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Introvert Survival

10 Reasons I am not ready for September


1. It is August 20 – which means I have weeks left of summer and I do not want to whittle away this precious and limited time with thoughts of after summer

2. It is warm and pleasant and wonderful out here on my deck overlooking the neighbourhood and nearby hills – my eyes have not gazed about long enough yet…not nearly long enough.

3. My daughter turns 15 in September and I don’t have a present for her or the emotional capacity to deal with my mummy feelings about this multiple of 5 birthday.

4. My birthday is in September and 43 sounds worse than 42 – I like even numbered years better.

5. Change is coming … (insert shiver) … change …

6. Once September comes – October follows and October is a tough month for me.

7. September heralds the end of this summer of mum.

8. I haven’t gone kayaking with my friend yet – despite her many efforts to get me out in her boats

9. My grand plans for a better learning/working space have stalled.

10. It is August 20th … do I really need to have any other reason?

So September –with your siren call for new pencils and fresh paper, your promises of new beginnings, and fun birthday celebrations, your temptation of cool weather for pots of tea and bowls of soup –wait your turn!

I am still lazing about here in August, in summer’s company. Oh, I know you are “technically” still summer – but I know your cunning ways, I know you want to lull me back into the rhythms of fall.

Stay back …back I say. I will get there … all in good time.

Dance Lessons: Finding my Rhythm


I love to dance. I have never taken a lesson, unless you count that one tap lesson which is forever etched into my brain due to the sheer force of stress. I still shiver when I think about “heel toe heel toe.”

Regardless, I have loved to dance since I was a small child. There are tales of me starting conga lines at bluegrass festivals and stomping my feet in the dust, barefoot and alone – all while the Sunday morning gospel singers played.

There was a lot of music played when I lived with my mum and stepdad. Loud and varied and always just right for dancing along. We knew musicians who slept on our floor when they traveled through town. They lifted us up onto their shoulders and sang and shouted and made the world alive with movement; alive with music.

Later, living with my dad, the music changed to a distinct country twang, musical and filled with story. There wasn’t a lot of dancing. But there were occasions when my dad was called upon to bring out the spoons and accompany my lovely aunt on guitar, Maritime kitchen party style. Those moments breathe like life in my memory.

Then there were the dances – those school dances when the boys lined up on one side and the girls on the other, two parallel lines jumping and mashing about all jittery and joyous. It felt like home – the most at home I ever felt at school. I was outside myself – the chubby mousey blond girl everyone forgot about shed her skin and the bright world shone through as she danced – forgetful and free.

That feeling was always the same – even when I went out dancing in my early twenties; dancing with friends at bars, pubs, or concerts. I could dance all night and never see a soul between the tight spaces on the dance floor. I danced for me.

Later, I danced with my kids when they still fit on a hip – we danced in the living room, “a wild rumpus” of movement. We danced.

But that was a long while ago – the kids have long since outgrown my capacity to carry them on my hips. Our days have turned to more serious matters and doings and goings about. There are no more school dances, or nights out at the pub; there are few concerts or weddings. I hadn’t danced in a long time.

But this summer, a dear friend lit a fire and helped me make hula hoops with the kids. Not your little dollar store hoops but big ones even I could use. Sheepishly, I started hula hooping – and I felt a little awkward about it. I felt exposed to the world out there hula hooping in my backyard like some overgrown kid. But then I put my headphones on (which are wireless – and wonderful – many thanks to you, husband) and I let music fill my head. I closed my eyes, shut off my oft times busy brain, and let my body take over – moving to the rhythms.

I was dancing. It felt like home again. It was the closest I have been to joy and freedom in a very long time. I felt a forgotten piece of myself come alive again. I hadn’t realized how much I needed to dance – how important it was to the wholeness of my person.

It can be easy to put aside those things which seem to have no “place” in the day to day living out of a life. But sometimes, those “things” are pieces of our hearts, our beings and they need to be part of our lives not matter how out of place.

So if you spy me in my backyard hula hooping, or dancing around in my living room despite embarrassed teenagers ducking into their bedrooms – I hope you see joy and freedom.

And if I spy you – flying a kite or doing somersaults or cartwheels or swinging high on the swings at the playground – I promise to rejoice with you in spirit.

This Summer of Mum

IMG_5792I don’t want to.

It is as simple as that.

I just don’t want to.

For years I have made great efforts to try to ensure a lively and fun summer for the kids – full of the activities and outings we seldom have time for during the “school” part of our year. I compiled lists of local activities, took them to parks, enrolled them in music camp, and even cajoled my husband into some traveling. By the time September came around, I would still feel guilt about the days we did “nothing.” Guilt because somehow I got the notion that I was letting my kids down if they didn’t get to go camping. Guilt that I was short-changing them on their childhoods.

Admittedly, I did not have this kind of childhood. I remember some family outings but mostly my parents did what they did and we never expected anything else. I know I envied my friends who took family vacations, went to Disneyland, or family reunions. I wasn’t devastated but I did want to have the kind of family that took time to be together, to make memories, to enjoy each other’s company. So I carry this “child” want into my life as a parent. I want them to have what I didn’t get.

Summers past
Summers past

But they have had holidays, and trips, and camping, and music camp, and time … lots and lots of my time. When is it enough? When do I stop trying to fill that hole that lives just inside my chest and recognize that stuffing things into them will never change what is past – and acknowledge that it is in the better interest of myself and my children if I slow down and take a breath.

Now is the time.

This summer is – the summer of Mum.

We shall stay home, and I will read. We shall stay home, and I will rest. We shall stay home, and I will not feel guilty.

They will have my time, my energy, my attention – here, at home – and together this too will become a cherished memory. These the lazy days of summer 2015.

Then and again: Introverted parenting …is it harder? : Re-examined

 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:
Know your Type: basic definition of introversion
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.

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