Then: September 5, 2006
Recently, on another blog, the topic of personality types was brought up and having some history/ familiarity in this area, I began pondering my MBTI profile (INFP for those curious) and how it plays out in my role as momma. Mostly I have been thinking about how being an introvert may affect me as I parent.
As a point of clarification, when I speak of introversion, I am speaking of where I derive/focus my energy. I like to spend time alone, to dwell in my head, pondering (things like this), and I am most comfortable here. I still need people, especially my people, but being around people can be draining for me because it requires me to work outside my head, to stay focused on the here and now, and leave the comforting ebb and flow of my internal mind. If you are not an introvert these things may sound odd, check out the links below to get more information if you are curious:
Anyway, back to me (always, always back to me …sigh) … My point is that being a momma doesn’t really leave me much opportunity to sequester myself away into my head. There are always things asking for my attention, not to mention people who prefer I actually speak to them, answer their questions, and acknowledge them once and awhile. And then there is the fact that I have a very extroverted middle daughter who is currently in the “What are you doing mom? “Why are you doing that mom?” “Can I please have …” “Can I please go…” “Will you please …” etc etc and on it goes until all I feel is the tension between my shoulders getting tighter and my brow getting squishier (producing very nice wrinkles, and not the good laughter type ones either), and my responses getting shorter and more and more aggravated. And it isn’t her fault, nothing she has done, or asked, or wants is unreasonable and it is very easy to satisfy her curiosity, her needs, and her wants but by 2:30 pm I feel this overwhelming need to fall into my head a shut the rest of it out for a while.
Then the guilt comes, or even the resentment. The resentment. The worst is the resentment, and it isn’t because I don’t love my kids, or life, or anything. It is the fatigue, the exhaustion, the desperation I feel regardless of how much sleep I’ve had, it is from the lack of mental rest I get. And because of these feelings I go to dark places, and then my 2-year-old looks into my face, furrows her brow, practicing for her future wrinkles, (goodness… I hope not … ohhhhh), and asks “Grumpy, mommy?” because that is who I have morphed into, the “grumpy mommy.” I smile, and she smiles and she asks again, “Happy now mommy?” “Yes, dear child, for the moment.” But I am still tired, even if she is darn cute.
So I wonder,
Do I go to this place because I am introverted and more inclined to be overwhelmed by the “in-your-face-ness” of motherhood or is it simply because I am a mom? Do all moms experience this desire to run away from the goings on around them and hide on the computer, in a book, at the sewing machine?Can being an introvert make parenting harder on a person?
Again: August 2, 2015
Well, here it is the “most viewed” blog post I have ever written, it gets hits almost everyday even after 9 years. I think I hit a nerve.
But what do I think after 9 years, and almost 7500 hits later?
No, being an introverted parent is not harder. Parenting isn’t a comparison game. I think parenting can be hard and overwhelming and mentally challenging – regardless of introversion or extraversion.
I do think knowing if you are introverted or extroverted helps a person understand their limits and needs. As an introvert – I need to carve out time to let my brain rest. As a parent, I also need to put aside my “needs” because that is part of the gig.
I also believe it is important to recognize where my children fall in the introvert/extrovert preferences so that I can help them navigate their needs as well.
To my fellow introverted parents,
Find something for yourself – something that meets your need for mental quiet and hold on to it. For me there were a few things: my original blog helped greatly, writing satisfied my need for brain time. I read poetry, or short stories because they were short and I could finish them in the limited time I had. I started embroidering things – the tools were few, I could work a little and feel I was accomplishing something, and it was creative which was a must.
My dear extroverted parent friends:
The same goes for you. I am not like you but I see your exhaustion, I know you get overwhelmed too. Find you recharge events and respect them.
To everything there is a season:
Now that I have more time to dwell in my head – I need reminding that my kids still need my undivided attention on occasion. They don’t ask for it in the same way any more, gone are the little hands on my face. Now I have to watch and read the faces around me – watch for the downcast looks, and tell-tale signs of internal teen angst. Balance is forever calling, may we all endeavour to find it.