Man, I used to be so damn good at this. I used to be the best at being an extroverted introvert. I’d arrive at the party and just blossom and bloom. There wasn’t a person I couldn’t talk to – whether I’d already known them or whether I was just meeting them for the first time. I guess at this point I was much more extrovert than introvert. I had no filter, literally none – I wasn’t mean, I was just witty, and sarcastic, and the life of the party!
My, how things have changed. I think I’d like to blame pregnancy brain, followed by mom brain, coupled with generalized mommy exhaustion. That seems like a fair diagnosis, explaining how I’ve managed to go from that to… well… THIS. I am now officially the woman whose constant topic of conversation is her child. Not only does he dominate the conversation but becoming a mom has turned me more introverted than extroverted. I’m still outgoing, I’m still really talkative, and I still make friends easily – but the feelings behind all that have changed, because now, I’d much rather be curled up on the couch after a long and overstimulating day. I just want to hang out, watch television, read a book, Netflix and Chill. Whatever, as long as it doesn’t involve leaving the house.
Now the silver lining to this exhaustion is that, today, I find myself being more selective. I find myself less likely to spend my time with people who don’t make me happy. I find myself socializing less and less with individuals who are an energy suck – the kind of people who take and take and never give back – because frankly, I have less time and energy to give. I used to expend endless amounts of time and effort on people like this, working hard to maintain friendships that were more one-sided than anything. Ain’t no one got time for that shit anymore. So, thank you #momlife for this one.
Not so silver is the lining that has seen the death of adult conversation. Now, I’m not saying that talking about family and parenting life isn’t adult conversation – it is. Marriage and raising babies is very adulty, I’m definitely (however, unwillingly at times) adulting. But I’ve found that within this new phase of my life, I’ve started to lose so much more of who I was than I am willing to lose. There is not a single outing (with or without children) that doesn’t involve the discussion of said children. I’m not talking just a casual mention here and there – I’m saying it’s a monopolization of the entirety of our socialization.
I can’t even remember what the hell we talked about before we became parents! Was it just always silence and crickets? It must have been. Hell, if I can think that far back (only 2.5 years guys). There must have been more substantial brain shrinkage during pregnancy than there was meant to be (scientific fact, that someone told me, and I totally believed, and am now relaying as fact to the mass populace).
I am at fault for steering the conversation in this direction as much as any of my friends are. Our children take up the bulk of our day, if it’s not that then its work – and we all work in different fields. This ultimately leaves our babes as the common denominator in topics of conversation. But I think it’s time to try harder. I think it’s time to take more nights out without the kids, time to exit our comforts zones, have some fun, and find something else to add to the conversation.
Let’s all try a little bit harder to remember who we were before we became moms and dads. Finding, or remembering, who you are as an individual does not make you any less as a parent. I would argue the opposite, making time to care for yourself and about yourself makes you happier, and readier, to be the best parent you can be.
Janna Kilimnik, a Canadian blogger, is a mother to 1 bouncing baby brat. Her love for her son is equal to, if not surpassed by, her love of ice cream and literature. Blogging about all things to do with parenting, and parenting with an anxiety disorder, she lives for moments of silent creativity. Except she's now a parent, so silence no longer exists in her world. Find her on Twitter @JannaKilimnik & Instagram @janna.kilimnik.