It wasn’t until I was in high school I had the words to describe my quiet introspective nature. Most of my life up until that point I was always called “quiet” or “shy”. I hated mixed company and meeting new people but enjoyed my own company and had a very active imagination. I was an introvert; but did not know what that would mean for me as I advanced through life.
While extroverts typically recharge from being around others and may often be seen as the life of the party, introverts sometimes find it hard to find their place in the world. Not until recently more and more corporations are acknowledging and becoming more aware of the value that their introverted associates bring to the table.
Extroverts are often more readily received because they do a good job of making others feel comfortable. Introverts are often misunderstood for being stuck up, distant, not approachable, and the list goes on and on. For most introverts this is not the case. Yes we may like to work independently, and often prefer our own company over being in the company of others at times. This does not mean however that we don’t care for others.
What does all of this have to do with being a mom….who just happens to be introverted?? Glad you asked.
Early into the stay at home order due to COVID-19 my husband and I made the decision to bring our boys home from daycare. I knew it would be tough but I didn’t know just how tough. Immediately, we understood how important a schedule would be if we would make it having a 3yr old and 16 month old home ALL DAY…EVERYDAY. Not wanting them to fall behind we did our best go over what we thought kids their age would probably be learning if they were still in daycare. We were doing all of this while still attending to our work responsibilities between calls and Zoom meetings. It was exhausting!
I often found myself irritable, fatigued, and looking forward to their nap time. My boys were not “being bad” but they were certainly being busy. Between my 3 year old thinking he was Miles Morales re-enacting the Spider Man movie (…which had very good representation, if you haven’t seen it I’d certainly recommend it.) for the 300th time and my youngest finding every single thing he possibly could to get into I was running out of steam.
It was so easy to take for granted the services child care provides when it is on you to be the mom, the chef, the teacher, etc. As the weeks rolled on and COVID not letting up there were moments I felt I was at my wits end. There did not seem to be an end in site. I just needed some relief. There was no break. Even with a pretty sold schedule in place it was hard. I was DEPLETED! I started wondering if there were any other moms feeling how I felt or if I was a horrible mom for having these feelings.
Somewhere between me sobbing in the bathroom and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the 100th time it donned on me. Just because I became a mom, that did not mean I stopped being an introvert. How I was hardwired did not take a backseat to my role as a mom. Moms pour out a whole lot. We give even what we don’t have often times. Because introverts recharge differently than others, if we are not given an opportunity to escape and be alone we start to crack. Parents don’t always get the opportunity to be alone especially with very young children. Having someone to depend on you for everything can take every ounce of what you have.
Once I came to this realization I started being a little more lenient with screen time and we put the boys back in daycare a few days a week. I had to put mommy guilt to the side so that I could take care of myself. Getting a break from not having your name called all day and trying to adhere to a schedule [I think] has made me a better mom during this pandemic. Truth be told as much as we feel we need a break from them, they need a break from us sometimes.
I could have judged and/or shamed myself and my introverted nature for not being as emotionally present of a mom as I would have liked to be with my boys home. However, I thought about all the ways my introvertedness (definitely think I just made up a word) made for a positive experience for my kids. I’m more patient when it comes to their emotional needs. In my alone time I have been able to reflect on how my own children are wired and what they may need from me to feel heard, appreciated, and respected.