A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the struggle of being an introverted mom. There were some preschool birthday parties that Harlyn had been invited to. The overwhelming response to that post was that despite my discomfort in these types of social situations, I should take Harlyn to the parties. If you missed it, click HERE. The first party was last weekend, and unfortunately, although she’d have LOVED the pool party, Harlyn was sick (a cold that got worse and became a double ear infection). So I got a free pass on that one.
Then came yesterday.
Harlyn was so excited to go to this party. It was at one of those bounce places, with blow up slides and obstacle courses. We arrived, she found the birthday girl, and off she went to play. And that’s when it got horrible. Within 2 seconds, she was back by my side, telling me that the slide was too tall. She was a little upset because everyone else was going down the slide. I was able to quickly show her another place to play where there was straight up bouncing space, and all was well. For about 5 minutes. She decided to go down the slide in bounce house #2. She went for it (I WAS SO PROUD) and she survived. I praised her. I gave her thumbs up. I hugged her. But when she went to do it again, she froze at the top…and would NOT come down. So within 10 minutes, I was in bounce house, coaching my terrified and crying baby back down the ladder. She recovered and went off to find more friends…who led her straight up to another slide. Again, she froze. An employee had to stop the other kids from coming up the ladder so she could climb back down. Another breakdown, another recovery. When she tried the obstacle course and had to turn around and come all the way back through, she was totally distraught. She wanted SO BADLY to do what all the other kids were, but she couldn’t. I tried to coach her, encourage her, and tell her it was okay to just run around and skip the slides. By this point, I was totally freaked out. It had been like 20-30 minutes of a two hour party, and she had cried multiple times. Eventually I took her into the hall and we called Brandon because she was simultaneously telling me she wanted to go home and also that she couldn’t leave early. I told her we could go home and I would just tell her friend’s mom we needed to leave, but she ultimately decided to stay after talking to Daddy.
Then it was time for the GLOW bounce room. A breakdown within minutes, and that’s when I was like, Harlyn. We are going to leave if you don’t stop crying. I cannot do this for another hour. She got it together for the WHOLE glow time, which was awesome!! She was having fun running around and bouncing, and just skipped the slides. She was happy. (I was thinking back to the horrible, awkward elementary/middle school years, but more on that in a moment). At the end of the glow time, they did a group picture. Except Harlyn flat out REFUSED to be in it. And then…once all the kids walked away, she lost. her. mind. She started crying that she wasn’t in the picture. By this point, everyone was all together and there was no missing what was going on. Thankfully, someone ran to grab the birthday girl and her mom, and H got a special pic of just the two of them. Then it was time for pizza/cake/snacks, and HALLELUJAH, we survived it just fine.
So, now I’ve set the scene. If you gathered from this that there wasn’t much time for me to even TRY to not be awkward and introverted, well, you’d be correct. I was so anxiety-ridden after the first couple cry-fests that I could hardly even think about what I would say to other moms. But no worries, because literally no one tried to talk to me. When we first walked in to the party, of course I talked to the birthday girl’s mom, but after that? Everyone was in groups, and listen…approaching a group of people I don’t know is like my worst nightmare. I tried to keep my body language open (smile, no crossed arms, etc), but these moms did not seem to want me, even after Harlyn was well on her way to having fun, and I was no longer the mom dealing with the insane kid. And of course, for whatever reason, all the moms I know even a little bit were not at this party.
I had really high hopes for today. It’s not like I thought I’d come home with new mom friends, but I did think I would be able to kinda-sorta do this. And honestly, I think I would have been better off if at the beginning I hadn’t been on high alert for H. I’d have been able to establish myself in a group more easily if I hadn’t been rescuing my girl from slides ☺ But instead, these two hours of my life I spent wishing we’d have gone to a pool or home party instead of one outside of her comfort zone. I just never expected this to go like this. I thought she’d be perfect and I’d be the awkward mom, but we both bombed this one. I didn’t stand around on my phone, although I desperately wanted to. By the end, I did get up the courage to go chat with the mom of last week’s party that we missed.
Here’s what I learned Sunday:
- I will NEVER take Harlyn to a bounce place party by myself. EVER AGAIN.
- Although I am a functioning human in real life, this does not translate to mom life/SAHM life. I would never make the cut.
- I will try again…eventually. The trick is to not have your kid crying the whole time and find a group early on.
- If I EVERRRRR have a party, I will always be sure to be on the lookout for the “Meghans” in the room and bring them into my group.
- My daughter is me even more than I knew. She has just as hard a time letting things roll off her back as I do. Once something bothers her (me), it’s hours of struggle. Harlyn, if you ever read this post, I am sorry for passing my insanity to you. Please forgive me.
Alright then. There you have it. I tried and I failed. And although I want to never step foot out of my house again after that experience, I know I need to. I’ve got some new moms coming up in the school year…maybe my newest BFF is in H’s fours class. ☺