Originally Posted by kmcmommyto3
I understand your skepticism, but these have a lot to do with personality traits that have been studied, not new things that have just been pulled out of the air.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highly_sensitive_person
Brain research is being conducted all the time that helps gain understanding to personality traits. There are certain physiological differences in introversion and extroversion. There are different pathways that are involved with introverts and extroverts. It's very interesting to see how biology and temperament intersect.
Thanks for that clarification kmcmommy. I am a personality researcher (of sorts) and felt I should be able to respond to that post but couldn't think of a clear, non-academic answer.
I knew I couldn't be the only HSP mom out here. I identify with so much of what has been said. I have always found it difficult to manage as an HSP, especially since I'm also an HSS (high sensation-seeker; Elaine Aron talks about that combination in her book). Becoming a parent has added a new dimension. I generally can't just retreat when I get overwhelmed, as I was once able to do. In a way, it has forced me to honor and appreciate my sensitivity more since the costs of getting overwhelmed will not only be borne by me, but also by my family. I have found it particularly difficult to deal with working and parenting. Even having cut my work hours back drastically, it is hard to make time and space to retreat. I envy those hardy mothers who work full-time, cutting back on sleep and food and whatever else the human body normally needs. I can do none of that. I'd break down after one day of less than 8 hours of sleep and skipped meals! I just can't function day-to-day on the slowly health-eroding behaviors that are so common among Americans. On the other hand, I am glad my body forces me to take care of it. I think that's one reason why people always think I am much younger than I actually am.
I think that attachment parenting has helped me to cope better than other parenting styles more widely practiced in the U.S. No way could I stand to lie in bed listening to my baby cry himself to sleep. Something in my gut rebels against that. He is a high-need, super-energetic person. Keeping him close most of the time has kept him calm. Like a PP, my son never cried when he was with me, as an infant (he cries plenty as a toddler, unfortunately). And it's not like he was the type of baby that just doesn't cry. He'd unleash with his father, but I think I was just able to anticipate and respond to his needs very well.
The parenting research is pretty clear on the fact that sensitive, responsive parenting is one of the most important determinants of children's attachment and well-being. If that's the case, it seems that sensitive moms can have an advantage as long as we manage the downsides that can lead us to becoming overwhelmed and withdrawing or lashing out.
I'll share a few of the ways I cope:
- Get up well ahead of DS in the morning to ensure I get some quiet time
- Take DS on long walks or runs in the stroller or backpack so that we can both have some time with nature (being outside always calmed him)
- Go to bed with DS to ensure I get enough sleep (The downside is that I get absolutely no time in the evening with DH, but I'd be no good without sleep. DH is usually wiped out anyway, wanting his own quiet time. He's also an HSP.)
- Leave the TV off when DH is not home and have him wear wireless headphones when the TV noise gets to be too much
- Sleep with white noise on always
- Take at least a few minutes each morning to breathe and stretch
Despite those things, I'm still working on the whole concept of actually capitalizing on my sensitivity rather than just trying to manage it. A really good resource I have found is http://highlysensitivesouls.com/assessment.htm
. She offers an assessment of whether your sensitivity is working for or against you. I wasn't surprised at the results, but it was a good reminder that I could actually benefit from being an HSP rather than just "managing". There is also an e-mail newsletter available at that site that I have found helpful, a little something to draw my attention back to where it needs to be.
Thanks to everyone for sharing! I hope to hear from others.