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The Introvert and kid/family social obligations (birthdays, sleepovers, etc)

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 

I think I am getting more and more introverted as I get older. I have gotten to the point where I really don't like hosting events at my house. We did two sleepover birthday parties this year and I just feel kinda done with that. I am okay if good friends  (mine and the kids) or the little girl down the street who rarely overstays come over for a playdate, but I just am not into hosting birthday parties or having more multiple kid sleepovers. I sucked it up anyway for the birthdays and I guess that's what I will continue to do with sleepovers that need to be reciprocated, etc, but I would be perfectly happy if I never had to host a party at my house ever again.

 

Just wondering if there are other introverts out there who deal with this. Tips? Tricks?

 

I'm hoping to talk the kids into some other event next birthday season (a party elsewhere like a museum, trampoline place, trip, etc). I am okay hanging out with other folks outside of my house where I feel like there's an exit strategy if I start getting overwhelmed. I'm not a complete hermit. It's just that if people are in my space I feel like I have to be "on" for them and then there's the whole problem of not being able to say, "well, I've got to get going home, see you later," when I'm already at home.  Plus I get stressed out about cleaning (housekeeping not being a natural for me). The whole thing is super stressful and I don't really enjoy it during the party either. I do sometimes like going to other people's parties (depending on the person), but I would mostly rather meet people somewhere for dinner, etc, than have them to my house. 

 

Can anybody relate?

post #2 of 67
Oh, I can relate! So far I've managed to avoid sleepover parties, mainly because dd11 is very much an introvert too. The only person she wants to have sleep over is her best friend, who doesn't "count" as company to me because she's been around since they were 5 and she's just that kind of kid. Dd4 is NOT introverted so I have a feeling I'll be dealing with it more in years to come.

I do suck it up for birthday stuff and usually have fun during but wow was I happy when dd started preferring trips with one or two friends over a big party! She just attended a party with 15 8-12 yr olds and that looked like a nightmare to host even for my extreme extrovert friend.
post #3 of 67

I don't think there's any reason you have to host parties at your house. The kids probably wouldn't even question it if you gave them a choice of 3 party venues to pick from, without your home being on the list of choices. It seems like we rarely get invited to birthday parties at someone's home -- it's almost always an inflatable place, mini golf, the park, etc. (I do backyard parties, but I'm definitely in the minority in my area.)

 

If it's important to the kids to have some sort of celebration at home, you could always host the friend party at an outside venue, then have grandparents and cousins over for cake one afternoon. 

post #4 of 67
Thread Starter 

Oh no, Lima. The kids definitely do care. I have offered other things, but they were sure they wanted to do sleepovers this year. They weren't big sleepovers — just 3 other kids, plus my 2, but that's still a whole lot for me. I'm definitely going to be spinning some other kind of party next year though.

 

No grandparents or cousins involved. We just do friend parties and immediate family celebrations. 

 

We've done a small trip a couple of times. At this point I feel like I'd gladly spring for something bigger if I don't have to deal with party stress.


Edited by beanma - 3/4/13 at 1:28pm
post #5 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
I'm hoping to talk the kids into some other event next birthday season (a party elsewhere like a museum, trampoline place, trip, etc). I am okay hanging out with other folks outside of my house where I feel like there's an exit strategy if I start getting overwhelmed. I'm not a complete hermit. It's just that if people are in my space I feel like I have to be "on" for them and then there's the whole problem of not being able to say, "well, I've got to get going home, see you later," when I'm already at home.  Plus I get stressed out about cleaning (housekeeping not being a natural for me). The whole thing is super stressful and I don't really enjoy it during the party either. I do sometimes like going to other people's parties (depending on the person), but I would mostly rather meet people somewhere for dinner, etc, than have them to my house. 

 

Can anybody relate?

 

I feel the same. I feel exhausted and strained when people stay overnight  at my house. I don't sleep well. I feel like I have to do so much more and make constant conversation.

 

I guess I'd suggest that if your kids want sleepovers maybe limit the number of kids more and space them out. Or talk them into a shorter non-sleepover party, sleeping in a tent outside, party at grandma's house, at a restaurant, etc. Maybe put someone else in charge and you go stay somewhere else for the night.

post #6 of 67

See a therapist to  deal with your anxiety issues. The age of sleepovers does not last forever and it is not about you, it is about your kids. A compromise can be reached

post #7 of 67

I can't believe they'd rather have sleepovers than having a party at a fun place like indoor playground.  Almost all the kids here have birthday parties at other places and that's the norm.  Our kids have been to all sorts of sports places, playgrounds, laser tag places, parks, zoo, even a police station.  Perhaps your kids are just not familiar with those other options.  Talk them into trying something new.

 

I'm introverted (as well as DH) and we'll never host sleepover parties.  I don't think we have to change who we are to be good parents.  The money used for one therapy session is enough for a party at a fun place, so to me that's more efficient. :)

post #8 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlyzombiecat View Post

 

I feel the same. I feel exhausted and strained when people stay overnight  at my house. I don't sleep well. I feel like I have to do so much more and make constant conversation.

 

EXACTLY!! I figure I can suck it up for the birthday parties, but I've realized this year that I really and truly just don't like it at all, so beyond that I think I'm done trying to force myself to be the charming hostess. I don't particularly like cleaning the bathroom or the garage or taking out the compost, and I've realized that I can include hosting parties in that list of Things I Don't Like To Do, but sometimes things just need to get done so you do them anyway. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

See a therapist to  deal with your anxiety issues. The age of sleepovers does not last forever and it is not about you, it is about your kids. A compromise can be reached

 

I guess that means you can't relate? Not very helpful. I'm an introvert. It's an okay kind of person to be. I don't need therapy for it. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poddi View Post

I can't believe they'd rather have sleepovers than having a party at a fun place like indoor playground.  

 

Oh, yeah. They would. I offered dd1 the chance to have her birthday party at an indoor rock climbing place (which she loves) and she thought about it, but decided she'd rather have a sleepover. It may be a preteen girl thing. I offered all the other local options, too, and they really wanted to do sleepovers. I'm really pushing the other options next year. 

post #9 of 67

beanmama no i cannot relate to you.

 

i am with alenushka. perhaps she came across as really trite - but really yeah. 

 

i have a 10 year old and she has a bunch of different aged kids. 

 

they LOVE sleepovers. over anything else. the whole thing of kids getting together. and doing stuff is huge. esp. if you have a dd. 

 

since i am a live in caregiver we have very limited sleepovers at our apt. but dd is over very often at other sleepovers. 

 

mind you though i love sleepovers. i love the noise and everything about it. that is my personality. 

 

but seriously - not to be unkind - if even one kid is messing you up. just one extra kid. there IS something there. 

 

i notice there is so much stress on dd with fitting in. not being able to host a sleepover is really sad for my dd. and i am talking about 3 kids too - two other well behaved but noisy girls. 

 

sleepovers are a rite of passage. i would look at doing at least 3 or 4 in a year. 

 

can you identify what exactly about sleepovers that causes stress and see if you can find ways to handle that. apart from the ones you noted already. i get the have to spic and span your house. its the same here. i can relate to that. but i welcome people because that's the only time the house gets really picked up and cleaned. before things are out of place again. 

 

the only reason why i say so is because its soooo important for my dd to have her friends over for a sleepover just the same way she goes over there for a sleepover. it is REALLY important to her to reciprocate in this manner. and we have to all work at this together to allow this to happen at least 3 or 4 times a year at our house. dd feels like a freak most of the time. she likes having sleepovers just to appear normal and also just so she can have them over at her space too. 

post #10 of 67
I can definitely relate. Some of my dd's friends are fun to have over and some are exhausting. I rarely allow more than one over at a time and I mostly just give them food. I bought a portable DVD player I use to watch a movie to drown out most of the kid chatter and it is much easier.
post #11 of 67

Oh I guess our kids' best friends are all introverted, too (geeks actually) none of us do sleepovers.  That must be why I don't understand.  DS1's best friend has a disabled dad, and his mom is the sole bread winner who works long hours.  We'd never expect them to host a party in their home. 

post #12 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

Just wondering if there are other introverts out there who deal with this. Tips? Tricks?

 

 

Can anybody relate?

 

I can relate. My best tip is to share some of the responsibility with your DD's as they get older and to let go of the idea that you have to be a full-on charming host and party entertainer. 

 

Since my kids were tweens/young teens, if they asked to have overnight guests I agreed IF they helped prepare. They help with basic cleaning and organizing for guests. They set up the sleeping arrangements. Usually they dragged mattresses and blankets and sleeping bags into the family room and camped out in front of the t.v.

 

Food is usually simple, like ordering pizza. At some point, I could even leave that up to them and just hand over the money when it arrived. 

 

Other than greeting them at the door, I don't try to entertain them. I'll go read my book or do something else. I'm there if they need something or if they want to chat with me, but mostly I leave them to their own entertainment. It's a philosophy of benign neglect. I figure a bunch of tweens or teens don't really expect or want me to be involved in their party. 

 

This works best if your home is set up to provide some distance between you and the party. In our house, our bedroom and the living room are on a different level than the kids' bedrooms and the family room. I know that there is a sleepover happening but I can separate myself and ignore a lot of the action.    

 

DH or I will cook a big breakfast but we like to do that anyway.  

 

In summary, my best tip is to let the party happen but it is their party, not yours. You don't have to attend. 

 

Obviously, this applies to kids' parties and sleepovers and won't work if the guests are yours. 

post #13 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by meemee View Post

 

but seriously - not to be unkind - if even one kid is messing you up. just one extra kid. there IS something there. 

 

 

See, this is what we introverts have to deal with. It's not something WRONG with me. It's just the way I am. I don't like to have people over. I asked if there were people who could relate. If you can't relate please don't say there's something wrong with me. It's like telling someone who doesn't like chocolate that there's really something wrong with them and they should like chocolate, or like telling someone they should really like "Call Me Maybe" or Beethoven's Fifth because they're just great. We just don't all like the same things. I just don't like people in my space. That doesn't make me mentally ill. I am extremely familiar with anxiety and this isn't it. 

 

Edited to clarify and add: Here's a great TED Talk about Introverts: I could so relate!! http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/about-the-book/ (scroll down a bit). 


Edited by beanma - 3/5/13 at 7:46am
post #14 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

See, this is what we introverts have to deal with. It's not something WRONG with me. It's just the way I am. I don't like to have people over. I asked if there were people who could relate. If you can't relate please don't say there's something wrong with me. It's like telling a homosexual that there's something wrong with them because they like people of the same gender, or telling someone who doesn't like chocolate that there's really something wrong with them and they should like chocolate. I just don't like people in my space. That doesn't make me mentally ill. I am extremely familiar with anxiety and this isn't it. 


I'm an extrovert, and I agree with you 100%.  What a strange thing to suggest therapy for. 

post #15 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

I can relate. My best tip is to share some of the responsibility with your DD's as they get older and to let go of the idea that you have to be a full-on charming host and party entertainer. 

 

Since my kids were tweens/young teens, if they asked to have overnight guests I agreed IF they helped prepare. They help with basic cleaning and organizing for guests. They set up the sleeping arrangements. Usually they dragged mattresses and blankets and sleeping bags into the family room and camped out in front of the t.v.

 

Food is usually simple, like ordering pizza. At some point, I could even leave that up to them and just hand over the money when it arrived. 

 

Other than greeting them at the door, I don't try to entertain them. I'll go read my book or do something else. I'm there if they need something or if they want to chat with me, but mostly I leave them to their own entertainment. It's a philosophy of benign neglect. I figure a bunch of tweens or teens don't really expect or want me to be involved in their party. 

 

This works best if your home is set up to provide some distance between you and the party. In our house, our bedroom and the living room are on a different level than the kids' bedrooms and the family room. I know that there is a sleepover happening but I can separate myself and ignore a lot of the action.    

 

DH or I will cook a big breakfast but we like to do that anyway.  

 

In summary, my best tip is to let the party happen but it is their party, not yours. You don't have to attend. 

 

Obviously, this applies to kids' parties and sleepovers and won't work if the guests are yours. 

 

Thank you, Olly.

 

I think it would be better if our house was set up to give us more distance, but it's not. I don't try to entertain them beyond helping them get a movie set up and providing some food. The fact is, I just am not into having a bunch of kids in the house. I do it anyway, but really don't enjoy it. I think the kids have a good time, although DD1 did say that things were a little too noisy and out of control for her this year. She's a bit of an introvert and geek, too, as are her friends, but even so she really wanted to have a sleepover. I think it was a bit too much for her, though, and she should be pretty easy to talk into a different kind of celebration next year. Dd2, however, is a bit more of a social butterfly, but I'm hopeful that we can redirect her toward some other kind of partay. 

 

I do have some stress about my own guests, too, except for REALLY close friends. Some of it has to do with our dog who is relentlessly over-exuberant. She's sweet, but always wanting to play with guests. It's just her personality, so I have to manage her as well as look out for guests. We have another dog who welcomes people in and then just goes over and lies down and keeps to himself, so it's definitely a personality issue for Miss Exuberance. She's an extrovert!!

 

My sister was here last weekend briefly (just overnight—came in about 8pm and left about 8am) and I found I couldn't really enjoy her visit. There is some baggage there. We're not really close, but get along fine. She was down to visit my mom. We both have a less than ideal relationship with our brother due to his personality defects (ha!) and issues surrounding care of our elderly parents over the past 10 yrs and he also lives in town and we had to see him last weekend too. So there's already a pretty marked level of stress when I think about my siblings and mom and adding on having her as a guest just made it really hard to relax and enjoy hanging out. 

 

I do enjoy having a good friend and her daughter who is a good friend of my girls over. I don't feel like I have to be "on" for them and can really relax with my friend. It's funny, I am totally not an uptight person—most people think I'm really chill—but as an introvert I have a few close friends rather than a large group of them and outside of my small group I just really don't enjoy having people over.

post #16 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by swede View Post


I'm an extrovert, and I agree with you 100%.  What a strange thing to suggest therapy for. 

 

Thanks swede!

post #17 of 67

I can relate.  I will probably never host a sleepover party unless it can be held at a hotel.  I willingly host sleepovers, but I'm very careful about who gets invited (only one), and when, and they don't happen often

 

Could you make a deal with your kids that if they will agree not to have sleepover parties they can go to summer camp?  Camp is kind of like one really long sleepover anyways.

post #18 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

We have another dog who welcomes people in and then just goes over and lies down and keeps to himself...

 

Uh oh, get him to doggie therapy, quick! wink1.gif

post #19 of 67

Huh, I think the therapy comment is kind of extreme. 

 

Various thoughts, some at odds with each other:

 

I never got to have a sleep over birthday party.  I really wish I could have. Just one or two sleepovers would have been great.  I agree, it is kind of an important object in a kid's life.

 

It's just a sleepover.

 

When my first born was little and I was new at this party planning thing, I hated it. I still dread the thought of hosting parties.  

 

I almost always have a good time during the party.  Almost always feel good about it afterwards, happy that I facilitated some happy family memories.

 

I honestly love how clean the house is afterwards.

 

The work aspect has gotten much easier as the kids have gotten older.  They take over more and more, I'm responsible for less.  They don't want my help, frankly. 

 

The flip side is that while they're happy to take care of themselves staying up late and watching movies in the living room, it's stressful feeling like I want to hide out in our bedroom for the evening.  I don't particularly want to hang with the kids, they don't exactly want me there, but I don't like my evening routine messed up, either. 

 

It's a phase that doesn't last forever, and that helps me cope.

 

My oldest just turned 18 years old.  It came So. Quickly.  You just can't understand how quickly adulthood gets here and your opportunity for making these particular happy memories is gone forever.

 

I think if a kid can't cope with some disappointment, and can't take into account Mom's needs, perhaps that kid needs therapy. 

 

Again, dd turning 18 years old, there are some instances where I wish rather than bending over backwards to accommodate her wants, what I perceived as needs at the time, I wish I'd let her just deal with her disappointment.  There were times when she would have benefited from having to accommodate Mom.  

 

OP, it helps me to make bargains with myself, and my kids.  I hosted one sleepover and found it wasn't horrible. I don't like it, but it made my kid really happy.  So I remind myself how much I wanted this when I was a kid, remind myself that this doesn't last forever, and I push myself to put up with it.  It's a bit like sleep deprivation and nursing and dragging yourself out of bed when you don't want, to get done what needs to be done. It's just a part of parenting I've got to put up with.    And if I'm going to do this, my kids have to make compromises, too.  They don't stay up all night.  Or at least, they've got to be quiet as church mice once the parents have gone to bed, otherwise I'm not going to host again.  I think the  "oh, kids don't actually sleep at sleep overs, haha" is bull shit.  Ever heard of a sleepover hang over?  Yeah, if my kid is going to be useless for the next two days, my kid isn't going to have sleepovers. 

 

That's my take. 

post #20 of 67
Thread Starter 

Thanks journeymom. 

 

For the record and to be clear, we have hosted various sleepovers at several different times. I think in the past year (since last March 5th) we have had 3 or 4. I just don't like them much at all!! We have also taken other kids/families on vacation with us and joined them for vacations and I enjoy that so very much more. My kids have had multiple sleepover birthday parties. Dd1 is 12 and I think her last 3 birthdays at least have involved a sleepover, although number 10 was snow-tubing in the mountains with a friend and not here at home. Dd2 (9) has had at least 2 sleepover birthdays. 

 

I might not have been clear in my initial post. I didn't mean this thread to be about "how can I like sleepovers" or "should I host a sleepover birthday". My kids have hosted plenty of sleepovers and they've been to plenty of sleepovers at other kids' homes. They're not deprived, but I have sort of had a personal revelation after this last one and realized that I really don't like to host them and I think it's just in my nature to not like them and wondered if there was anyone else out there who disliked them, too, not from a standpoint of being worried about your kids, but from a personal standpoint of just really not enjoying them. 

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

 

When my first born was little and I was new at this party planning thing, I hated it. I still dread the thought of hosting parties.  

 

I almost always have a good time during the party.  Almost always feel good about it afterwards, happy that I facilitated some happy family memories.

 

I honestly love how clean the house is afterwards.

 

 

I definitely dread hosting parties. The thing is I don't necessarily have a good time during the party and I don't feel good about it afterwards (see me processing here on this thread) except to think, "Whew, that's over. Got through another one. Don't have to do that for another year." I'm ambivalent about the clean house. I like it, but I'm more testy with the kids about messing it up. I think in some ways I'm a more relaxed Mom in a messier house.

 

I'm just wondering if there are any other introverts out there who are just not into having people over to their house much. It's a touchy subject to talk about with my IRL friends because they think I'm saying I don't want to have them over which is not really it. I just don't like having groups over and parties stress me out. I'm more relaxed if it's a spur of the moment drop-in like, we were going to meet at the pool and now it's thunderstorming—come on over to our house (right near the pool), or just a casual one-on-one playdate. And often, I do prefer going to other people's houses I think because I'm more in control of how long the interaction lasts and when I need to leave I can. 

 

I would absolutely HATE going on a cruise! Trapped! Thousands of people! I can't get away!!! Auuuugggghhh! Give me a nice on-land beach vacation where I can take a quiet stroll down the beach and have a getaway car back at the cottage.

 

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