There are down sides to the hermitage, of course. I’m sure you can imagine them: loneliness or isolation, cabin fever, too much time with the same people, etc. The positives, however, are working for me right now. I hope they keep the negatives at bay.
I can’t recall a time in which I’ve ever been focused so closely on my family. The baby, natch, but also my husband. While our time together is limited in ways it never was before my daughter’s birth, and that scarcity can feel frustrating and difficult, it also means that we never take for granted the time we have together. This has resulted in more quality in our time together overall.
My daughter needs structure, so now our lives have structure. Were I still gadding about, every day different, I think we would all feel stressed and overstimulated. Instead, spending time at home allows us to be more relaxed because we know what to expect. This means that I have more emotional energy available for responding to the challenges of the moment.
Being forced to request that our friends come to us, or having to make plans that involve kid-friendly spaces means that we know who among our friends is willing to go to the extra effort to see us. It’s not a negative judgement against those who can’t or don’t do so as much as a positive acknowledgment that some people make us a priority even when it’s more difficult to spend time with us. I feel flattered and grateful to those folks that extend us the extra courtesy and hospitality of respecting our kid-inspired limitations. Those friendships stand out.
I’ve admitted to myself that I’m in the hermitage, and mentioned it to all of you, so I feel much less pressure to try and do everything. By admitting my current state of homebody-hood, I released myself from the vicious cycle of over-scheduling and then flaking out. Frankly, unless it’s mentioned on Facebook I probably don’t even know what I’m missing. Without a regular influx of people into my home (like when I lived with four other adults), I rarely hear about the parties to which I’m not being invited (or would have to decline without finding a sitter).
It’s a mixed bag, yes. However, I’m liking the focus, clarity, and structure parts. I think more positives will be revealed as I proceed.