11.11.2010

Introverted Mama

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.

IMG000102

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.

4 comments:

  1. hi Megan,
    i thought i was an alien, wanting to spend time without talking, we have a completely spirited 5 year old daughter who does not stop thinking or talking at any time when her eyes are open. i so need to have time when i don't have to listen or talk.
    your observation about 'someone touching you day and night' is so true, and that being an introvert is not about being shy or unfriendly, it’s about socializing requiring energy of you rather than energizing you.
    keep up the blog, i am loving it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Joanne, thank you for your comments! It's been a challenge learning how to manage my need for space (physically and mentally) with the absolute lack of space I now have. Couple that with my attachment style of parenting, and I sometimes need to mourn my old life with a private office and a quiet, planned life. I've been stumbling upon others who are sharing the same experience, and we're plowing through. I was honestly terrified of having a super needy baby - I was not afraid of labor but I was horrified by the prospect of having a fussy, high-needs baby. Thankfully my Pie is pretty mellow, and I'm figuring out how to have some mental space, even if I don't get any physical space.

    ReplyDelete
  3. wow, yes again! me too. also with the silence. I have thought about that a lot, the implications for my son about how I like to spend time in a room with people I love without necessarily talking.

    a friend with a daughter a couple years old now told me the hardest adjustment for her being a mom was not being home alone any more. I so get that. It's totally different to have my partner watch our baby so I can "go out" than it would be to just have the house to myself for a day.

    ReplyDelete
  4. not having any time alone is so hard to get used to. i don't even get to sleep without constant touch! right now my Pie is with my parents so that they could visit while i started dinner and unloaded the truck from our ski trip, but instead of getting to relax i'm feeling panicky about getting dinner done, laundry started, emails responded to, work completed - gone are the days of lazily plopping on the couch with a book and a blanket.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...