Birthday Party Season for my kids has started and its made me think about my reaction to social situations.
As a kid, social situations seemed easier as I had my mum as a buffer. These days however there are times when I feel like I have to work at being social – especially when the kids are socially adept like their Dad, even my 19 month old daughter seems to have little issue. When Jason was little it sometimes took a while for him to warm up to new people, at Kindy he would mainly play with the same 3 kids. Alex seems to fit in anywhere and has a diverse range of friends.
Looking back to when I was a teenager I was socially awkward and felt out of place; being friendly was never an issue yet making close friends seemed to be. I felt like I was the square peg trying to fit in a round hole, I felt like I was one the edge of my “friends” group and never really a part of the group. Of course it could have been all in my imagination because of low self-esteem, like I was never good enough to fit anywhere.
Being a mum means that I’m in social settings where I feel out of my comfort zone and there are times when I want to flee from that surrounding – especially when I’m in one of my negative moods. Sometimes it feels within me that I’m meant to act a certain way – yet don’t know what that way is.
I’ve always wanted my kids to thrive when it comes to life and that includes socially as well, so from babyhood would take them along to playgroups, music groups etc; even if I didn’t really want to be a part of it myself. It felt like a sacrifice which I’m finding is part of being a parent.
The boys especially seem to make friends easily and Jason will often ask to have a playdate at one friends’ place or another. If I myself feel comfortable around the other kid’s mum I don’t have any problem especially if I don’t need to be there. Yet if I’m unsure about the other kid’s mum I’m a bit hesitant to allow a playdate to occur.
I know I make mistakes socially, say things I shouldn’t or do things I shouldn’t. I will often beat myself up emotionally over what I deem or what I think the other parent things is faux pas in the social setting. Even if I feel like I have a god relationship with another person there will be times when I doubt whether the friendship is real or superficial. I know a lot of this comes from my struggle with self-esteem and often will try to bring myself back to a more positive frame of mind; however it doesn’t always work and the negative thoughts seem to cement themselves.
Most of the time I don’t allow this to bother me, there have been times though that I’ve allowed those thoughts to bother me, I just hope that none of my children ever have this issue.