I discovered I was an introverted mom when my eldest daughter was about 6 months old. I couldn’t figure out why the playdates were so taxing on my energy levels. I mean, after all you just sit around, talk about your child’s development and compliment the development of the other babies. Not hard stuff.
Once I realized I was an introverted mom, I instantly set out to work as hard as I could to become an extroverted mom. You know the ones — the super awesome moms hosting all the most amazing playdates, complete with character-shaped snacks and themed drinks for toddlers. The moms who have seemingly endless days and are still so full of energy by the time evening rolls around. The moms who we assume we will be like before we actually become moms ourselves. Long story short, I failed at molding myself into an extroverted mom. And the level of guilt I felt was far beyond any other level of guilt I’d ever felt before. What was this feeling? It was Introverted Mommy Guilt.
Introverted Mommy Guilt is a beast. It makes you feel like a horrible mother and human. You tell yourself that you just aren’t maternal enough or that you just don’t know why being with your kids 90% of the time isn’t heavenly, energizing bliss. You wonder what pills and supplements you can take to fix this. You blame yourself for your children not having many friends. Other moms tell you it’s just postpartum depression and to seek help. No one ever suggests that perhaps you are merely an introverted human, and that doesn’t change just because you bring precious life into this world. If anything, it simply heightens the basic need you have to nurture your introversion.
Since moving to Jacksonville a few months ago, I’ve realized I need to nurture my introversion in this season, to be able to do what is best for my two daughters. They need community. I need community. Our family needs community. So, I’ve decided to put myself out there in a few very calculated ways, to manage my energy wisely and make a few new friends. If you’re an introverted mother as well, I’d like to share these four tips with you to help you also flourish in this season of life.
1. Accept your introversion. Introversion does not always equate shyness. Introversion has to do with where you draw your energy. Do you reenergize alone while reading a book? Or do you reenergize around other people while out for drinks? If you aren’t sure if you’re primarily extroverted or introverted, I recommend taking the MBTI Assessment or taking this free personality test.
2. Be calculated in where you spend your energy. Introverts, hear me please, as this is huge! If you plan to spend too much of your energy in small-talk situations or in big crowds, you will suffer the consequences. You will most likely find yourself having mood swings or just being down for no identifiable reason. This is because you’ve drained yourself and did not proportion your energy well. Find a routine that allows you to fluctuate in and out of highly extroverted situations.
3. Play your own music in your car. This is not science; however, it worked for me. I read this three years ago on a Facebook post and decided to give it a try for a few days, and I’m happy to report I have resurrected my 2007 iPod, and I will not be letting it go anytime soon. This has been great for me! It’s also been wonderful for the children to get to learn about music that is new to them. It’s a win-win.
4. Remember: You are NOT selfish for needing time alone. Release the mommy guilt. Back in ancient times, women had their entire families, plus maids and servant girls to help them. Chances are you don’t have that type of support. Having that support helped them have much more time to themselves. Like our maternal ancestors, we need help. Sometimes the most helpful thing to do for yourself is to get away and find solitude. You are not selfish for needing to recharge alone so you can be your best mama self