One of the blogs I read occasionally posted a question about experiences being an introverted mom. For many years had a hard time understanding my need for “down time”. I can be outgoing, and in my teens and early twenties I spent a lot of time with friends, roommates, classmates, co-workers and boyfriends. All the while, I still considered myself an introvert. I was having a glass of wine once with the fiancé of the woman who I nannied for. He was extremely introverted and very shy, but had already had a few, and wanted to chat. So he poured me a glass and we talked while mom put the kids to bed. We ended up talking about being introverted, and how in my case people often didn’t believe me. I put on the “extrovert costume” when I have to, and that’s often all people see of me. He said that being an introvert is not about being shy or unfriendly, it’s about socializing requiring energy of you rather than energizing you.
That really resonated with me. I love my friends and my family, love spending time with them, even sometimes like talking with strangers. But I always need “down time” to recover from being social.
Being an introvert can make being a mama challenging, but also in a way really rewarding. The challenge is fairly obvious – there is no more “down time” and no more time alone. I don’t get to lay down on the couch every evening with a book (or the remote) and ignore the world. Someone is touching me most of the day and night.
In a way, I didn’t expect this to be hard. I’m a hugger. I like kids. I nannied for years. I expected the difficult transition to be when I got married, or moved in with my then-boyfriend-now–husband; suddenly, after living separate lives with a roommate, there was a person who was always there, sharing my life. But I married an introvert who also values quiet time, and because of that we’ve never needed space from each other. At least I haven’t ever needed space from him.
I didn’t realize the benefits right away. I’m willing to spend time home with Pie without really feeling like I’m missing out on my social life. I still see friends occasionally, although less frequently than before, but I was already used to being alone. Living away from my friends and my activities has been hard, even though I was never super-social. I guess in a way that’s why I started blogging. To bring my friends, old and new, closer again.
Being with another person all day every day is hard. We’re muddling through it, and thankfully Pie is pretty mellow. That could be her nature, or it could be her reaction to two fairly mellow parents. I spend many hours of the day in silence, and I realize occasionally that although I’ve been wearing her, I haven’t spoken a word to her in hours. Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m depriving her of interaction. But maybe she’s learning to be OK with quiet, which is something that a lot of people can’t do.