We all know how hard it can be to maintain some semblance of a social life once you have children. Before kids, I used to go out all weekend, do happy hours and dinner with friends during the week, phone conversations on lunch breaks, the works. But I don’t do any of that stuff anymore. And chances are, if you have kids or maybe a big career (or both), then you don’t do too much of it either.
When I say it’s tough to “maintain” a social life, I really mean it’s virtually impossible to have one at all. For me it is, anyway. And that can be occasionally depressing. I mean, it’s a fact I’ve come to acknowledge, accept, and just learn to live with. But sometimes I find myself wondering “why not?” I’m a mom–so what? Am I no longer a normal human being? Am I incapable of moving past acquaintance-hood with people merely because I live in a house filled with miniature lunatics who sometimes drive me to drink?
So I thought about why I’m socially lifeless, for the main purpose of obtaining peace of mind in the matter (as well as a topic for this blog) and here is what I came up with.
- I moved. I grew up in Brooklyn, and my whole life was there. Friends, family, home, my favorite Chinese food takeout restaurants– everything. Then my husband came home from Iraq, met our son, and said “hey, let’s go live in sunny Staten Island.” So we did, and here I am. It’s not like I moved to Guam, but I suspect that people think I did. A plane ticket to Guam is probably comparable in price to crossing the Verrazano Bridge, so I suppose I might as well have moved there. I hear it’s beautiful in the spring.
- I hate talking on the phone. I never get to see my friends over here in Guam, but we can always just catch up on the phone, right? Uh, no. Thanks to Texty McTexterson, the famous inventor of the technology that has enabled introverts everywhere to skip socially awkward phone calls in favor of pushing invisible buttons on a piece of glass as a means of interaction, I no longer need to call people on the phone “just to say hi.” Just saying hi has become virtually unheard of in today’s technology-driven world. And because of that nifty texting invention, I have grown accustomed to NEVER talking on the phone– consequentially despising it altogether. “Hey what’s up? What are you doing?” “Nothing much, just trying to enjoy the only five minutes of downtime I’ve had so far today to quietly relax before I pass out from exhaustion for the night. But yea, making small talk with you sounds fun too.”
- I have kids. They come first and stuff. Also, they need this thing called a babysitter when I’m not around. Unfortunately, my nanny has weekdays and weekends off. My husband? You mean that guy sound asleep on the couch who wakes up for work every day at 4 a.m.? Not gonna happen. People need to be at least partially conscious to watch my children.
- I’m a stay-at-home-mom. This means I’m not currently in a situation wherein I’m forced to spend forty hours per week in the same place with the same people whom I simultaneously love and hate. Some of the best friends I’ve ever had were coworkers. Being a stay-at-home mom also means I don’t get to have normal conversations with other adults on a regular basis. This has left me painfully, socially awkward. I no longer have the ability to naturally talk to people I don’t know and get to know them. Whenever I do, I’m so starved for adult conversation that I tend to panic and start chewing people’s ears off, rambling about my daughter pooping in the tub and my son peeing the bed every night. It’s a lose-lose situation for me and pretty much everyone involved.
- I don’t really care. Well, not that much. Not enough to make an effort to change it. Not enough to start calling people to just say hi or to maybe try making some new friends in my own zip code. Not enough to go join the PTA, although that is on my list of things I swear I might really do someday. I just care enough to bitch about it to you and hope I’m not totally alone on this one. Honestly, as much fun as it was to maintain an awesome social life before I had kids, the energy I used to put into that life is now mostly spent chasing my little lunatics around and keeping my family together. And I think I’m okay with that.