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Confessions of an Introverted Mom

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I’m an introvert.  I’m also a mother.

These two sides aren’t really friendly with each other.  In fact, they seem to pull in separate directions. After all, when you’re a mother it’s insanely difficult to find “alone time”.  (Case in point, the so-called “Bathroom Break”.)

Anyone else experience this?

I’ve gotten a lot better over the years at finding the balance between accepting my introversion, but not letting it define or predict the kind of relationship I have with my kids.

But the world really doesn’t like introverts, so it’s easy sometimes to feel like a “Sub-Par Parent”.

Today, I’ve been encouraged, thanks to the Sisterhood of Motherhood movement, to set that self-judgment aside.

Here you go, world.  Here’s my introverted confession.

My Confessions…

Rather than try to explain myself with long (probably not very clever) explanations, I thought I’d share exactly my feelings about things using a blogger’s best cheat:  the gif.

Brace yourself.  

You’re about to see some very non-politically correct parental feelings.

#1.  This is what I really want to be doing every day.

#2.  How I feel after spending all day with my girls:

 

#3.  What I want to do during nap or quiet time:

#4.  How I feel about playdates:

#5.  My approach to craft time:

#6.  How I visualize cooking with my kids:

It’s all About Balance

I’ve learned over the years that I have find the balance between…

1.  Allowing myself to be who I am – an introvert who needs time alone to recharge

2.  Accepting that my relationship with my girls is going to look different than Erica Extrovert’s, and that’s not a bad thing.

Of course, accepting something doesn’t give me a license to be lazy and selfish.

The girls need me to interact with them.  They need crafts and games and outings.  They need me to be extroverted once in a while.

But I can learn how to portion out the extroverted things they need in doses that my introverted brain can handle.

For me, that means deliberate planning of Family Fundays, park outings, and game nights.  Yes, there are some spontaneous tickle times or other activities.  But the real brain-drainers for me are carefully approached and planned-ahead.

It’s a win-win.  I can prepare myself for jumping out of my Introverted Box.  They get some seriously sweet family memories with Mom and Dad.

It also means that I can say “No” to some things and not feel a wash of “Mom Guilt”.

Take what happened last week, for example…

Rejecting the PC Guilt-Trips

I went upstairs to check on my girls, who had been suspiciously quiet for the past hour.

I found them in a Elena and Bella’s walk-in closet (dubbed “The Cave”) playing Barbies.  All three girls were smashed into a 4×4 square, speaking in falsettos, brushing hair, and flinging doll dresses everywhere.

It was beautiful.

I popped my head in, praised them for playing so well together, asked a few questions about the dolls, etc. etc.

Then it happened.  Lauren asked if I wanted to play Barbies with them.  I immediately felt my hands clam up.  A thousand self-righteous mothers were screaming inside my head.

I said…

No.  

I swear, somewhere a unicorn died.  The guilt was tremendous.  After I got past my “Crappy Mother of the Year” acceptance speech, I sat myself down and went over the facts.

Do I play with my children at other times?

Yes.  We just played a game of Jamaica last night.  We regularly have Family Fun nights. (I’m building a self-reminding record of those on Instagram, btw, if you want to tag along.)

Do my children know they are loved?

Yes.  Absolutely. It blooms out of every smile and giggle.

Do my girls get regular positive interactions with me?

One of the many benefits of homeschooling is that my kids are always within a few steps of me.  I’m almost always available for spur-of-the-moment talks, cuddles, boy-gossip, and all other kinds of soul-bonding stuff.

Did I miss an opportunity that I will forever regret?  

Perhaps, but I don’t think so.   It’s not all that common for all three to be playing together.  (There’s quite an interest gap between the 12 year old and the 5 year old.)  It was nice to give them an opportunity to play alone together.

I’ve Finally Figured it Out

After walking myself through the big picture, I realized I don’t need to feel guilty about saying no to Barbie Time.

Life is about choices.

Choices that happen in the midst of a very big picture. To the outside observer, my decision to say no could be judged as poor parenting…a missed opportunity…a bad decision. But considering myself and my relationship with my children, I feel it was a good one.  There are plenty of other drops in the bucket of “mom played with us” the girls will be able to recall on the therapist’s couch someday.

I’m done feeling guilty for not being an extroverted mom.  

I am an introverted mom.

Hear me roar.

Quietly.

From another room.

Anyone else struggle with self-judgment about not matching some so-called Ideal Mom Picture? What standard do you struggle with? Join the sisterhood, friend.  Share below and be encouraged!

Have You Read These Yet?

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16 thoughts on “Confessions of an Introverted Mom

  1. I struggle with this daily, and I had no idea what it was until I read this post and now I totally understand and don’t feel as guilty for telling my toddler to play by himself for five minutes while I feed his brother. I currently have a two year old and a newborn and I struggle because I get 0 alone time. I feel guilty because I want nothing more then a hot shower by myself or 5 minutes to pee. My husband doesn’t understand and often gets mad at me when I’m upset because I got followed to the bathroom yet again (coming from the man who gets to have two hours in the bathroom everyday alone :/ ) thank you for your post, and your blog… I seriously enjoy reading it through all the midnight feedings!

    1. I’m glad it could encourage you Cassandra! It’s easy to compare ourselves to other moms and find ourselves lacking. All things in moderation, and that includes alone time! I will tell you though, friend, that it does get easier as they get older and more independent. I realize that may not encourage you in the NOW, but at least you can look off to the future and know this isn’t forever! In the meantime, try to find a few moments of quiet during naps or even (brace for shock) while they’re getting some screen time. 🙂

  2. Yes, yes, and yes! I have to be so deliberate with my son! But so much of the time, I like sitting in the “quiet” and watching him play. He currently has a dump truck and just walked backwards to sit in my lap. I labeled it, showed him how it works, and off he went. He stays close a lot of the time, but the feeling like I don’t engage him enough or talk to him enough, is the worst guilt! His gross motor skills are off the chart, but at 18 months, he is sitting at 10 words. Which makes this speech pathologist mom squirm! Mommy guilt….

    1. Catherine, so glad to hear it’s not just me! 🙂 Thanks for sharing, it’s very encouraging to know that other moms struggle with that introversion balance. (hugs)

  3. I’m an introvert and I completely am there with you, Mama. However, the “mom guilt” is bogus. I honestly have NO memories of Mom playing with us, and that’s ok. She was busy doing “mom stuff”. Dad, on the other hand, did play with us, for which I’m grateful, because he worked a lot and the time together was precious in a different way. I love my kids, and I love doing stuff with them and taking them on outings, but I hate “playing toys” as my son calls it. Boring beyond belief. Tickle time, awesome, and I can’t wait until they’re old enough for board games and ball in the yard. In your Barbie situation, I would have observed as stealthily as possible then snuck away before they could ask.

    1. That’s such a great reminder, Amanda! It’s funny that I never think to look back at my own childhood experience to compare. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hilarious. My post today is very similar. I have Been mom-shamed as noted in my post last week and my blog today is about some answered prayers. I love your blog! And you’re a great mom!

  5. O yes. This is me, too. O the guilt trips of not having played dollhouse with my extrovert daughter. And of not going across the street to meet her friend’s mom yet.
    But do I love my kids. Absolutely. Do they know that? Without a doubt. Whew. Maybe I’m an ok mom after all.
    It’s all about Gods mercy and grace. And me being courageous when I need to be, and unselfish. And also knowing that their success doesn’t depend on me.
    And knowing that God gave them the perfect mom that they need. 🙂

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