Those of you with extremely little kids might not have hit this yet, but I think once your kids get to school age, there comes an expectation of social interaction.
Watching my kids with their friends confirms it in my mind. These kids need, beyond school, ways to interact with humans in their own age group who are not their siblings, face to face. They get something from their friends that they don't get from their family. I get that there's negative pressures and influences too, they're also learning how to negotiate and cope and empathize with people who are equals instead of the preset expectations that exist in a family dynamic. All things that I found very hard to adjust to as an adult and still challenge me today, which I chalk up to having a very dysfunctional family and isolated childhood.
But I'm an introvert. By god, I am an introvert. I can go months, maybe years without calling a friend on the phone. And I do enjoy a good chinwag, but I just have a limited tolerance for other humans in my headspace after I've already gotten through an entire workday/week.
So how do other people deal with this? I don't want to have other kids over, I don't want to go through the effort, I resent what it costs me in emotional energy and supervision and sanity to have more voices, more people to monitor, more, more, more. I feel like I deserve to go do the things that recharge me, like hiding with a book, or going for a hike with my dog.
I get that I'm whining. I'm honestly seeking some advice on how to balance this against my innate desire not to deal with it at ALL, which I don't think is going to benefit the kids.
Wookie, I think it's about your kids and not you. You don't have to entertain the other kid--I find just the opposite when GG's friends come over (assuming your kid is around the age of mine--9)--they occupy themselves with little intervention from me (except keeping Baby Grey away from them). You shouldn't have to entertain any parents, that's for sure. So, I don't really get why you would feel so resentful by having your kid's friend over. I find it preferable to have a kid over rather than take my kid to a birthday party where I potentially have to interact with lots of other parents.
Yes, I've been thinking about this and I came to the same conclusion as LG. I am definitely an introvert, but it is not a big deal to have a kid over playing with my kid. They really don't want to hang out with me. At most, they want some snacks.
This just doesn't sound like an introvert issue to me. Social anxiety? Just being burned out on kids period? I don't know.
This is why I stay up until all hours of the night: the silence. Ahhhhhh the silence, the aloneness, the nobody interrupting me with needs. With all due love and respect to my kids and my spouse, it's fucking fantastic to have my mind to myself after 11 p.m.
But I, too, find that my kids' friends actually alleviate the stress of being the only one my kids want throughout the day. There's way less, "Can I have a treat? Can I watch a show?" when there are friends over than when there aren't.
What you describe almost sounds like sensory overload to me. Or am I misreading?
It may well be a sensory overload. There's no question my kids get their sensory quirks from their parents.
Reflecting on this, it is actually easier taking the kids out to some place neutral (park) than having other people in my space. It's just logistically difficult with my obligations to the family pets to manage. 1 adult vs. 3+ kids 10 and under and 2 dogs is a lot to take anywhere.
Different kids evoke different reactions for me. There are kids who are no trouble at all to have over, kids who are loud but I can tolerate, and then there are kids (one or two in particular) who I would rather eat ground glass than have over. The incessant shrieking*, the turf wars over the few electronic devices we own (the iPad, oh glorious iPad), begging to go in the pool, finding items of furniture moved or swings shortened so that they can do gymnastics, the touchy-feely need of this one kid (who weighs 50+ lbs and will pounce hug strangle you from behind) just...
Sometimes, having people in my space is hard. And I am legally obligated to put up with the children who I gave birth to or person I made vows with. I can not tolerate, most times, having my space so disrupted (see notes above) by extra people.
So re-reading and re-thinking this leads me to believe:
1) introversion is really only part of this problem, for me.
2) burn out, sensory, ocd, something else is contributing (or maybe more than one thing) Not sure how to address that.
3) it's more about specific kids than kids in general, which if I can skew things so only kids who don't damage my calm are here, might not be so bad.
* the shrieking is a girl thing, I swear to god, years of scouting has led me to come this very sexist conclusion.