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Secrets of an Introverted Parent
My name is Melissa, and I’m an introverted parent. If you are one too – and I’m guessing that you are – let me tell you now… before anything else! Let me tell you – IT IS OKAY.
Do you ever see those moms and dads in grocery stores and shopping centers having full on conversations with their little humans? Not just short sentences. I’m talking about big conversations which require focus on the little human they are talking to. Like, “What do you think of this dress, Casey? I think it’s adorable and will look beautiful on you at the birthday party. But I also think that the other dress in that other shop we went to looked divine!” Then little human, Casey, babbles a whole lot of nothing in response. Bless her. The conversation goes on and on.
Well… I’m not one of those moms. I look at them and think to myself, oh sweet baby Jesus! I’m exhausted just overhearing this. And shortly after…. I am punched in the gut by guilt.
- The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World
- Hiding in the Bathroom: How to Get Out There When You’d Rather Stay Home
- The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World
Introversion vs Extroversion
Carl Jung was one of the first in his field to define the two distinct human personalities – extroversion and introversion. Carl says I’m the very description of an introvert in the psychological sense.
I’m one of those people who need to take a break from the world and re-energize. And I’m not talking about taking a mini-break or holiday at the end of the year. I’m mean taking a break from people every other hour or so. I can only handle people for about two or three hours at most. After that, I’m completely drained. My anxiety rises.
Simply put, introverts feel energized when they are on their own. They need to be on their own to recharge. They are comfortable with silence and solitude, are introspective, and try to limit full on interaction when possible. On the other side of the scale are the extroverts, who get their energy from being around people.
When you realize you are an introverted parent
So what happens when you become a mama and have almost zero time to yourself? (Yes, this applies to your little humans too!).
When I had my first daughter, I remember sitting quietly, cradling her and just stroking her little head. I wasn’t talking or doing anything special. My mom walked into the room and saw us.
I can clearly recall her saying that my daughter was going to be comfortable with silence when she grew up. I didn’t know what it meant at the time. But now, 12 years later, I get it. My daughter is just like me – for better or worse (eek!).
I haven’t always embraced my introverted nature. I always thought there was something wrong me. I hated (still do) going to social events, gatherings, and anything that required me to engage directly with individuals.
The funny thing is, I’m absolutely fine addressing a large crowd – talking to a class or delivering a workshop, or mc-ing a party. Absolutely fine! But put me in a party where I am one of the guests and need to engage in small talk… I feel like I have to work extra hard at it. It’s like choosing the uphill, incline program on your treadmill. I’m quite happy walking on the flat, thank you very much!
Later I found that the sooner I accepted my nature, the happier in life I was. These days, I enjoy my hermit-like life. I leave the house to do errands and then come home to work ie, write for you lovely people. (Thank you, by the way, for reading my stories and allowing me to do it from the
comfort confines and isolation peace of my own home. You have no idea how grateful I am to you!)
Society has told us many times that we need to cherish every moment with our children
Before I learned to accept my personality and true nature, I thought I was a selfish parent. Society has told us many times that we need to cherish every moment with our children. So I would try my hardest to keep engaged and be 100% interested in everything my children had to say. I dressed Barbie in her tiny clothes. I ate plastic fruit and vegetables. I drank from tiny plastic tea cups. And I talked to Teddy, Una, Cookie Cream (yes, Cookie Cream… not Cookies ‘n Cream), Cody, and all the other stuffed toys sitting nicely in a row.
At the end of every day, I waited for the clock to strike seven. And when it did, with my patience wearing very thinly, I would lead the children to their bedrooms, say goodnight prayers, and could not wait to shut the door quickly enough behind me.
For me though, it didn’t stop there. I would go into my bedroom and ruminate. I would berate myself for not enjoying every single moment, like the other moms did. I questioned my skills as a parent. I never even took my children to playgroups. That was too much for me. The thought of spending two hours in a small hall filled with moms and bubs terrified me.
As I got older though (and more experienced as a parent), I realized that the more accepted myself, the happier I was. And the happier I was, the better I was at being a parent.
I learned that it’s okay to take some time to yourself over the course of everyday. Whether you need a break every hour or two – it’s okay.
That extra weight on your shoulders
You keep trying to be an amazing and fully engaged parent, even when really… you’re simply not that kind. I’m not saying that extroverts don’t feel the same way. Sure they do! My point is though, being a parent takes a lot of work and energy. We can’t always be on point – although Lord knows we try!
Over the last 12 years, my children have come to understand (and perhaps, appreciate) how I am. They know when mummy needs some quiet time. And guess what? They actually give it to me. Not only are children resilient, they are quite smart!
Have you tried writing or blogging? I personally find that it really helps me get things off of my mind. It’s also been opened a great career for me… who knew? Life is funny like that isn’t it? In case you’re interested, here’s an honest guide to blogging for beginners.
You can also read about how I started my own freelance writing business from home. I finally said goodbye to the corporate world, because I realized that I loved myself too much to put me through the kind of exhaustion we experience as introverts, when we are faced with that daily routine of false engagement. If you have been thinking about it, here’s 5 things you should do before quitting your 9-5 job.
It’s Okay To Be An Introverted Parent
So anyway – take it easy on yourself, Mama; and allow yourself to be happy. Need a break? Take it. Need some help? Ask for it. Want to treat yourself and get your nails done? Here are 20 simple ways to love yourself. Do it.
Stop feeling bad, stop feeling guilty! Why? Because it’s okay. And you know what else? Because you deserve it ♥
Take the FREE 30 Day Love Yourself Challenge here.