Social anxiety disorder is very real and way more prevalent than many people realize. It's so common, in fact, that if you don't suffer from it yourself, it's highly likely that someone close to you does. Things that seem simple to people without social anxiety can be huge deals for people who deal with it every day, so there are certain small victories moms with social anxiety can brag about. In fact, they should brag about it, because motherhood is hard enough without social anxiety thrown into the mix.
I didn't realize social anxiety was even a thing until I was well into adulthood. I just figured that everyone felt the way I do about things, so when someone would just, say, call and order a pizza like it was no big deal, I was amazed. The ability to do totally "normal" things without any worry or stress seemed unreasonable, not the other way around. When I had to call and order pizza, it was a sweaty-palmed, trembling voice kind of affair, and I assumed it was like that for the majority of individuals. When I became a mom, things definitely did not improve. Motherhood opens you up to entire new realms of anxiety inducing scenarios that you never would've even considered before you became a parent.
That said, there are definitely things that moms with social anxiety do on a daily basis things that seem simple, but are the exact freakin' opposite. While it's not "cool" to be proud of yourself or shamelessly brag about accomplishments that are worthy of pride, I think more mothers (especially mothers battling social anxiety) should be patting themselves on the back on a more frequent basis. (Well, if their social anxiety actually allows them to brag at all. Ever. Even once.)
Joining A Moms Group
There might not be anything more terrifying in this entire world than voluntarily becoming part of a group of women you don't know. I've done it and it makes me want to vomit. The needy, desperate-for-company side of me did full on battle with my social anxiety and, in the end, won. Still, it was awkward and uncomfortable as hell and made me cry on more than one occasion.
Calling To Make A Pediatrician Appointment
As your kids get older, this one becomes more of a routine and less of a potentially (or already )scary situation. Still, the first few times it's a nail-biter. What if they ask a question you can't answer? What if your insurance doesn't cover this particular provider (even though you checked five times that it does)? What if they think you're a bad mom?
What is this crazy talk about people interviewing pediatricians before they even have a child? That deserves like five gold medals and a presidential honor.
Going To The Park
The first few times I took my toddler to the park, I just knew every mom there was judging me. I felt like they probably all knew each other already and were wondering why I was in their park. Or, they were a mom's group and this was an organized play date.
Talking To The Mom At The Park
What if one of the other moms actually wants to talk to you?! That is enough to make a mom with social anxiety lose it and start rambling and saying what she thinks is the most inane, ridiculous stuff ever to come out of any mouth in the history of mouths.
Going To A Play Date
What if that mom or your new moms group invite you to a play date? Showing up for that is more brag worthy than pretty much anything else in the world. Seriously. A new place and new people? The worst.
Walking Into A Room Full Of People First
That moment when your partner is trying to be polite and holds the door open for you but you hang back because you don't want to go in first? Yeah, that moment is terrifying. When you do go in first, it's a big deal.
Meeting Your Kid's Teacher
I enrolled my 4-year-old son in preschool recently, and meeting the director and the teacher in the same day was so intimidating. I got through it, though. Just, well, barely. It was a big deal, to say the least.
Taking Your Kid To The Zoo Alone
Let's not forget taking your kid to the zoo or the museum or the whatever with no partner or friend. Just you, solo adult. Making the decisions, leading the way, expecting the worst. I feel you. It's a lot.
Getting A Library Card
I've lived in the same town for three years and still don't have a library card. I don't want to go talk to the librarian. Like at all. She's scary AF. If you've done this, good on you, mama. You're brave, and in more ways than one.
Going To A Birthday Party
Unless the mom is a friend of mine, we usually just skip. Honestly, I just can't get over this one. I can't think of a more awkward situation. If you have gone to a birthday party, like your kid's school friends, and didn't know any of the moms, you deserve a freaking medal.