It started when my daughter was only three years old. It was then that she received her first invite to a preschool friend’s birthday party. Now there’s an ever-growing pile of invitations on our kitchen counter.
From the bounce parties to the gymnastics parties to the pool (please-don’t-make-me-wear-a-bathing-suit) parties, it seems that there is always one on the horizon. While the children do enjoy them, these events are, of course, more of an obligation for the parents.
But for an introvert mom, an invitation to one of these celebrations isn’t just a simple nuisance because it often leads to anxiety-provoking anticipation of social awkwardness.
It’s not that we’re unfriendly or that we don’t like people. It’s just that the activity of mingling with strangers and acquaintances takes so much energy that it’s downright exhausting for us introverts. The idea of being at home in our yoga pants is so much more inviting. But, as part of our mom duties, we attend these events anyway.
Below is a snippet of my inner birthday party dialogue, which any introvert mom will recognize:
1. *Getting ready for party* This is going to be awkward.
2. Can’t I just pretend my kid is sick?
3. Okay, okay. I’ll go.
4. *Arriving* It looks crowded.
5. I hope I know someone here.
6. *Entering party* Nope. Don’t know anyone.
7. Oh wait! She looks familiar!
8. And, she obviously does not recognize me. Awkward.
9. I’ll just stand by my kid.
10. I see other parents talking.
11. They must be the cool moms.
12. Ooh, that parent seems alone, too.
13. Maybe I’ll talk to them.
14. And, now they are walking away. Missed my chance.
15. What time is it?
16. Oh good! It’s time to go play party games. No more small talk.
17. I’m going to keep taking pictures of my kid and look busy.
18. “Say cheese!”
19. Okay, games over. Nice.
20. It should be time for food, right?
21. Yes. Food time! Moving right along.
22. Good. Everyone is eating now. Hard to talk with full mouths.
23. What time is it?
24. Oh, that mom is coming over here. Let’s chat about the good pizza.
25. Okay. She left to go get pizza. She was nice.
26. Let me text my husband to see how his day is going. Maybe it will make me look popular.
27. Cake time!
28. We’re getting close now.
29. “Happy birthday to you!”
30. What time is it?
31. *Concentrating on eating* This cake is pretty good.
32. What’s going on now?
33. It’s over? Awww!
34. “We had a great time! Thanks for having us!”
35. *Leaving party* That was awkward.
All that being said, I do have one favor to ask of the parents of my daughter’s little friends:
Please keep inviting my daughter to your parties. She loves attending.
I promise I will be brave, pretend to be outgoing, and continue to bring her to join in the festivities.
Your friend, The Introvert Mom