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Being an Introverted Mother
My oldest "baby" boy is about to turn two. I'm completely in denial. In fact, sometimes I can't even believe that I have two children. When did I become the grown up? How did that happen? (Well, yes, I do know how that happened, so keep your smart ass comments to yourself!) My friend recently told me that she's pregnant and scared to death. She sent me an email spilling out all of her fears and thoughts about becoming a mother and I would love to post all of it here, but she'd probably kill me. But she brought up something that really resonated with me:

"Will I even be a good mother? I'm always so selfish w/ my time and energy....and I get so in my head and detached from those around me...."

This was probably my biggest fear about becoming a mother - that I would no longer be able to get "in my head" and detach from the world. Now I'm sure that some of you are reading this and shrugging your shoulders in confusion. But some of you, and you know who you are, know exactly what I mean. It's difficult to be an introvert in an extroverted world. And it's not just the discomfort an introvert feels walking into a room full of strangers. Being an introvert affects every aspect of your life. As an introvert, I need time by myself - to read, to take a walk, to take a bubble bath, to be alone with my thoughts - the way others need to breathe. But being a mother requires you to be on 24/7. Time for yourself is hard to find under the best of circumstances, but when you throw work, a husband, and two children into the mix, it can become almost impossible.

So how do I keep from drowning? I'm lucky enough to have the most supportive husband on the planet and that helps. T can tell when I need to be alone. He knows that when I'm beginning to snap at people, when my face looks a little pinched, and when I don't smile and laugh quite as easily, that it's time to take the kids on a Daddy outing so I can have some time. But I also take advantage of the time when I'm at work. I used to be a social butterfly at lunchtime at work. My job is frequently full of solitary research time and I liked to have a little social contact. But now, if I'm not in client meetings, depositions, or court, I frequently grab my lunch, close my office door, and read the paper for an hour. When I'm driving to and from work, I turn off the radio and listen to my thoughts.

I can't say that I'm not frustrated at times, or more stressed because I haven't had as much alone time as I'd like, but what mom does? And I've also discovered something I never expected. When I manage to get my toddler and baby to stop running/crawling around like wild animals and spend some quiet time with me - reading, playing with blocks or play-doh - it's better than spending time by myself.

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Blogger Pendullum said...

That was perfectly written... your kids are very lucky to have you...

Anonymous CrankMama said...

You've captured my feelings completely! Thank you! I need so much more quiet alone time than almost anyone I know, sometimes I feel like a creature.

Anonymous Donna said...

It's like you have typed my thoughts word for word. (I figured out a way to post!) ;)


Blogger PunditMom said...

It was such a revelation to me when I turned off the radio and started listening to my own thoughts when I'm alone in the car, and it's glorious.

No non-stop, stream of consciousness six-year-old chatter (which, in small doses, can be charming), no news of the war, no weather reports -- just blissful quiet. Until I was a mother, I never realized how wonderful it could be.

Anonymous quiet mama said...

when my kids became two, i found myself fixing the playroom and designating/expanding their spaces in the house. they literally ate up a lot of space in my life.

after that, i couldn't find a "room to myself", so i cleared out the clothesline area/balcony. so it doubles as my meditation room, i put up a hammock and a mat.

still, i have to "schedule" a time when i can stay there, and the kids are not using that "extra space" as their extended playroom.

but when they are fast asleep and i just watch them snuggled to each other, that's when the "alone" time is so much sweeter.

Blogger Mamma said...

I use work as my alone time too...and I'm an extrovert (most of the time).

I know what you mean by not feeling old/adult enough to have kids. I still look for my mother-in-law when someone calls me Mrs. Mamma.

Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

I seem to become more and more introverted the older I get.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the exact same experience, many moons ago. I found that being a mother forced me out into the world more and made me more empathetic and more patient. And, as you've pointed out, it's still possible to have that alone time that's so important for recharging. You just have to be more creative about it.

Anonymous Robin said...

Interesting.....this zoning out concept. I now understands what I am doing to zone out....I am grazing in the kitchen:] I could not understand why I am eating so much since my little girls birth (she is now four years old)Unfortunately picked up some weight. I just had a light bulb moment. It is because I did not take care of myself by making the time to have alone time. It just seems impossible at times...

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