Musings of a socially awkward mom.

Remember that time you were 23 years old and you were at a job interview at a bank and you were a bit nervous and you attempted to say “I just spent six years in college” and instead you said, “I just spent sex years in college….” and then you spent the next couple of minutes trying to shift the focus from the fact that you just said the word “sex” in a job interview by talking about how you are so burned out by all of the thinking and hard work of college you just need to take a break for a while and that’s why you’re interviewing here at the bank?

And then you never hear back from them again?

It’s uncanny how alike we are isn’t it?

While this example might not be the best example of my superb abilities to embarrass the hell out of myself (because interviews are nerve-racking), it’s one of the most embarrassing examples I have and I wanted to start out with a bang.

I guess a job interview is a bit different, but nonetheless, this happens to me in a lot of situations:  at the grocery store; when I run into an old high school friend; at parties where I don’t know a lot of people and so on.  I get nervous, I start to say things that make no sense and I’m superb at sticking my foot in my mouth.   It’s almost like all of the inappropriate and unacceptable behaviors that we’re all suppose to repress in order to function come busting out of my mouth like one big long Freudian slip.

Socially, most people probably wouldn’t peg me as being socially awkward as much as they would being “snobby”, reason being that when I don’t know what to ask next or what to say, I usually try to end the conversation or walk away.   I actually do give off a “leave me alone” vibe, but only because I’m so nervous I’d rather sit in a corner by myself than have to endure navigating a conversation.  So, I can completely understand their misconception.

#2

My husband on the other hand, is a master at talking.   I love watching him talk to virtually anyone and make it look easy to boot.   He can be approached by a total stranger at a convenient store, and by the end of a 3-minute conversation, he’ll have figured out that he actually knows that guy because his uncle’s brother sold my husband’s father a motor once in 1994 and because this guy’s son went to school with my husband’s best friends’ brother and they were at a party once together.

What?  I just sent him in to get some bread.  Now he has a new friend?

The thing is, it’s not that I don’t like people, it’s the level of conversation that I hate.  It’s the small talk.  I can’t do it.  You’d think it would be so easy to talk about the weather, or where someone lives or where they work and so on, but it’s excruciatingly hard for me.  I sweat and shift my feet and cross my arms and basically think of an escape plan, which usually begins with me saying something totally offensive or just plain weird.  Or nothing at all until you get so uncomfortable that you leave.

At parties, the small group of women who are exchanging stories about where they bought their wedding rings will give me hives.  On the other hand,  the woman who initiates conversation by asking me, “does it look like I peed my pants because I just got laughing so hard I think I leaked a little”?  She won’t be able to get rid of me.  I’m a sucker for someone who tells it like it is.  It’s real.  It’s raw and I love it.   And what better way to bond with someone than to share stories about peeing your pants just from sneezing?  I would have hired myself in a hot minute if I’d been interviewing me at the bank!?!?!?

Are you good at mingling in a room like it’s the easiest thing in the world, or would you much rather sit in a corner and exchange stories about times you mentioned sex in really inappropriate places?

Which situation makes you break out in hives?  I’m not asking these questions for my health, I want to hear your stories too!!

sociall awkward.

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The movie Frozen. It’s okay if you cried at the end. Especially if you have a sister.

As much as it pains me to say this, once again, my husband may be right (gag).

There are some days, when I’m in the most foul of moods, for who-knows-what-reason and I stomp everywhere and snap at people and am annoyed by everything and just want to be left alone.

Unless my sister is around.  Then, I’m miraculously happy.

“You’re so grumpy and mean to people sometimes.  Oh, but not your sister!”.

And I think it really irritates my poor husband, as it should, because she really does have the magic power to put me in a good mood like no one else does.  I don’t even understand it myself.

We really remind me of Princesses Elsa and Anna.

sisters
Except we’re not that good-looking, even though they’re animated and not real people. What real person has that kind of bone structure anyway?  So unrealistic.

(I took both of my boys to see this at the movie theater because every year our local theater puts on a free movie for the youth hockey kiddos.  And no!  I did NOT cry like a baby when Anna sacrificed her life for her sister Elsa.  What kind of hockey mom do you think I am???  I’m ruthless, that’s what kind!!!)

I don’t know what it is about my little sister, but something happens to me when I’m around her.  I loosen up.  I turn really silly and the serious-mom side of me shrinks back in horror as I laugh until I cry as she and I compete to see who can make their nostrils flare out more.

sisters
One of my favorite pictures of us. Always giggling and laughing at our inside jokes.

She is my best friend in the whole entire world.  I was just lucky enough to get her for a sister too.

And as I sit here at my computer sick, coughing, sneezing and losing my voice, I still feel excited that I’ll be seeing her again tomorrow:)

Who is that one person in your life who always seems to bring you out of a funk no matter what?

But more importantly, did you see Frozen?  And if so, did you cry at the end???  I mean, I didn’t.  I’m just asking.  No judgement if you did.

Bullying? When other boys are mean to my kid. Or, why there may, or may not, be hunting gear stashed in the trunk of my Jeep.

“I don’t like playing the game Monster at recess”, says my 1st grader,  I’m always the monster and I don’t like it.  And sometimes the other boys are mean and shove me down”.

Faster than you can say “open up a can of whoop-ass”, my adrenaline starts pumping, my heart starts racing and I’m fighting off urges to confront the parents of “the other boys” who are playing with my son Si, and bully them myself OR their kids.

Somebody wanna play Monster?   I'll play Monster.
Somebody wanna play Monster? I’ll play Monster mother*uckers.

This is the part of parenting that is the absolute hardest for me:  Not swooping in to fix things for my son.  Other than struggling to be a more patient mother while it takes him 5 minutes to get one sock on, fighting against this rescue-anxiety is the part of parenting no one could have prepared me for.

I’ve heard about this Monster game a few times from my son now, and it’s clear that he doesn’t like the game.  While I don’t think the boys are being malicious or mean and “bullying” him, so to speak, I do think that they are much more aggressive and assertive and rough-and-tumble than Si is, which puts him in a pickle.  He wants to play with them and make friends and be included, but because he’s a bit more cautious and shy, he’s put in the role of the “bad guy” most of the time.

Every time it comes up, I get a rush of anxiety that I have to fight through.   At 11:10, most days, I wonder if he’s having fun out there, or dodging head butts to the stomach.

But, despite how much anxiety and worry this situation has given me, I’ve decided to do a whole lot of nothing about it for now.   And Here’s why:

I used to badger the hell out of him at the beginning of the school year when this first came up.  He’d get off the bus to a barrage of questions.  “what did you do at recess?  did you have fun?  who was mean to you?  why do you play with them? did you tell the teacher? what is his name?  did you tell him no?  why didn’t you say anything? and on and on and on.   I began to notice that I was bringing it up WAY more often than he was, and  I finally realized my questions were not an attempt to help him figure out the situation, but to quell my own anxiety.   Oopsy.  My bad.

In the Real World, no one is going to come to the rescue of my son at every turn and I don’t want him to think that I will at the drop of a hat.  If I did, he’d immediately get the message that he isn’t strong enough or capable enough to figure out the situation himself.  Oh, it would make me feel better to know the situation was taken care of, but he’d be left feeling incapable.   Not a good skill to send my child out into the world with, unless I want him loafing on my couch watching Netflix and saying “I do apply to jobs but no one calls me back”,  when he’s 33.

Here’s what I do try to do:

I’ve tried to ask him what he’s going to do about the fact that he doesn’t like playing the game.  Hopefully this will help him to learn to problem-solve for himself instead of me doing it for him.

I have stopped badgering him with questions.  It’s sometimes hard, but I figure if something really bad happened, I would find out one way or another.

We’ve done a little bit of role-playing.  I play the “other boys” and he plays himself and I pretend to be a little rough with him….but this usually just ends in him laughing at me for trying to act like a 7-year-old boy–and then we fall into the snow and just end up making snow-angels and forgetting about the whole thing altogether.

I try to remind myself that while it would be so much easier for me to fix this for him and make myself feel better, that it would end up making things harder for him in the long run.  There’s nothing more unattractive in a man than one who complains, “that’s not fair”.

I type all of this with confidence and if you are reading it, it sounds like doing all of this comes easy to me, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.  I think about it quite a bit and I have to actively work at doing nothing and not making things much, much worse.  Sometimes I do a really good job and sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes, when I bring him to school and we run into one of the “other boys”, I have to restrain myself from tripping him in the hall and sending him and his over-sized book bag flying face-first into the linoleum.

Don’t be silly.  I would never do that.

And the truth is, I am glad both he and I are having to grapple with this right now.  It’s hopefully teaching us some good skills.  Him, to speak up for himself, to assert himself and to trust in his own ability to navigate tough situations.  Me, to trust that he is capable of figuring out how to take care of himself, to realize when I’m being guiding and when I’m being overbearing and to understand that I can not and should not shield him from Real Life because at some point he’s got to learn how to function in this world–and that’s better learned sooner rather than later.

It’s scary.  But I think probably one of our most important jobs as parents is to invite our fears in, sit down with them and say, “Bring It”.

It’s an ongoing struggle for me to stay in this mindset, but I’m trying to remind myself that dressing in my husband’s camouflage hunting gear, hiding in the bushes at recess, and spying on my son with a pair of binoculars Just.  Isn’t.  The.  Answer.

Although I don't see what the big deal is.  No one would even notice.
Although I don’t see what the big deal is. No one would even notice.

So, I’d love to stay and chat, but it’s so nice out that I think I’ll go for a leisurely drive.  I mean, one of the other boys lives on one of the roads I’m driving down, but that is so totally not why I’m driving that way at all.  Even though I know his mother gets home in 20 minutes and drives a grey minivan with blue interior and has a left rear brake light that is out with the license plate JSK 433.

It’s just purely coincidental.