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Introvertism and parenting - Page 2

post #21 of 61
I don't have much to add but I am glad to have come across this thread. I just came downstairs from lunch with a tired, fussing 1-1/2 year old, a very active 4 year old and a dh who was staring off into space the entire time but turning up his radio show so he could hear it. Meanwhile the noise level of everything else just went up with it. I asked dh to please turn the radio off and he did (although not happily). I can't get dh to understand how I start to really lose it if there's too much going on around me. I am just thankful that dd is now sleeping and dh has taken ds skating for a bit and it's quiet again. I should be able to make it through the afternoon until bedtime.

We do notice that our ds has a lot of introvert qualities and we've always done everything we can to help him explore those emotions but it seems like it has taken me a long time to realize how much he and I are alike and that I need to take that time for myself as well.
post #22 of 61
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
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.
I think this is a very good point.

I didn't mean to imply that AP and introverted personalities don't mix, just that at times, my need for solitude is in conflict with my dd's need to have my full attention, making some AP ideals very challenging. This is a difficult concept to explain to a child.
post #23 of 61
Two introverts here, with a very extroverted daughter. We have to balance our needs with hers...that's what being a family is. She's in daycare three days a week and loves the interaction and activity. We give each other breaks, keep her on an early bedtime so we have some peace and quiet in the evening, and try not to overschedule our social time.

I do go stare at a blank wall periodically too - but it's called meditation, and so it's legitimate! My mother in law has come to help out for two or three days once in a while so I can go sit at a retreat. It's great to have ideals, but our children do not need us with them 24/7 when we are burned out and overwhelmed. They are better off, in my opinion, with someone who loves them and has some fresh energy and attention for them while mommy recharges.
post #24 of 61
Subbing to this thread...I'm an introvert, too (an INFJ on the Meyers-Briggs). I have had an awful, post-Christmas week after a busy (social) holiday, followed by four days at home alone with a clingy, poorly sleeping, teething 2-year-old. Reading this thread is making me see why I've been so depressed and hair-trigger snappish this week--I've had NO time to decompress from the whirlwind of social activity Christmas brought! Someone mentioned having a weekend away from their 2-year-old once; I'm in a nice little daydream cloud about that right now. Thanks for the fantasy!
post #25 of 61
Originally Posted by WendyC View Post
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. :

I agree that there are coping strategies that might work with various situations but I totally disagree that our personalities are a matter of choice.

Originally Posted by WendyC View Post
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.
Oh, I can relate.

Originally Posted by WendyC View Post
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?
heh there must have been some introverts even in ancient times.

Originally Posted by WendyC View Post
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.
That must be so hard. My mother is a lot like your dh. Luckily I don't have to live with her. It's hard enough as it is.
post #26 of 61
I am extremely introverted (autistic, actually), and the constant demands of parenting can certainly be stressful. Although I think we may suffer from parenting less than our more extroverted counterparts who constantly complain about "never getting out."

I think parenting a fellow introvert is much easier than parenting an extrovert. Dd1 is a child after my own heart--she can sit in a corner or in her room with her toys and books and entertain herself for hours on end. The boys, on the other hand, are social animals. Constantly talking, climbing, bouncing, more talking, demanding constant attention. I can see future careers for them in politics, or sales, or seduction of rich women. And they keep going and going and going... I get worn out! Fortunately, they take naps. Beautiful, blissful naps. I also adamantly refuse to participate in the hypersocialization that seems to be requisite for proper bourgeois parenting these days--constant playgroups, classes, SAT prep for toddlers, datebooks for preschoolers... Our kids will be fine without it. Really.

I'm sure introverts had a place in ancient societies. Someone had to stay on the hill and watch the goats, right?
post #27 of 61
Hi Wendy,

I noticed that your daughter and my daughter are almost the same age - mine was born on 2/13/05. I also have a 4yo, so I'm ahead of you. I can tell you that it is going to get more challenging, for sure.

I'm somewhat introverted myself - I really need time alone during the day, too, to recharge. So I can relate.

If you can hang in there through New Years, make a plan for the new year. I know you are trying to be AP, but you need time to yourself and there is nothing wrong with that, and it's not going to make you less of an AP mother.

It seems that getting your DH to understand/help more might not be a real option. So...

Start thinking NOW about how you are going to get that time to yourself, work on it now, so that you will be prepared when the baby comes.

For example, does your DD have a regular naptime and bedtime each day? I know that some Moms just kind of "go with the flow" on this - but speaking as an introverted Mom, it does WONDERS for my sanity to know that at about a certain time each day, my girls will be napping/sleeping or having Quiet Time.

About Quiet Time - I would start that ASAP with your DD. This has helped me a lot. I didn't do this for a long time with my 4yo, but just recently, like in the past 2 months, I've started a very specific time of day (during my DD#2's nap) when DD#1 has to have Quiet Time. Actually, we call it "Family Quiet Time" and I really emphasize that *everyone* in the family needs some time alone, Mommy too. I think what happens prior to Quiet Time and after Quiet Time is important, too, because it sets it into a routine for the day. For example, at our house DD#2 goes down for a nap about 2pm. Then DD#1 and I play together for a while until 2:30pm. Then it's Family Quiet Time until 3:30pm, when we get back together for "Snack Time". DD#2 wakes up about 4pm.

About bedtime - I used to be all over the map on bedtime. My DD#1 also slept with me until she was one year's old, and I just about was going insane because she nursed all night long. I had to get her into her own bed and room at the age of one. I don't know what you are doing for co-sleeping, but as an introvert, I have to say - it can be really hard to co-sleep when you need your space and rest.

With my DD#2, I had her in a co-sleeper next to my bed until she was 3-4 months, and then I transitioned her to her own room and bed - very gently, of course. But I did do it. It was another part of me being able to recharge - sleeping on my own in my own bed - I don't know how you feel about all this, and I'm really not trying to talk you out of co-sleeping. I'm just sharing my experience.

Any-hoo - We have developed a very consistent bedtime routine with our girls and so we know that pretty much (unless something is really off), they will be in bed and asleep by 7:30-7:45pm. This has been really important to me - to have a couple hours on my own at the end of the day.

I also get up early in the morning, to have a little time. Even 30 minutes to get a shower and have a cup of tea and read the news makes a huge amount of difference in how the day goes.

What about some help other than your DH? You mentioned family - do they live close by? Can you barter some babysitting with that group of AP Moms you mentioned? Or would they just not go for it? Maybe find some other Moms who are not quite so by-the-book AP? It's ok to be a little mixed on the subject, you know! I love my girls and have co-slept with them, nursed until almost 2yo, spent lots of time with them, but I'll tell you I have no problem having someone care for them while I run errands!

Just trying to stay sane... :

Oh, I wanted to add - about going away for a weekend... that may seem like a long time, but how about something small to start with? How about a morning or afternoon for 4 hours? Do that a couple times, then try being gone for a longer time - like an afternoon and evening for about 6 hours - leave the house about 3pm and come back after your DD is asleep. See how it goes. Do that a couple times. Then maybe try an overnight away - find somewhere to go close by for one night - leave about 3pm again, and come back in the morning before noon. Do that a couple times. Get the idea? This is assuming that your DH can handle DD on his own, but come on... he's the Dad, he needs to be a parent, too, KWIM? I think there is too much emphasis on MOM being the "AP parent" and not Dad, too!
post #28 of 61
My dd is an introvert but is still chatty as anything at home. It can be challenging because I homeschool her too. I feel okay telling her I need some quiet time or privacy now that she is getting older. She can handle it. I think it is important for me to show her that as an introvert our needs are real and valid.
There have also been times now that she is older that she tells me to go away and leave her alone/give her privacy.

I don't think AP and introvertedness can't go together. I think the qualities of an introvert can actually make for great AP parenting.
*focus and concentration
*ability to stand alone- not caving to peer pressure of other parents and society
*viewing your child as an individual- paying attention to their individual needs
*original thinking and imagination
*depth and integrity

advice on coping with the holidays-
post #29 of 61
I used to get panicky when friends were home for the holidays and dh would invite all of them over every night for a week. By the 3rd night, I would cry and go to bed early. Now our interests aren't the same as their interests so they don't come over as often, and they know that I will just kick them out when I've had enough. They know it is not that I don't like them, but that I just get tired.

To deal with dh's family, who is one of those close-knit, chatty families, I seek out the other people who married into the family and have one-on-one conversations. The other people who married in aren't as into gossiping and so it works out okay. I also bring my own car so I can leave when I want. I know dh's family thinks I am sort of weird, but I don't really care. And we also didn't accept every invitation, so know they don't invite as much, which is nice.

I, too, miss smoking. Guaranteed time alone.

For time alone at home, dh and I demand baths. Lock the bathroom door and read. Put the fan on so you can't hear what the kids are doing.

As for getting dh to understand, he can directly see how bitchy and snappish I get when I have too much noise or people, so he has learned to take the kids away from me at those times.

Finally, the most helpful thing for me is to get something outside the house. I am a full-time student, and I like having long breaks between classes. So much alone time. When I was a SAHM, I was miserable. I would hide with a book, hoping the kids wouldn't find me!

Hugs to you - I feel your pain.
post #30 of 61
Thread Starter 
Wonderful, wonderful advice. Thank you so much!

Under normal situations, dh takes Ella for 1/2 the day Saturday, so I usually get a nice long break once a week - but he has been training for the marathon and Saturdays are spent running long distance and then recovering at home bruised and exhausted, so I haven't had a break in a while. Then came Christmas, and now I am just a mess.

I did get a break yesterday - so that was nice. I feel better. But its not enough. lol.

I love hearing your stories, its so comforting to hear how others cope.
post #31 of 61
One of my introverted mamma friends became a long distance runner in order to get some alone time away from her 3 children. She loved getting up early in the morning and running and running and running -- she said that her mind would just go blank and it was such peaceful bliss. She ran her first marathon this past summer and will soon start training for her next marathon. Interestingly, her dh felt that this was "acceptable" alone time as opposed to staring at walls (which I do as well!)

My ds has shown strong introverted tendencies since he could walk. When he had enough stimulation, he'd toddle off to his bedroom and play quietly there. By the time he was 2 1/2, he'd ask for time alone. Interestingly, now that he's 5.5, I have to encourage him to go to his room to re-charge when it's obvious that he needs it. He did it so naturally when he was younger. I hope he "learns" again that he needs this.

My biggest struggle is parenting both my introverted ds and my highly extroverted dd. If I even start something nice and quiet with my ds at his request, my dd has to be right in the center of it. Then my ds backs off and goes his own way. In the meantime, if I even try to persuade my dd to do something else while I work quietly with ds, she feels excluded and starts to cry. If she'd just happily follow suit, there wouldn't be any issues, but she can't do much quietly right now and both of them have such different interests! I haven't been able to figure out how to make everyone happy - including me!
post #32 of 61
Originally Posted by QueenOfThePride View Post
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.
Or the all-too common " Why are you so quiet?" remark. Can I just once say "Why are you so loud"?
I, too, am very introverted and married to a charismatic, always on-the-go extravert. Today, I am trying to recover from a banquet last night at which DH was installed an an elected officer for a non-profit foundation. Lots of shaking hands, making small talk and schmoozing. After a couple of hours, I was exhausted and ready to hide in the ladies room for an hour or two.

As far as my 3.5 year old daughter, she seems to be between the two extremes. I do wonder about my capaibilities as she gets older and will be involved in many more outside-the-home social and academic activities. I will need to interact with others a lot more, probably after full days of work when I just want to go home and relax. Does it get harder as the kids get older and want to/need to do more out of the house?
post #33 of 61
Excellent thread.

WendyC - with your DH training, could you get a jogger stroller so he takes DD with him for at least some of the runs?

You are not alone in longing for downtime. Me too.
post #34 of 61
I just ran into this thread. I'm suprised I missed it before. Luckily? I don't have many friends in my area and don't get to involved in ds1's preschool, so don't have many social obligations. My boys have nonstop energy and ds1 will just keep talking and moving and needing me to be involved with him all the time. I work a whopping 10 hours a week (two five hour days) and it is nice to just veg in front of a computer and not talk to anyone. I do miss having that one close friend that I had when I was younger (she lives on the other side of the country) and I do long to get out and be around adults every once in a while. I actually went out two nights in a row over the weekend, which is pretty much unheardof for me. Of course, now I'm feeling burnt out. I never did smoke, but drinking a couple of glasses of wine tends to make social situations easier for me. That's not often possible for me, though.
My dh is some wierd combination of introvert and extrovert. He does not understand my introvertedness, though. He works a lot and talks to/interacts with tons of people at work. On his day off, he tends to want to go fishing and just stand in a stream by himself. Which reminds me of other people needing something specific to do with alone time. Right now my main thing is to read while I nurse ds2 to sleep. I would love to get back into yoga, but can't seem to get motivated to do it alone at home. Also can't figure out what to do with the boys if I go to a class. Dh works most of the time and my parents see a whole lot of my boys, so I feel bad trying to get them to watch them any extra time.
post #35 of 61
An introverted parent here too and am actually hoping it doesn't hurt my son. I'm a SAHM in a town where I know no one and have none of my own family, so I get all the isolation I want, but even we introverts need some sort of interaction sometimes and it gets tough....and I hope when my 13 month old is old enough to want playtime he can get it.
But I agree with a lot of the moms, you need to schedule or set aside some "you time". We introverts all need it, especially if your dh doesn't really understand, you need to take it on yourself to carve out some time.
post #36 of 61
I am also an introvert and I find the constant being around people draining as well. I take the pockets of alone time as much as I can. There just isnt more I can do at this point when my kids are so little.
post #37 of 61
I am a single mom, homeschooling, and working out of the home part-time in a very emotionally draining social work field. My extremely extroverted elderly mother lives with us, and she can't get out much anymore, so I am her main social life. And I am an introvert.

I get up 3 hours before the rest of the family, 4 AM, so I can have some alone time to start the day. Otherwise, I am a crab all day. Although the Dumplings are 10 & 11, and very independent and introverted themselves, I am not going to have a break as long as my Mom is with us. YoungSon is special needs, and it remains to be seen if he will ever live independently. I have a fantasy of 2 weeks in a luxury hotel room, room service, no phone, a huge stack of books, plenty of bubble bath and good red wine. Make it a month...
post #38 of 61
Introvert here. (Introvert who can handle dinner parties as long as I am hosting, though, cuz I love to cook and eat!)

I want to comment on something said above about "tribes." I've always felt like an alien on sites like this one because I don't want to live in a tribe. I don't want to be around people 24/7. It's over-stimulating for me and I would feel I didn't have any privacy. My privacy is something I guard like a tiny, newborn bird.

As others have noted, it does get better as the children get older. My dd is newly 8 (and yes, we also homeschool/unschool) and can understand when I say, "I need to chill out for a bit. I'm around but I need to just chill." Yeah, sometimes she doesn't leave me entirely alone but usually she gets interested in something and we can be in the same room but not talking. I need that! If she can't handle the silence, I will put on soft music as low as I can without her yelling, "HEY! I can't hear it!" LOL

I also try to make sure that, when I'm feeling energetic and silly, we do something fun. It's a balance. She's not as introverted as I am and needs interaction more than I do. It's a dance.
My dh works from home as well. We all have learned to work side by side, in silence (or with music), and it's glorious when it comes together like that. I feel like I've recharged my batteries but also get to be with my family.
post #39 of 61
Another introvert here. Running is a great escape - I have to get back into it!

But I was sort of struck by the hopeless tone of the OP. Have you ever thought you might be depressed?

I totally understand needing alone time - that's not why I'm suggesting it. It was the "I will never be alone again" tone of things. Don't mean to offend.
post #40 of 61
Originally Posted by WendyC View Post
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.

I have to confess; in college I seriously thought about taking up smoking just for the excuse of taking a smoke break. It seems like such a civilized custom - taking a break to go outside and breathe deeply. I finally decided I just couldn't handle the smell or taste of cigarettes and that it was really kind of a shame.
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