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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”.)
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
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!
Similac partnered with bloggers such as me for its Sisterhood of Motherhood Program. As part of this program, I receive compensation for my time. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.