I’ve always been an introverted person. I tend to have a few very close friends. Even as a kid I would have one or two people that I called my friend. These people are still my friends even though we live in different states. When I began working at the age of 16, I had to force myself to get out of my shell a bit. I talked to people and began relationships but it was always hard for me. My social anxiety level is high. I get nervous. I’m not good at small talk. Like why do people even do it? So because I’m shy and I don’t really care for small talk. People think I’m weird I guess. Or maybe I don’t give them enough time to get to know me. Anyway before I became a stay at home mom I was around people all the time. Even though I didn’t consider my work acquaintances friends, I always had people or adults to talk to. Whether it be complaining about work load or just grabbing a bite to eat for lunch, my work acquaintances were nice and we had something in common, our job. But then came the day I got to leave my job to stay home. My son was a little over a year and it was a decision my husband and I wanted to make for a long time.
It was great at first. Hanging out with my son all day. Running errands together, going to the zoo and fun kid places. After a few months I started feeling isolated. The only adult I spoke to was my husband and my mom. And because I’m pretty shy I don’t go out looking for people. At parks where my son played, moms came up to me to start talking and for some reason I became mute. Why are they talking to me? Are they judging me as a parent? Crap, did my kid yell at their kid or something? So after mumbling the normal niceties about weather and how old is your child I would come up with a lie and say ok bud it’s time to go. My son would cry and I would promise him a cookie or something. Anything to get me out of the awkward, or what I thought was awkward, conversation. I guess that’s what social anxiety is.
As time went by I started getting depressed. I would call my best friend and we would hang out but I couldn’t hang with her everyday. She lived an hour away. This was before she moved out of the state. Our children would play. She would tell me to join a club or activity to meet other stay at home moms. I said I would think about it and never do it. Then came the day she moved away. I cried. I was alone. It was isolating. I loved being an at home parent to my kids but I needed something more. I had to …. Change. I needed to talk to people. This might sound silly but when your a person with social anxiety it’s very difficult. I started reading articles on how to talk to people which sounds funny and weird but a person with social anxiety feels constantly judged. I do anyway. So where can you make some parent friends.
- Your children’s friend’s parents. Yea although i have never gotten close with any of them. Did I mention I get nervous talking to new people. I feel like I’m Raj from The Big Bang Theory except I’m just trying to talk with my peers not flirt. My best friend told me to out my number on a piece of paper and when I go pick up my son from preschool go up to one of his friends moms and say hey our kids play so well together. Here is my number and call me if you want to set up a play date. And you know what it worked.
- I started going up to moms sitting at the park and actually saying hi. I talk more about just the weather. I try to put myself out there to the neighborhood moms. This works out great until your son spits at their kid. That’s a different story though.
- I’m looking to join a class at Michaels or Joanns. Maybe I can find a walking group somewhere near us then I can exercise too! I had a stroller walking group mom come up to us while at the mall playground once. It’s sounds super fun although it’s Wednesday mornings and that’s the day my son goes to preschool for the summer so the scheduling doesn’t work out.
- This next one is hard for me. My husband has lots of work friends. So maybe we will have a bbq. Some of them have to have kids right?
I’m sure I’m not the only mom that has this issue. There are a lot of introverted people out there right? Luckily my husband and best friend encourage me to go out and make friends or at least talk to people. Sometimes when I get shot down by people I tend to build a wall. For protection. But that’s only making the problem bigger. I think the key is understanding that I am causing my own problem by shying away from people. And the way to fix it is making myself get out there. Do you feel isolated as a stay at home parent? What do you do that helps you?