I used to consider myself an extrovert. I loved being in large groups, I loved talking to just about everyone I could, and I enjoyed making new connections. Being shy wasn’t really who I was, and I found myself confident in almost any setting.
And then my mid-20’s happened, and I went through somewhat of an unintentional hibernation.
Maybe this has happened to you as well.
After the birth of my first son, I preferred home over going out. I preferred talking and giggling with him, instead of friends. And, again, my intentions were never to isolate myself, but slowly and surely, my relationships dwindled down, and my eagerness to show up to a gathering I was invited to, began to lessen.
My son is now four, and in addition to him, I also have my precious miracle-girl, who is eighteen-months. After talking to my husband recently, he lovingly mentioned my new introvert-like personality.
At first, I blamed it on the kids. I didn’t have many friends because of the kids. I didn’t get out much because of the kids. I didn’t have any new connections because of the kids. And while children do add more to a schedule, and they do require a lot of time, they should not be the reason for a mom to hibernate and close shop to community.
I believe the opposite is true. I think that because I have children, I have all the more reason to get out, to make new friends, to send an old friend a text, and to sit face-to-face with a kindred spirit. Because of the kids, I need to be intentional with my time, and that includes my time as an individual.
I say this because I’ve learned the dangers of being an isolated mom. I’ve been in desperate times, wishing I could pick up my phone and call a friend to come help me. I’ve needed an ear to listen to me, a shoulder to cry on, and a laugh to be shared.
In addition, I’ve learned that our husbands are not, and should not be the only person we confide in. They have a lot on their plates, and while they are a major source of support in our lives, it is unfair to ask them to be our everything.
So, what do we do when we’ve been in hiding? We come out. We reach out and we dial an old friend. Or we summon up the courage to send a message to that “cool mom” we met the other day. We rebuke fear, we conquer doubt, and we soften the self-judgement and we move forward. We do it for ourselves, and we do it for our family. We follow the bible’s example when it says that “two are better than one” (Eccles. 4: 9-12). We apologize to anyone we may have hurt during our isolation, and we ask for forgiveness. And lastly, we stand fully loved and fully known by the One who created us.