I'm Sorry I Couldn’t Make It To Your Thing, But I’m Tired And Wanted To Stay Home

by Joanna McClanahan
Originally Published: 
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Dear friend/coworker/neighbor/relative,

Sorry I couldn’t make it to your party/event/picnic/celebration. I assure you it’s nothing personal. It’s not you, and it’s not even me; it’s the people I brought into this earth who run my life now.

About five years ago I became a mom, and I haven’t slept since. I’m tired. All the time. My brain stopped working about halfway through my first pregnancy and never fully recovered.

Chances are, the last few times I saw you, I told you the same story more than once. I’m sorry about that. In my defense, I rarely know what day of the week it is, and I’ve forgotten how to have normal adult conversations that don’t include the PBS Kids lineup.

After I had a second kid, the shit really hit the fan. (Not literally, although parenthood does include a surprising amount of talk about feces.) My life is constant chaos of dealing with my kids and listening to them talk, scream, and insert the word “butt” into conversation at any opportunity.

What was my point here? Oh, yes, I couldn’t attend your party/event/picnic/celebration because if I did have a few hours to spare, I would prefer to spend that time doing just about anything else. #SorryNotSorry. Also, it’s not you, it’s me. Really. In fact, there are a ton of things I would love to do with a few hours of alone time:

Lock myself in my room. With a novel, some headphones, and a glass of wine.

Take a nap. Oh, naps, I miss you most of all.

Get my hair or nails done. And remember for a brief moment what it was like to have time for those things.

Go shopping. Real shopping, in a mall, with pants on. Well, leggings, let’s not get too carried away.

Get Thai food. Or something else I love but my family hates. I’d order it to-go and eat it in the parking lot while listening to music.

Go to the movies. Be able to pay attention to what’s happening and not have to talk to anyone for a few hours? Just take my fucking money.

I could go on forever. But you know what would be at the bottom of the list of things I’d like to do? Just under talking on the phone with my extended family for a few hours? Having to make small talk with a group of strangers.

It’s not about your particular gathering of strangers. It’s just that I’m still dealing with some postpartum anxiety and large groups in small spaces give me the people sweats (which is probably a made-up term but it doesn’t make them any less real), which, in turn, makes me about a billion times more anxious. The cycle basically goes: Anxiety. Sweating. More anxiety. More sweating. Rinse and repeat.

And if you’re wondering why I don’t just bring the kids along, then you probably don’t have kids. The only thing that makes me more anxious in a group of new people is trying to wrangle my shrieking, flailing toddler in front of them. “Nothing to worry about, folks, he screams like this all the time. Well, not all the time. HAHA. He’s fine. It’s fine.

Again, I’m sorry I couldn’t make it, but at least be thankful that I spared you the shit show that is the wrath of a 4-year-old and the awkwardness of people sweats.

Just be patient with me; I will have the energy for adulting again sometime soon. But for now, I’m saving all my free time for myself, because I need it as much as I want it. And you know what they say, “Happy wife, less likely she is to burn it all to the ground.” At least that’s what they should say.

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