Can you relate to these challenges of parenting as an introvert? Check out 5 things only introvert parents can understand, along with tips to overcome them!
Not long ago, my sister and I had a conversation about introverts versus extroverts. Most of our lives we believed I was an extrovert, as I am the more out-going, and we thought she was an introvert – more quiet and introspective. When we became aware of the true definition of extrovert (gathering energy from other people) and introvert (gathering energy from within yourself), we realized I am more of an introvert and she is more of an extrovert. Suddenly, life made a lot more sense!
When my sister and I both had kids, I was able to identify differences in the struggles we experience as moms. If you’re an introvert, I’m sure you can relate to some of the challenges I come across as an introverted parent!
Challenges (& Solutions) of Parenting as an Introvert
- Sometimes, my kids make me claustrophobic. Introverts need quiet and time alone to recharge. When constantly surrounded by my kids and their never-ending noise, I sometimes feel as though my insides are going to burst. Those are the moments when I lock myself in the bathroom for a few peaceful deep breaths so I can focus and keep going.
- Play dates and birthday parties are overwhelming. Prior to school, play dates mean spending time with your friends who have kids – the grown-up relationships are already established and comfortable. Once your kids start choosing their own friends, the tides turn. Now, you need to make small talk with other adults while your kids play. That can be rough for an introvert. Start on neutral territory like the park rather than going to either of your houses – there is much less pressure and you can leave on your own terms.
- Once my kids are in bed, I also need a break from my husband. Like most parents, my husband and I don’t get nearly enough time just the two of us. But as an introvert, once my kids are in bed, I just want to be alone. I’ve found that if I give myself 30-60 minutes to decompress after the kids’ bedtime, I am then in a place to be able to spend time with my husband. If I don’t give myself that time, I am irritable and our time together isn’t valuable anyway!
- I don’t really miss other adults. I have friends who say that they miss being with other adults after a day with their kids, and I’ve never been able to relate to that sentiment. After a full day with my kids, I’m good. I have no desire to talk to anyone else; the fact that my social interaction has only been with little people makes no difference to me. Therefore, I have to work really hard to maintain friendships.
- Staying in the moment is hard. Feeling overloaded much of the time means I look forward to the next time I get a few minutes to myself. That also means it’s a challenge appreciating the moment while I’m in it. A colleague recently gave me a blessing bracelet – a bracelet with four beads that I can focus on when I need a minute to remember my blessings. It helps me stay present and be thankful for each fantastic small moment.
Mom guilt is a common companion for most moms, but if you’re an introvert, you may feel an extra dose. Let it go! The sooner you embrace the person you are and come up with ways to honor yourself while rocking being a mom, the better you’ll feel. Plus, if you have an introverted child, you are setting a great example for him or her.