How the Pandemic Saved My Social Life

The COVID-19 pandemic saved my social life.

I know, I know. This sounds ridiculous, but hear me out.

socialGetting together with friends is something I’ve always loved doing, even as someone who is primarily an introvert, but maybe more of an ambivert. While social situations can still be pretty draining for me, I love having the opportunity to get dressed up, go out, and just hang out with grown-ups for a while.

But, as a parent, in order to make that social time happen, we had to coordinate a date {preferably not a school or work night}, line up childcare, shop for or make a dish to pass, get dressed and ready {while being orbited by small children}, make sure the kids were fed before going out, and be home in time to put the kids to bed {or, if I decided to stay out late, operate the next day on too little sleep for when the kids inevitably woke up at the same time as they always do}.

And that was if we could even pick a date and time to get together in the first place.

It. Was. Work.

And if I’m being honest, when March 2020 rolled around, it had been a long while since we’d made the social schedule magic line up anyway.

And then everything stopped.

The beginning of the pandemic was rough. Like so many families, we were all adjusting to our new 24/7 home lives. My husband and I were suddenly both working from home, I was coordinating online kindergarten and nursing an infant, and we had no family or childcare to fall back on. Being home seemed like a dream come true for an introvert, but add in the fact that it was a scary, uncertain, mentally draining time, and no escaping it. On top of it all, people were having online social events like Zoom birthdays and virtual cocktail hours.

After a month or two, I didn’t care if I lost all my friends and never got onto a Zoom call ever again because I was BURNED OUT.

 

But life went on. We checked out for a while, found new routines, and settled in. Ironically, once I went back to in-person work it got a bit better. I was able to get out of the house once in a while and be social, plus we were able to get together with close family again and bring my kids’ grandparents into our bubble. And when my husband went back to in-person work, we had to depend on that bubble for childcare during the day.

And sometime since then, social media and online meet-ups started to feel less like a chore, and more like a blessing — even now, as things start to get closer to normal.

It’s been over a year of this, and I feel more social than I have in years. Even now, we’re still finding ways to meet up, even on short notice — both in-person and online. Oftentimes, all it takes is a group text, a Zoom meeting or Discord link, and a plan {often game night — playing Among Us or Jackbox Games}. No babysitters. No travel time. No staying out too late because even if we hang out until midnight, all that’s left to do to end the night is turn out the lights and head to bed.

Parenting young children, especially during a pandemic, can be an isolating and lonely time. I’ll always be grateful for the things we learned while we were all staying home, and for the chance to connect and solidify bonds with friends {new and old}, even if it’s “just” online.

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