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Introvertism and parenting

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
I define an introvert as it was defined to me once and it made a lot of sense - an introvert is someone whose energy is drained by being around people, opposite of an extrovert who gets energized by being with people. My husband is an extrovert and pretty far over on the scale - I am an introvert and pretty far over on the introverted side. Being around people totally burns me out. Its created some challenges in our marriage but nothing that can't be negotiated.

This week has been non-stop seeing family, having houseguests, throwing parties - tonight SIL and BIL are coming for dinner, New Years we are going to 2 events. I can't take it. I don't know what to do. I am like a raw walking wound right now. I am so stressed out and depleted that I am a time bomb. I exploded last night - twice, and it did nothing to calm the pressure building underneath. It just made me feel MORE terrible. I don't want to yell and cry - I want to escape to a monastery somewhere and crawl into my own solitary confinement.....bliss.......... I have always had long periods of silent time in my life where I have gone weeks without speaking to anyone and these times always sustained me through the social blitzes'.

Now I am married, I have a 2 year old - I have a full social calendar, and a lovely life and the lack of solitude is slowly killing me inside.

It occurred to me that I will never have the opportunity for seclusion again. I will always have Ella and a new one there. How does an introvert balance the demands of parenting?

I have pockets of 'alone time' but there is always someone else in the house. Even just having that person there is a drain. I love my husband, but when he tells me that he is working from home I want to cry. His strong, strong frenetic energy just drains me - even from across the house. I seem to do ok with just Ella, when she is off somewhere engaged in something else - but those moments are too brief.

I need a vacation - a retreat away from everyone - but it goes against my attachment parenting beliefs so strongly. I can't even think of doing that until she is much much older, and until this new one coming is much much older.

So what is an introvert to do? How do I heal the wounds that being constantly surrounded by people and parenting inflict? Any other introverts out there? Anyone else struggle with the same thing?

My husband has no clue how to relate to me or how I feel. I feel like no one understands.
post #2 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyC View Post
I need a vacation - a retreat away from everyone - but it goes against my attachment parenting beliefs so strongly. I can't even think of doing that until she is much much older, and until this new one coming is much much older.

So what is an introvert to do? How do I heal the wounds that being constantly surrounded by people and parenting inflict? Any other introverts out there? Anyone else struggle with the same thing?

My husband has no clue how to relate to me or how I feel. I feel like no one understands.
I hear ya, sister! One of the things that my dh does to help me is every Sat. morning he takes the kids to the gym while he works out. Ds and dd love going into the care center there - it's a nice one. I get about 2 1/2 hours all to myself. It isn't a lot, but it is something that I can count on every week at about the same time. My dh finally gets that I absolutely HAVE to have this time or I'm a big, big grump. And you know the saying......when momma isn't happy, no one is happy.
post #3 of 61
I don't have any answers at this point but I wanted to let you know you are not alone (heh!) I struggle in a similar manner though I'm slightly more toward the middle of the scale. I literally just came to the realization a few weeks ago that this is part of what makes parenting very hard on me.

Especially because my 5 year old is a strong extrovert. She just wants to talk with me all day long. I feel terrible for wishing that she spent more time in preschool. I am clinging to our plans for half-day kindergarten (versus full day) by my fingernails. I regret that I would be a terrible homeschooler due to this issue. Being an introvert seriously challenges my efforts toward AP parenting sometimes, even though I passionately relate to most AP philosophies.

{{{HUGS}}} In the end all your children need is unconditional love and for you to be the best parent you can be with what you've got. No one can really expect more from you than that. Take care of yourself so that you may intern be able to continue to take care of your wee ones.
post #4 of 61
If you had alone time, what would you do? Read a book? Cook? Clean? Sit and stare out of the window?

I find in getting other people who aren't introverted to understand it sort of helps to have a hobby or activity. I love cooking so dh will take dd away while I cook and recharge myself. Dh is an introvert as well so we are pretty good at taking turns anyway. I do have ILs who are extroverted so if I'm at their place and need to recharge I claim I need a nap. Sometimes I read sometimes I actually sleep.

There is nothing wrong or anti-AP about carving out an hour or two for yourself a week or even an hour a day. You need to recharge so you can be an AP parent. Nothing wrong with it. And being an AP mother doesn't mean you do it all on your own either. You're still an AP mother if your children's AP father takes over as well.

If your dh doesn't understand a good way of doing it can be both of you take a Myers-Briggs test. The person who did mine never understood why her husband would disappear when she'd bring 50 people home on the spur of the moment. Then when they took the test she found he was an introvert and read up on it. Now she tries harder to respect his space. I was trying not to faint at the idea of my spouse showing up with 50 people out of the blue. :
post #5 of 61
I'm pretty introverted. I'm pretty lucky that we don't have a full social calendar.
In terms of parenting, I've found it much easier to get time alone as dd has gotten older. If I ask dh will do stuff with dd. I treasure time when everyone in the house is asleep but me. Sometimes it is worth staying up late or getting up a bit earlier for that.

I don't think there would be anything wrong or not AP with getting some scheduled alone time every day or week. A babysitter or your dh should be able to do that for you regularly.
post #6 of 61
Do you get any time alone? Do you take half a day on weekends for yourself and leave the house? A couple of hours alone in a room by yourself after dh comes home?

Those are reasonable steps to take in your position. I also crave time alone, and my dh knows it. When I had a baby those are the kinds of things I did. I had regular, weekly scheduled time to myself. Knowing that those hours were on the calendar made all the difference to me.

I know you have AP ideals, but you have to take care of yourself. And it's attachment parenting - not mothering. Presumably your husband would be a loving, caring presence while you were away.

When my first ds was 2 I went away for a weekend, all by myself. It was so needed and so wonderful. It sounds like you need to do that.

But. More than anything, you need to talk to dh about this. If you haven't told him how you feel, you've cut off your main source of support.
post #7 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by bethy View Post
I I literally just came to the realization a few weeks ago that this is part of what makes parenting very hard on me...Especially because my 5 year old is a strong extrovert. She just wants to talk with me all day long. I I regret that I would be a terrible homeschooler due to this issue. Being an introvert seriously challenges my efforts toward AP parenting sometimes, even though I passionately relate to most AP philosophies.
This really struck a cord with me. My 4.5yo ds is chatty, chatty, chatty. He'll try and talk with me from 6:30am to 8pm. Literally, without stopping. It is very hard on my introverted self, and parts of some days it seems like "torture" is not too strong a word. He's been pushing bedtimes later and later recently, and I've really lost my temper and yelled when 8:30pm rolls around and he keeps popping out of bed to talk with me some more. I don't like to yell and I'm not proud of it, but now I know what people mean when they say something in them "just snapped." Anyway, I don't want to highjack the thread, but to express my empathy.
post #8 of 61
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great responses. I do talk to my husband about this kinda stuff all the time - but it falls on deaf ears. He believes very strongly that personalities are merely choices we make and not the result of biological wiring. His response was that I just need to get out more and choose to change how I relate to being with people. Which is a nice idea, but totally misses the point. :

And he is good - he gives me a good break usually every Saturday morning, but the past few weeks I haven't gotten that break and now I am totally loosing it. Its a case of too much Christmas.

The realization that I will never (or not for a long time at least) have those weeks of solitude that I once had is so devastating and overwhelming.

I tried too, to relate how I feel to my very close knit AP playgroup - but they just look at me like I have two heads. They have booked their time so tightly and are with each other practically every day of the week. They talk of how wonderful it is to have a tribe and how its suppose to be this way with women caring for woman, and always having large groups of other women around you helping out. It sounds like a nightmare to me. I love them all dearly, but I can only do 2 days a week at the most. Where would I have fit in back in ancient times? If all my sisters and mothers and tribeswomen coming in and out of my hut all day long? Is this really how we evolved? If so - where the heck did I come from?

Anyway - yes. I do need a break. A weekend would be really nice. Ella is pretty high maintenance though and going through a strong separation anxiety phase, its not a good time to leave.

I need to do more early morning rises when everyone is asleep - that is very restorative to me as well.

And, also - I do love staring at blank walls. Unfortunately being married to a Gemini, whose whole value system is based around how hard you work, being a floaty dreamy type who would rather count clouds than get to work and be busy is very difficult. It makes him crazy to see me staring off into space with a stack of dirty dishes in the sink.

Thanks for letting me vent all this out. Its therapeutic. And thank you also for making me feel like I am not alone (irony?) in my introvertism.
post #9 of 61
Thread Starter 
It never occurred to me how difficult it could be later on when Ella (or the new one) becomes chatty - it would be very hard to listen all day long. How horrible that sounds. But, I have a feeling even more challenges are coming.
post #10 of 61
Another introvert mama here. For me, it's very hard right now becuase I live in a household with 2 other families. They are moving out and getting their own places next month, but still...every night I am so drained from a whole day having to be "on" for work, and long to come home, get in my pjs and read a book. Ds is the kind of little boy who will happily play right alongside me, long attention span, etc so it is possible for me to have moments of reflection even when he's awake.

As far as the balance of me time, alone time, never being just me again: I think I am sorta trying to compartmentalize this time in my little boy's life as the time I don't get me time. I know I can get some-but not ever enough, not nearly enough. However, someday I know he will be gone and I'll be lucky to have a phone call or visit a couple times a week...and I will catch up on my reflecting and solitude then. At least that's what I tell myself!

eta: I hear you on the chattyness. Ds is extremely verbal and talks all day long, wakes up several times a night to talk, even has talking nightmares. LOL! I've learned to tune it out.
post #11 of 61
I'm an introvert too, and over the years I've found how to balance the social aspects of family life. However, there are still times when my "social cup" is empty, and I am literally drained. Now I know the signs to look for in myself and try to scale things back a bit. I'm also working on coping skills that I can lean on when I *have* to be social w/o being withdrawn from people.

I am a better friend, to my adult friends, as well as my DH and kids, when I am able to get my "alone time" to recharge. I try not to give into the pressure of attending every group activity, going out with friends every weekend, or accepting every playdate invitation. I know I'll miss out on some things, but I'd rather have "quality time" where I'm enjoying myself over the quanitity of time when I'm dying to go home.

My DH is an introvert too, so we both understand when we just need some time by ourself. Its okay for only one of us to attend a family dinner, or opt to stay in for our date night. We both have volunteer duties in our community, and even then we tag team to make sure one of us is there if they other isn't feeling up to it.
post #12 of 61
I can't believe I am reading a post describing me so accurately.

I fall on the extreme side of Introvertism (sp?).

I get physically and emotionally drained after dealing with too many people at once. To me, 3 or more is too much. I am not a great hostess which is why I never extend invitations to my family or my in laws.

DH and DS. They are BOTH without a doubt Extroverts. They thrive on people. They both give off this energy that make people flock to them. When we are out in public...say the grocery store in the check out line, it's not unusual for them to strike up a conversation with the person in front of us or the person behind us.

DH talks loudly...as if he is *hoping* someone will chime in on *our* conversation. I have asked him many many times to please not talk so loudly..."please keep your voice down" and speak low...this is a private conversation OR don't say anything until we are out of the grocery store and into the quiet zone of our car.

******************

That's just one scenario-but it drives me nuts.

I can't help but wanting peace and quiet at all times. I need quiet time and I am get very impatient when DH and DS are BOTH talking to me at once. DS has developed this habit of jumping into my lap and yelling directly in my ear when he wants to be heard while DH is yapping about something or another.

Even though we are a family of 3...I still have to take 15 minutes to myself, go in my bedroom and shut the door to recharge.

All day, I get to hear "Mommy, Mommy, what's this Mommy? What are you doing Mommy?..." and it's neverending until he goes to bed (12:30am-1:00am): ...don't get me started on this.

I have always been an Introvert...becoming a Mom just makes it more...pronounced kwim?

I can achieve balance by having scheduled time for myself every Sunday.

I go to Barnes and Nobles and going to the Movies. I love reading and watching movies.

Due to the Holidays, I haven't been in over 2 weeks and it's draining me

I'm spending New Year's Day at Barnes and Nobles and the Movie Theatre.

I am so sorry to hijack your thread. But you are not alone.
post #13 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by bethy View Post

I literally just came to the realization a few weeks ago that this is part of what makes parenting very hard on me.

Especially because my 5 year old is a strong extrovert. She just wants to talk with me all day long. I feel terrible for wishing that she spent more time in preschool. I am clinging to our plans for half-day kindergarten (versus full day) by my fingernails. I regret that I would be a terrible homeschooler due to this issue. Being an introvert seriously challenges my efforts toward AP parenting sometimes, even though I passionately relate to most AP philosophies.
This really resonates with me as well. I've found that as my dd has gotten older (she's 7), I face more challenges with respect to AP. Currently we are experiencing bedtime struggles, which, are really wearing me down.

I completley understand mama.
post #14 of 61
This thread has been so comforting to me. It very often seems that the traits of being an introvert have a negative association in my circles. As if that means I don't like other people. I fear my friends and especially my children will feel that my need for alone time reflects negatively on them.

I think I'll go start an Introverted Mamas Tribe in FYT later on. That is if there isn't already one there!
post #15 of 61
Here's a website that maybe can help explain things to your dh:

http://www.theintrovertadvantage.com/

You'll have to poke around, but you can find lots of good things including an assessment of whether you are an introvert or an extrovert -- it might be good for your dh to take a look at it.

I am currently reading "The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child" because even though I am introverted, I realized that I'm not fully understanding my introverted ds....this book is great and after I'm done, I'll be reading the "Introvert Advantage" for myself!

By the way, it's not uncommon for extroverts to completely misunderstand introverts. And it's not uncommon for introverts to think something is wrong with them for needing the things that they do to stay centered and sane. But we do need these things and it's important to get them.
post #16 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyC View Post
I define an introvert as it was defined to me once and it made a lot of sense - an introvert is someone whose energy is drained by being around people, opposite of an extrovert who gets energized by being with people. My husband is an extrovert and pretty far over on the scale - I am an introvert and pretty far over on the introverted side.
Well, golly. This was nice to see right now cause it is helping me realize why I am so grumpy right now. We had a whirlwind holiday with all these people over & I keep trying to get time to decompress myself & just can't and keep feeling myself getting angrier and angrier at anyone who happens to be around. Grr at dh for being around lately and always being so needy-talky-close to me, grr at my sister who just keeps coming over (to help, like I asked but I just need to be more alone before I can handle having to clean up the holiday crap!), and grr at the babe for not sleeping during the day long enough to let me relax a little more or do something by myself.

Just a suggestion, cause it's something that helps me esp. as the babe can't yet get out for long stretches without me just yet - but I'll take needed shopping trips farther out of my way for more alone time in the car which is pretty much by myself since the babe will sleep then. Might be an idea for times when your dh works at home?
More and more, I find myself up late, trying to use that time to get to be alone but it's sometimes worse leaving me all exhausted during the day, and ruining the babe 'semi-schedule' so she just ends up awake with me which is sortof against the point.
And it is such a struggle sometimes with a husband who does have this need to get social and be talked to so much and whatever. And with such an erraticly changing schedule that I just can't get any regular time.

Sigh. Nice to hear about others.
post #17 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmommy View Post
I have always been an Introvert...becoming a Mom just makes it more...pronounced kwim?
Wow. That just really struck me as the core of my unhappiness right now. Its never been an issue that I was introverted - who cared? So what if before going to the party I would slip off and drive around by myself for a few hours. No one noticed. Now it matters - now its so pronounced, and unacceptable.

I used to use smoking as my way to escape overwhelming situations - it was perfectly acceptable to slip outside by myself to have a smoke. And the silence of those times sustained me during busy, hectic days. Now, obviously, I can't/won't smoke and I don't have that wonderful built in excuse to slip off alone for a few minutes.

God, I need a smoke break.

Sigh.

Great thread - thank you guys so much for relating your experiences. I looked at that site posted, and unfortunately with dh, I can talk until I am blue in the face and he just won't accept that temperament is hardwired. He thinks I can just decide to be different.
post #18 of 61
Quote:
He believes very strongly that personalities are merely choices we make and not the result of biological wiring. His response was that I just need to get out more and choose to change how I relate to being with people. Which is a nice idea, but totally misses the point.
I am totally in introvert too. The above statement is a commonly-held belief in America, unfortunately. That kind of attitude has been thrown in my face since childhood, and has done nothing but erode my self-esteem. It's so awful growing up believing that there was something wrong with me. Other people just do not understand their little comments, like, "You should talk more," just cut to the core.
post #19 of 61
I am borderline extrovert on the myers briggs test, and I think it is true. I need both alone time and people time - a mix is best for me. Honestly, a big reason why I knew being a SAHM would be horrible decision for me/us was because of my personality type. I need my kids to be attached to more than just me.

I am hearing a lot of hints on this thread of "AP and introverted personalities don't mix" but I disagree. Being AP is about being responsive to your childs' needs - but you cannot give what you don't have. I think the philosophy of AP is to be attentive to the needs of each member of the family - not just the children, but the parents too. If you need time alone with no one around to recharge your batteries, then you NEED it, as much as you need food, water, sleep, etc.

DH is pretty introverted - he needs a much lower level of social interaction than I do - so I belong to more groups, clubs, etc. I intentionally take the boys to church on Sunday mornings to give him some alone space, or after the kids are in bed, we tend to drift to our corners (especially since we work together, we often just need to be quiet for awhile).

I also need to be doing something while alone, so I took up gardening- it is great because the boys want to be outside but they don't want to be doing gardening with me because when they do talk to me, I ask them to help .. a trick I learned from my mom - she told me years later that when she wanted alone time, when I would come and bug her, she'd task me with a chore.

I think it is all about coming up with compromises, if possible and respecting your own needs. Hugs!!
post #20 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyC View Post
. I looked at that site posted, and unfortunately with dh, I can talk until I am blue in the face and he just won't accept that temperament is hardwired. He thinks I can just decide to be different.
If you want to invest in the book "The Hidden Gifts of the Intoverted Child" by Marti Laney, Psy.D. that is posted on the site -- it has a couple of chapters (at least) on the brain physiology and shows that introverts and extroverts ARE hardwired. As a matter of fact, Chapter 2 is titled "Innies and Outies are Hardwired." It has a lot of diagrams and gives really good explanations on how innies and outies use different brain pathways to process the same information. It clearly shows that innies and outies ARE different and it's not a difference that is made by personal choice.

This book also has some very interesting information on the differences between left brain and right brain introverts - other differences between introverts.

I'm not sure if Laney's other book "The Introvert Advantage" has the same type of brain physiology type explanations because I haven't read it yet, but it might.
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