Excited to find you all!
Holiztic... I was in a similar situation as you with my first child. Play dates made me want to cry and scream. What helped at first was having ds2... then they could play with each other! When ds1 turned 3, even though I had been dead set on homeschooling, we actually sent him to preschool b/c I realized that he was so extraverted that even schooling him would drive me nuts. What is funny to me now is that ds2 is exactly like me, personality-wise, and if it were just us, I would gladly homeschool him! He likes school, though, just in a quieter way than ds1.
So I say, send him to preschool, let him get all the extraverted socialization time he needs, and spend the time doing what you need to do. Sounds like a win-win. I LOVE my kids being at school and could never imagine HSing now!
I found this tribe b/c I have a job that is seriously incompatible with my introversion. I own a natural baby store. For the first year, it was online, with one-on-one orientation and shopping sessions in my house. I scheduled these at my convenience, and it was never more than me and 1 family. That suited me fine, and was actually fulfilling b/c being 1-on-1 allowed us to get comfy and I was actually able to advocate for natural birth, no circ, etc.
Now we are in a retail space, open 6 days a week, 10-5, and I am to the point where I cringe every time the store door chime rings. I mean, hopefully they will give me their money and all that, but the thought at having to do yet another cloth diaper information session on the spot, multiple times a day... it makes me crazy. I have free orientation sessions for many people at once every other Saturday, and you get 10% off for attending that, but people still demand to be taught everything whenever they walk in. I try to talk them into attending the orientation, but when they refuse, I get so angry at them that I have to step in the back for a minute to calm down.
I hired my dh b/c he is extraverted and a born salesperson, but even that isn't working b/c he doesn't get me either and shoots me these exasperated grunts and looks when the door is chiming and I'm in the back working on the website or something. Or when I don't fall all over myself greeting customers and making small talk. All the required small talk kills me. My new least favorite is, "So how's the store going?" Really? Do you really want to discuss my business model and performance? Dh tells me I should just say, "Fine," but every time I get asked it, I am so flummoxed that I think it must get awkward.
What also irritates me is that I think my dh thinks there is something wrong with me, but I know I have just always been like this. I really miss my old set-up with lots of time to myself and the ability to schedule when I had to talk to people. And I am really great in front of a large group, like the orientation sessions - I just can't stand people walking in, with no control over my schedule or allowance for my mood.
I am afraid that this retail storefront was a huge mistake.