Confessions of an Extrovert Mom

Confessions (1)

Back when I was a single gal, footloose and fancy free, I was always, always, ALWAYS BUSY. I said yes to so many things at a time that just thinking about it now makes my head spin. And my extrovert lifestyle was good, usually.

I have always been a highly extroverted person, and living alone or with similarly busy roommates prompted me to seek out an active social life. In addition to working, I went out with friends constantly, volunteered weekly at church, and said yes to almost everything in between. I hated to miss anything – I have always struggled big time with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Being an extrovert was a huge part of who I was – I prided myself on being a socially dependable little butterfly, flitting about from shindig to shindig. I loved it about me.

When I crossed over into the wonderful world of motherhood, I became slowly aware that I would not be able to keep up the same level of activity I once had. Before I was even engaged to my now-husband, I found myself disappointed when I didn’t get over to his house in time to see my now-daughter before bed. You can’t get a lot of socializing in with a self-imposed 8 PM curfew. I began to adjust and slowly but surely had to start saying “no” to some things, just so I could manage to work full time, indulge my extrovert self, and then see my people before it was time to head to bed and start all over again.

And now: flash forward. I am a wife and stepmom, respectively, to my aforementioned people. I struggle, now, because I placed a solid amount of importance in the aforementioned tendency toward busyness. It was my identity. I was at every social gathering, rarely missing out – and now, I attend far fewer than I once did. I’m lucky if I make it to volunteer once every couple of months. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still BUSY, and I am still very much an extrovert. But my evenings and weekends are full in much different ways than they once were. Recently this hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt guilty for missing birthday parties and reducing my commitments.

I felt less than I had once been. Ashamed to realize that I simply can’t do it all. Wondering how to be my extrovert self with such a priority shift in my life.

I miss it, sometimes – the freedom to say yes to activities with abandon. It was a fun way to spend my days, back then, but a major part of my guilty feeling is that I don’t really miss that freedom as much as I expected I would. I am extroverted, still, but now I live with a man who is my social #1, and a girl who relies on me to be around to sing lullabies at bedtime, volunteer in her classroom, and say yes when she begs for a last-minute playdate with her pals. I am still with people all. the. time. But I have to be choosier about what I make time to do socially. My FOMO is still a struggle – but if I’m honest, I fear missing out on bedtime with my girl and Saturday nights at home with my husband more than the things I once did. My availability is less. My identity has had to shift. My life is still full of fun and service and meaning, but it looks quite a bit different than before.

My time belongs to different people than it did before, and the reality is that much of what I have to give stays in-house. I will not compare myself to the self I was 5-years-ago, because that’s not fair to either of us.

It was a good life then. It’s a good life now. Full and fun. Still achieving freak-levels of extroversion. And on those rare occasions I do make it out to party? You better believe I will remain the most socially dependable little butterfly you ever did see.

How has motherhood changed your extrovert or introvert self? Have you had to shift your expectations of your social life?

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One Response to Confessions of an Extrovert Mom

  1. Kelly January 7, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    Oh my goodness I fully identified with ALL of this!!! Would love to know you as I left behind a full and busy life in NYC and traded it in for CO…then came hubby and kids. Life is soooo good, but different!

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