I am an introvert. I admit it. Have always been one, am currently one, and probably always will be. Some of my writer friends who also claim to be introverts turn into extroverts when they’re around other writers. Not me. I always hang back, watching and waiting until I feel comfortable to join in the conversation.
The other day as my husband and I were driving the girls to Target to let SuperGirl give us an idea of what she wanted for her birthday (she turned 3 yesterday, yay!), we got to talking about how we really need to expand our social circles and start meeting new people and start doing new things. As I’m sure everyone who has young kids knows, this is a lot easier said than done. We’ve good intentions, certainly, but when push comes to shove, something always seems to come up. For me, this is even worse as an introvert, because I can easily talk myself out of any number of things that normally fall outside my comfort zone.
Once inside Target, that conversation on the road led to the recognition of an opportunity. While my family was sorting through the dollar bins (I love those so much!), a very nice mom with two boys under 5 and one on the way came up and just started talking to me–saying how great the dollar toys were, asking about my girls, telling me about her family, etc. Well, conversations between strangers can only go on for so long (especially when you have kids in tow), and we ended the conversation (perhaps a little awkwardly, with me being the introvert I am, lol). A few minutes later, though, my husband tells me that I should go find the woman again and give her my number and email address, to see if she and I can get together with the kids for a playdate sometime. Yeah, he called me on my feel-good speech on the way to Target about meeting new people and doing new things. =P
I hemmed and hawed (of course). “That’s creepy.” “She was just being nice.” “No, YOU don’t go give it to her–that’ll be even worse!” (He did volunteer to find her and give her my information, and–while I appreciate it–I KNEW he would have looked like some crazy stalker and also, it would make me look like I was in the 2nd grade having to ask a friend to pass a note to someone else to be my friend. *sigh*)
So, I did it. *deep breath* Against every natural inclination of my deeply ingrained introvert tendencies, I wrote down my information, put WonderGirl on my hip (you know, because my hope was that she would make me look less creepy), and went to search for the other mom and her kids. I walked ALL AROUND that Target store, looking up and down every aisle, to no avail. Finally, we went outside (to where my husband and SuperGirl had already gone to load the car) and he waves frantically to me, telling me that she’s a few cars away getting ready to leave. In fact, she’s putting her kids in their carseats.
Great. So, as if stalking someone around a Target store isn’t bad enough, I now have to seek them out in the middle of a parking lot where they’re focused on putting their kids in their carseats (which, we all know, can be a mentally exhausting task). But I go. New me and all. I believe my words were something to the effect of, “Excuse me, ma’am. I know this looks creepy, but my husband (I was SO ready to blame him, lol) thought you might be interested in getting together for a playdate sometime.” I didn’t even have WonderGirl on my hip anymore, but I held out my information and she took it. Then–wonder of wonders–she gave me her card and said that sounded like fun.
AND she called me yesterday to actually schedule a playdate. (Because you better believe I was 75% of the way ready to talk myself out of calling HER.)
So, what have I learned in all of this?
1) Being an introvert can really suck sometimes. I need to just do what I’ve heard a million times: ACT like I’m outgoing until I feel like it.
2) Introverts CAN take risks that CAN result in positive outcomes and (hopefully) new friendships.
3) Perhaps other moms out there are as desperate to find another mom to relate to and help preserve her sanity as I am, and perhaps they’re waiting for ME to strike up a conversation in Target. =)
4) I have an amazing husband who knows my faults and challenges me to do better.
5) Starbucks (which I was drinking when this happened) is my liquid courage.
So, fellow moms–are you an introvert? Do you find it difficult to reach out/find other moms? (I joined MOPs at one point, but never really clicked with my group–either time; I’ve learned I’m better in a one-on-one situation than in a large group.) Why is having a friendship with other moms so meaningful to you?
I’m Elise Rome, AKA Midnight Mama because I’m usually burning the midnight oil. If SuperGirl (3, with a speech delay) and WonderGirl (1, my very own hip attachment) aren’t getting up in the middle of the night, then I’m busy working on writing and writing-related business until early morning…usually 3-4 am or so. Both my husband and I stay home with the girls (he’s a writer, too! www.lukasholmes.com), but usually I’m focused on them throughout the day and only get started working until after 8pm when they’re both in bed. I’m a former Texan now living in Colorado who desperately misses no-snow winters, and my parenting goal is to raise my daughters to be strong, intelligent, and independent women…much like the heroines I write, as a matter of fact. I’m a recovering perfectionist, recovering procrastinator, and perpetually aspire to keep the house clean (because it never actually is). When I’m not chasing around my daughters or adoring my cooking/cleaning/diaper-changing husband of 8 years, I write historical romances about women who fascinate me and men who somehow always remind me of Rhett Butler, the first literary hero who captured my heart. www.eliserome.com