, they lay on me, they're constantly touching me.  They talk to me for hours on end until their voices all blend together.

Oh, don't get me wrong.  That's probably the best part about parenting...the hugs and kisses, the cuddly moments where they lay with you and allow you to snuggle with them.  And, of course,  hearing their giggles, snorts and laughter.

But what it also means is I'm usually physically and emotionally tapped out come 7:00 on most evenings.   I've already "worked" a full day by the time they go to bed and the last thing I want to do is change out of my comfy clothes and get all dolled up to meet some friends for dinner.

And weekends?

My weekends are usually filled with grocery shopping, running errands and then good old family time.

I'll admit I'm most comfortable when I'm at home.

If I'm fortunate enough to have Tim take the kids to his parents house for a few hours on a Sunday, the only thing I want to do is curl up on my sofa with a cup of tea and get completely lost in a good book.

I don't want to meet a girlfriend to go shopping with, I don't want to have lunch with anyone.  I just want to be alone in my own little world where I can relax...where I feel happy and content...where I can wear a tank top with no bra and a pair of ratty, old boxer shorts.

I have found that I don't crave new friendships as much as I did in my earlier years...you know, before I grew four human beings inside my body, two at a time, and was gutted like a fish to bring them into this world.

Perhaps I'm at my emotional and social limit?  Maybe parenting has filled a void for me where I'm not as lonely as I used to be?

I do have friends...very good friends who I can count on for whatever I need, in good times and in bad.  I have good friends who I know will have my back, who are extremely loyal to a fault.  Those are the friends I would entrust my children to if it became necessary.

That's not to say I'm not open to new friendships; I'm just not actively seeking them out.

The internet, however, is a whole different story.  Because it takes virtually very little effort to connect with another blogger.

I read a blog post which resonates with me, I leave a comment on the blog, the blogger e-mails me and...alas, an online friendship has blossomed.   It doesn't require me to invest hours and hours of shopping, meeting up for coffee or anything else more than what I can provide at this time.

Probably a HUGE downfall but it's all I can manage for the time being.

Things may be different once my children are a little older and become more involved in school activities.  With them being gone all day in school, I may find myself yearning for new friendships.  I may want to step out of my comfort zone and socialize more.

But, for now...I'm pretty comfortable being a social hermit.


As you grow older, how do you feel about making new friends?  Do you prefer a small circle of close friends or a large number of acquaintances?




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55 comments:

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

We're rural so that makes it hard to find friends - proximity. I drove the twins 45 minutes one way to a playdate yesterday and I admit it was mentally exhausting, although I'm glad I did it because they had a lot of fun. I definitely wouldn't be up for going out at night though. I like my yoga pants too much ;-)

Natasha said...
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Natasha said...
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Jenny said...

This is such a great post. I used to feel like my social life was the most important thing- once I had a child, and a child with a severe heart problem at that, I was shocked at how overnight my priorities changed. I used to be what my friends jokingly referred to as the "cruise director". I always made the plans and had something going on and I liked that role. Now I could care less. I have come to find that a few good friends that you can just be yourself with and do absolutely nothing with and consider it a good time is all I really need. :) Thanks for sharing Helene!

Evonne said...

I would much rather have a small group of close friends for sure!

I love going a friend's house on the weekends because she could care less if I showed up in my pajamas. As for actually going out without kids, I rarely have the energy to do so.

Missy said...

That's how I feel about blogging too. And I'm not a "many social acquaintances girl" at all. A few close friends - if that. Sometimes I feel I have none. And I don't say that to get sympathy. I say it to say, it's not my priority. Make sense?

Lisa said...

I've had the same group of friends for about 15 years. Our time out together is every 6 weeks or so and I so look forward to it, because it's great for all of us to get together and laugh and have fun. But there's really no effort involved. I think you're good. :)

Nobodys Nothings said...

apparently, the ability to make friends fades with time. well, it did with my husband and i, anyways. when we met we had plenty of friends, but then we got knocked up, had to get a serious life (aka job) and that took us away to a whole other state, at least 8 hours drive from all our friends. that was 10 years ago, and the only friends we've made since then are online. i've had a few opportunities to make friends, but i'm naturally shy, and it's so much easier to be open in front of a computer.

Nobodys Nothings said...

apparently, the ability to make friends fades with time. well, it did with my husband and i, anyways. when we met we had plenty of friends, but then we got knocked up, had to get a serious life (aka job) and that took us away to a whole other state, at least 8 hours drive from all our friends. that was 10 years ago, and the only friends we've made since then are online. i've had a few opportunities to make friends, but i'm naturally shy, and it's so much easier to be open in front of a computer.

Robbie K said...

I'm with you! At the end of the day I sucked of any energy and fun I might have possessed. i just want quiet and to meet my own needs. I am moving across country (hopefully sooner rather than later) so I have no desire to seek out new friendships here. i am clinging to the ones I have.

stopping by from #PYHO

signingcharity said...

This is an awesome post. I have seen so many people lately talking about how they need to unplug more, dude, maybe I have no life, but the on-line friendships are vital and it's almost like people are saying I'm not real when they say they need to unplug. I am real, but with 3 kids, working full-time outside of the home, a hermit of a hubby and ppd, on-line is about all I have to give and it's not taking away from face-to-face friendships, most of them don't have much time either.

Xazmin said...

I enjoyed my social hermit days very much. They actually started when I got married and I didn't really have a big desire to hang out with anyone other than my husband. It's only the last couple of years of being involved in my children's charter school, and making great new friendships, as well as the wonderful church friendships I have developed that I have craved the social scene more. My kids are all in school but 1 now. And I still keep it to a minimum just out of sheer exhaustion!

irishtwinsmommababybook said...

Well, being a friend to many unmarried and childless friends, they kinda sort themselves out. Tho being a new SAHM, I'm craving it with my current mommy friends.

Heather said...

I feel the same way :) Sweats are becoming my way of life right now.

jennyfaithlowe said...

I am right on the same page. Exactly. You've just described what i've never been able to so concisley. Whew, i am not alone!

Jen said...

I am totally a small circle kind of girl. I just want a handful of people in my life who I can count on then a large group of friends.

Jenny said...

I have always been this way. I'm not a "friend" person. It's too much work. LOL! I stick with hanging out with my family.

Reagan said...

Oh I adore hanging out with the girlfriends and going to dinner with couples BUT as an introvert, I need ME time--all alone to feel fully refreshed.

The Semi-Domesticated Mama said...

I'm a total social hermit nowadays. I'm an introvert anyway and having kids has turned me into a complete hermit. I am a social butterfly in blogland though. It's just the right amount of social interaction to keep me from talking to myself on a regular basis. Best of both worlds. Ha!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I completely understand! I have a couple of really good friends here in town. I love spending time with them...but there are many times I kind of have to force myself to get up and go do it. I usually have a great time when I do...it's truly good for the soul...but the lure of my bathtub / bed with a good book is so strong, especially after a full day with the girls.

And I agree with you on the blogger relationships, too. I think many of us (at least in the blogging community I frequent) are in similar boats. That helps us not only understand each other, but a quick email back and forth here and there is a great way to connect.

In some ways, I would like to have a few more "acquaintance"-type friends, but frankly I don't have time to pursue them right now...nor time to maintain many new friendships, I don't think.

Given what's on my plate right now - caring for my girls 24/7 - I feel like it's pretty full...and I'm OK with that.

Great post, Helene!

January Dawn said...

I'm totally with you. I think it's that we crave time by ourselves...just to hear our brains think. We don't really have time to do that when chaos surrounds us. It's nice to just be.

Jessica said...

I am exactly the same way. I always prefer to be at home instead of getting dressed up to go out. Weekends are so filled with errands that finding time to go somewhere with friends feels like a chore. But online, it's so much easier.

Julia Hunter said...

For me it's the kind of friend ships I am looking for, at this point in my life I need friends who are moms. Who understand what it's like to have a 1 year old.

Like you I don't have the time or energy for going out. By 7 I am done. I find it stressful to go out.

Loved this post by the way!

angel shrout said...

I like you am a social hermit. I prefer to socialize at home. My get up and go got up and went years ago. So when they come over we play cards or board games and have a great time laughing and joking.
Don't think it odd I think it's pretty normal.

Catchamoon said...

Oh, how I relate to this post! I love my friends but I would pick a bath, a book, my loyal dog and an empty house any day over a girls night. Sigh! maybe some day I will have the energy again to be social. Socializing always sounds fun, and when I actually go it is, there's just the actual act of leaving the house that always gets in the way.....

Samantha said...

Definitely with you on that...on the rare occasion that Bree is with someone else and the house is quiet...I LOVE IT. Sometimes I take the time to do something that I don't usually get to do by myself. Like shop or even just ride around in my car without four year old questions constantly rattling my brain. I do enjoy going out though and having a quiet dinner with Paul. But as far as getting all dressed up and going out on the town? No thank you.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Well, you know me. I LOVE meeting new friends/ keeping in touch with existing friends so I do like to make time for about 1 - 2 sessions a month.

And honestly (hand on heart) when those days come round, I almost always feel like cancelling because those are the days I'm FINISHED! Kaput!

But I drag myself mainly because I don't like to break commitments and always have a fabulous time. I'm an extrovert so being with people mostly recharges me.

The only times I haven't enjoyed myself are with that friend I blogged about and I now decided I'm going to be straight with her, that I don't feel she's interested in me, just in talking about herself.

Love my blog buddies too but for me, number 1 is still connecting face to face :)

Nezzy said...

Golly Gee, I don't have any kiddos at home and still kinda feel that way but every once in a blue moon I force myself to get outta my rut and in the end am glad I did.

It gives us a new point of view.

God bless ya sweetie and have a terrific day!!! :o)

Eva Gallant said...

'm a bit of a hermit in my old age; my social life is pretty much limited to family. my kids and grandkids, my siblings and a couple of close friends.

Mommy Inconsistent said...

I can completely relate to this. I do go out the odd time with one of my "mommy" friends...that's who most of my friends are these days actually, so we all understand the desperate need to do nothing but hang on the couch with a cup 'o tea and a book ... or for me, my laptop.

Nice to meet you! I'm liking your blog already!

Krystal said...

Oh wow, I am right there with you!! I actually love meeting with friends during the day for play dates. But after 8pm?? Off limits people!! :)

Jode said...

Oh thank goodness i am normal...i thought i was becoming a bit anti social but everything you wrote just resonated so closely with me...i am so relieved, lol!!
When the girls were babies all i heard was 'you must get out and socialise more!!' Really got tired of trying to explain why i was happy just to stay at home and i certainly don't venture out much at night for all the reasons you listed...to curl up and read a good book in peace would be heaven though!
I have found the blogging outlet and friendships lessen that guilt in the back of my antisocial mind just a little and after reading your words at least i know i am not the only one out there!!xx

We 2 Bees said...

I totally related to your post! I feel the same way. It's exhausting and the very last thing I want to do is go out somewhere with girlfriends. I have a few things I do still with friends but I've very picky on how I spend my time. I just don't need it. You put it so perfectly! Thanks for sharing!

Emily said...

I feel the same way! I'm content. Right now I think what I have is all I can handle, but maybe -- maybe I'll form new friendships again once my kids are older.

Barbara said...

Doesn't blogging make me social? My friends have long stopped inviting me to the dinners and the drinks. I'm okay with that. If I ever get the urge, I'm sure I can invite myself again. Honestly I'm so content to just be able to shower and have a glass of wine without having someone screaming in my ear or without Mickey Mouse in the background. That is my idea of the perfect evening now, and if I get to do it in PJ's even better!

Melissa said...

I'm with you on this. I am perfectly content being home with my family and not out running around with friends. Mine are in school...pretty grown actually (ok they are teenagers) but I love being with them.

Natalie said...

I totally agree with you on this...b/c most of the time the best time to call my friends is after I am done for the day and the last thing I want to do while I am resting is talk on the phone and waste that precious time!

Shell said...

I'm a social hermit, too. I try to have a few girls' nights every now and then... but I like quiet.

The last girls' weekend I had? Yes, we talked and went out and drank and all that fun stuff... but we both also had books and had some time when we were both just reading and being quiet!

Jennifer said...

Oh, thank the Lord someone else feels the same way I do! You put into words exactly how I feel these days! All of it! Although there are those rare instances where I *do* want to go out with the girls, when we do go out, I get my fill after about 30 minutes - then all I want to do is go home!

Nilu said...

What a beautiful thought!!! Like the way you write so frankly about everything.

Connecting with other bloggers...YES, that is so rewarding. With person who reads books, I already feel a connection!

LOVE THE WAY you write!

Twins Squared said...

The good news is, you're happy with exactly what you have at the moment! You can't beat that!

I know not having many close friends has been very difficult for me since I've had kids, which is oddly about the same time I didn't have many close friends anymore.

None of my college friends live in my city, except one who is clear on the other side (hour and a half drive) so she doesn't count, and one who is only 30 min away but is the busiest person I have ever known. When I was very involved in Mary Kay before kids, I suddenly was surrounded by fun girlfriends that I truly enjoyed and had real friendships with. It was more than enough. About the same time I had kids, a lot changed in my working environment and was not around those dear friends anymore, who also lived all over the city.

And I don't know if it's the twin thing or what but I have had a very hard time finding true friendships for the last 7 years. So I've actually been very discontent. But in the last year things have changed so much. Part of it is kids getting older, us being able to get out more, some changes at our church made us around a lot more people that we click with, and I've made a few really good mom friends through the elementary school. One of them I actually can text at random and see if she wants to meet for a quick lunch. I have not had a friend like that in so long so it feels good. We've been invited to some things lately and I feel like we HAVE to go because we've been wanting better friends for so long (even if it's stuff I don't want to do - like laser tag last week, and a camping trip coming up). But I also think if I change my head and just suck it up I will have fun. And you know what - I had a blast at the laser tag night and so glad we didn't just show up to eat afterward but actually participated. Don't know if camping will work out the same way. Nothing sounds worse than spending a night NOT in my bed, but this one I'd be doing more for the kids, not my social life. My social life doesn't need sprucing up THAT badly. :)

Twins Squared said...

You know, that being said, I also know a lot of people, in their late 30s and 40s, who are still REALLY caught up in their social lives. These are parents with families and I guess good for them but I also think some of them are a bit ridiculous. It's like they are college students with kids, always looking for the next party. Now that sounds like a lot of constant hassle to me.

Kimberly said...

I. Totally. Get. This.
And i have only one kid.
Every weekend from Christmas to now, we have had something going on and it's driving me batty. I want to just stay at home in PJ's and not be around people.
Lame right.
This weekend is superbowl. I fucking hate football. Hate.
While I love my friends, I love them in doses I think. Small doses. They don't have kids soooooo...they don't get it.

Pam List said...

Not to alarm you, but even when the kids are in college it does not change much.
I force myself to choir and to a gal pal meet up once or twice a month.

Of course I have a split, one in college and one in grade school. Who knows what mischief I would get into with out the new little guy around.

Pam

Adie said...

I am not a mother but I feel kind of the same. I am in no big hurry to make new friends. I am 27 and busy with work, my husband and my home enough!

Kristen said...

I'm so with you. We are on week 2 here as SAHM - and ... CRAP! We have not been out of our jammies before 10am once. Ray is going to be so ticked tomorrow am when he tries to dress the kids and they won't get dressed because it is before **ahem** "lunch".

Totally with you.

SRM said...

This is me. I used to be really social BC but now I find myself almost cringing if friends ask me to go out. I try to once in awhile but like you, really all I want to do is curl up on my couch and enjoy the peace.Peace is so rare now that I cherish it. I thought at first it was my husbands hermit personality rubbing off on me after years of being together, but really, it's being a mom

DearHelenHartman said...

We moved to rural Ky when my kids were almost grown - definitely not a great place to meet new friends! Being online and now blogging has helped me connect, reconnect, and stay connected. What a thoughtful post - go right on being as social or antisocial as suits you!

Mercy D'souza said...

I feel you. All I want to do if I get a break is relax, though since the kids are always home, going out does give me a break, though I go alone. My friendships are all through blogs and fb these days and I'm content with that.

TheCheekyKea said...

Wow, I feel the same, except I only have two kids! I moved away from my hometown a few years back and when I became pregnant we settled into a new town permanently, that was five years ago and I still don't have any friends here. I just can't be bothered to be honest. After for-filling my motherly and wifely duties at home I just feel like adding extra friends is going to be too draining and time consuming. Hell, I can hardly keep up with the housework as it is, how will I cope when I have to do coffee visits and whatnot too?

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

Sometimes it exhausts me to think about fostering a new friendship, but then I think about what those friendships mean. The meaning of "parent friends" has changed for me. No longer do they mean spending hours on the phone trying to get to know each other. They mean playdates, someone I can call in an emergency, someone to roll me eyes with at the playground after preschool, they mean Mom's Night Out, they mean connections in my community that I don't have since I didn't grow up here and spend every living moment of my life in the same town with the same people. It's different...sometimes easier...still just as meaningful.

GypsyFox said...

what a great post!! although I need to have my days out with my friends, I do have those days where all I do is read a good book & honestly to me my very best friends are my kids! :)

Shelly - Tropical Mum said...

I have a small circle of friends, and I'm happy with that. Depending on where my head is at, I am happy not to see anyone except my family, but now that I'm out of stress zone and the degree is done and dusted, I find I'm seeking out old and new friendships again.

This weekend is my bestie's 40th; it will be stellar! There will be a luxury penthouse apartment overlooking the beach, champagne, gourmet meals, including degustation, a sunset cruise, and a day of pampering at the spa. There will be no one asking me to fix toys, or asking me what's for dinner, there will be someone to clean up after me, and there will be five other mums who will appreciate it all as much as me.

I reckon a weekend completely away from it all would change your view. :) xo

Bethany said...

I know how you feel. I'm most comfortable at home (or MAYBE with a few friends, but I really dislike large groups of people). I do have a lot of friends I've met online though...and when we meet in person, it's fantastic. I'm content with my small group of friends! :)

National Carpet and Flooring said...
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I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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