One of the biggest struggles I face in life is the fact that I'm an introvert and I'm raising boys who are, by all accounts, not. They seem to like and enjoy spending time with other people -- a thing of mystery to me. I can't exactly teach them otherwise, that seems to me like it might fall under bad parenting to encourage my children to hate everyone and become reclusive weirdos.

I know, I know. Every other thing you read online is an essay on introverts and how to understand them. I know this topic is nothing ground-breaking or new, but hey I have to write about something, so why not the thing that is most draining and awkward to me in every way: other people.

You see, people who aren't introverts don't really understand this: It's not that I'm shy and that I can't socialize well with people, it's simply that most of the time, I choose not to, because it's the most debilitating thing to me in every possible way. Emotionally. Physically. You name it. Having a conversation with someone that I'm not particularly close to about things I don't particularly care about is the equivalent of putting a vacuum hose up to my body and sucking out every single bit of energy and patience that lies within, leaving me a limp shell of a person. A drained balloon. A person, for all intents and purposes, with dead batteries.

It's not that I don't like the person trying to talk to me, in fact, much of the time the exact opposite, the problem is that I am a mis-wired, awkward, insecure, self-conscious, socially inept person that will stand there the entire time having no idea what to say or do to not look like a complete idiot.

Give me a close friend and a meaningful conversation about something and I can talk (or listen) for days. Bump into me at the grocery store and start yammering on about your vitamin deficiencies, or accost me while I'm getting the mail to discuss the weather, or God forbid knock on my door to otherwise invade my personal fortress of solitude and I will actually, physically, start to hyperventilate and immediately think of how to get out of the situation in the quickest way possible, hiding under the bed not excluded.

This is all well and good. Until you have kids. When you have kids you can't not answer the door. You can't not go outside. You can't turn and walk the other direction or pretend you don't see a fellow mom in the cereal aisle. You just have to smile and deal with it and set a good example and be a decent human being. Oh the horror!

When you're a parent, you have to be pseudo-friends with people you normally wouldn't be friends with. You have to smile and nod and commiserate during all the parental things. You have to make small talk on the sidewalk while your kids shoot each other with Nerf darts. It's just part of parenting ... much like changing diapers and cleaning up vomit -- I have to socialize. Just please try to text me first. A little warning always helps.

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