You might notice me. The mom sitting alone at soccer practice. Maybe I am quietly watching, or maybe I have my nose in a book. Maybe I’m mindlessly scrolling on my phone.
You might wonder about me. You might make assumptions. You might question why I don’t engage very much with you or the other parents, other than a quick hello. You might think I’m shy. You might even decide I am stuck-up or simply unfriendly.
But that isn’t the case at all.
In another time and place, you and I might have already become fast friends.
I actually love being a part of a community of parents. Truth be told, I couldn’t do this whole parenting thing on my own. I need the comfort of hearing another mom or dad say, “I’ve been there, too,” when parenting isn’t going so well. I need someone to celebrate with when I manage to pull off a parenting win. I need playmates for my kids. I need friends who understand why I don’t call them for months at a time but don’t hold it against me.
I need all of those things.
And yet, sometimes I choose to sit alone. I choose to not strike up a conversation with you.
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It’s not that I’m shy or stuck-up.
It’s not that I don’t think you are a lovely person or worth getting to know.
It’s not that I couldn’t use another friend. We all know it takes a village when it comes to raising our children.
It’s because after years of being home all day with my children, sometimes I feel socially exhausted.
By the time I get to soccer practice, my introverted side—the side that craves alone time and truly needs quiet solitude to recharge—has been shouting, “Pay attention to me!” for several hours.
Sometimes the only quiet moments in my day are found in the 45 minutes of practice in which my little darling is otherwise occupied.
For those glorious 45 minutes, I get to retreat inside myself.
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I get to tap out from answering a billion questions and being the provider of all the things.
My mind can wander to thoughts beyond my children.
I can get lost in a good book.
I can watch a ridiculous cat video on YouTube.
I can stare off into space.
I can just be.
Even though there are many days in which I crave adult conversation, by the time the opportunity presents itself, I crave alone time even more.
If you see me on the sideline, sitting by myself, or with my face buried in a book, please know . . .
It’s not you. It’s me.
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