For busy parents, living social is hard work

January begins the dark days. It marks the end of the holiday season and all its requisite socializing. I love January. It’s not that I’m anti-social or anything, it’s just that I’m exhausted. The irony is, I miss my friends.

We have many sets of friends we love to get together with (“with whom we love to get together” for the grammar Nazis out there, but that just sounds so pretentious and would make you think we’re people with whom others may prefer to not get together. Plus I prefer to end with “with” so you will know I truly am a born and raised Chicagoan.) But the majority of our friends have kids, so getting together is as rare as a snowflake in Chicago these days.

Part of the problem is that I’m not very proactive in scheduling a social life for us. I tend to, lazily, let others do the coordinating, and, mostly, we’re always game for whatever is up. Yet, when a weekend rolls around and I can look at the calendar and see both Friday and Saturday nights are free, I want to run around my kitchen doing the Snoopy dance. Squeee! A night at home with my family! A dinner together, maybe a movie after. Heaven!

If you had told this 1980’s party girl she would have thrilled to a weekend at home with her family, she would have invented the hairy eyeball back in 1987. I am a very social person, don’t get me wrong, but there just aren’t enough weekends in a year to maintain adequate social contact with all the people in my life that I love and want to spend time with. I feel like I should make a pact with all my parent friends: See you a lot in 2020!

It’s never too late to make resolutions, I suppose, so I could add, “Force self to schedule time with friends I love and miss,” to my list for 2013. I’m always so happy when we do get together and afterwards find myself thinking, Why don’t we see them more? Until I remember, Oh yeah, that’s right, no one’s invented the 27-hour day yet.

Don’t even get me started on my single friends, whom I love just as much as my married with children friends, but they all, to a person, seem to have a skewed sense of what I am capable of socially. Yes, about once, maybe twice a year, I’m able to go out for martinis on a Thursday night, or go for a long coffee after a run together. But I have a job (two jobs, if you count writing books and blogs), a husband, three kids and a house to run. Plus, I try to get in a little exercise so I can accomplish that aforementioned life without putting my head in the oven on the days when I want to scream from the overwhelmingness of it all. Days like today.

Come to think of it, my dear single friend whom I’ll call “Margie,” I think I'm free tonight.

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