Introverted moms with children - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 06-17-2009, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are there any other introverted mothers out there?

I was wondering if we could talk about being very introverted and a homebody sort of person and how that can sometimes be at cross purposes with good parenting.

Left to my own devices, I rarely or never do anything "social". I will go out with friends sometimes, although I rarely have them over to the house. I generally avoid events with a whole lot of people, because I hate crowds.

Well... at least that is how it was before I had a child! I've taken my son to large scale events on several occasions now (state fair, etc.), and on a regular basis we go to the park and do stuff like that.

However, I worry a bit that I'm not stepping outside of my box enough. I don't really invite DS' school friends over to the house (my house is a work in progress so it's a little embarrassing to me right now), and I don't really set up playdates or go that far out of my way to make sure he sees a lot of kids his age (he's 5 years old), although of course he sees them when we go places with kids (and he is in school so he has a fair amount of interaction from that).

Am I still being too introverted and creating an unhealthy environment for him? Or have I stepped far enough outside of my box for a child this age?
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#2 of 23 Old 06-17-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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I believe there's a tribe for introverted mamas somewhere here in MDC land.

I'm very, very introverted and am grateful that my girls are now old enough to be in school/preschool so that they're getting regular interactions out of the house. We do go places but I don't like to have people in my home; I just find it draining.

My girls aren't as introverted as me, but they're not very social either so they seem fine with being home or doing short outings just the 3 of us.

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#3 of 23 Old 06-17-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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subbing. I worry about this because I wonder how much my inability to be a joiner with the other parents at preschool and going forward will hurt my kids. DS is definitely much more outgoing than DH and I, fortunately we are in a condo so we go to the park a lot and he can socialize there (and at preschool). I just worry when the other parents all seem to be chatting so effortlessly with one another and I'm off to the side, they probably think I'm standoffish or something.

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#4 of 23 Old 06-17-2009, 05:51 PM
 
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I am very introverted. Extremely, actually.

Having 5 intimate relationships at once in my own home with 24/7 interaction has taken a serious toll on my ability to mature to self-actualisation and most profoundly on my health. I have steadily been recovering health-wise and that has been in tandem with my raising my level of consciousness and thereby both setting boundaries and also seeking for higher self-expression.

As you know, for introverts, alone time is essential for affirming self-identity, which means that being a sahm with no support for such a thing is toxic to my self-image and ability to accomplish anything at all given that I haven't the time and space to churn and create.

I don't take our boys out usually at all unless dh is with us and he works crazy hours, so maybe once or twice per month will we go out and engage others in interaction. We've had a maybe 5 visits in the past ten months to our home.

My children do have one another, they are all home and will remain here as a base, but I'm sure will choose to wander outward as their needs and desires encourage them. I am an introvert and the thing that most makes sense to me is to maintain wellness, otherwise I won't be able to mother my children. For me, it's a conscious choice to remain somewhat isolated because I have a small reserve of energy, and to expend it elsewhere means being non-functional at home, which isn't a viable option for me.

I hope that things will improve over the next year or so, but if they do, it'll be because of a lessening of duties and burdens on me, and not an increase in my activities.

I have two children who really crave more people than we have here, and sometimes it's very hard for them and we make compromises for their sakes. Dh will take all four to a busy playground in town so they can interact with other children. I've taken them twice in the last ten months; he's taken them about twice each month, and he then takes them to a restaurant afterward to further the experience of being out and about, stopping in a book store or other shop on the way home too. He's also an introvert, but not the sort who likes and needs isolation.

If you are an introvert, and you think that you are not extending yourself adequately to meet your child's needs, then by all means, do so, but if you are wondering if it's okay to be introverted and raise your child as the introvert you are, then keep doing that. Extroverts outnumber us significantly and so most people are living differently, but given that they have different needs, their ways are irrelevant as they pertain to this specific issue. Don't let an irrelevant (to you) way of life cause you to synthetically change yours.

Your child will know you for who you are and there's no reason why you couldn't help him meet his own needs for socialisation without causing yourself distress, imo.

Ftr, I don't consider my needs as being defined in parameter by a 'box.' I honestly wouldn't do anything I deem unreasonable for me, and sometimes that means either changing myself in an authentic way to embrace something new, or not doing it until I can make that change in the future, unless I never do, and that happens too.

I'm all for personal growth, but trying to become something I am not for the sake of others is something from which I am presently recovering and not something to which I'm willing to return.

Your child doesn't benefit from pretension and your distress. Authentic change, willingness to compromise for the benefit of others, yes, to a reasonable point. But it is not beneficial for you to 'put on' someone you are not, even if that means going and sitting on the edges of the room. If that's where you prefer to be, stop hypothesizing how that looks to people who are comfortable in the middle of the room.

You have to figure out a way to be comfortable in your own skin! I'm not there yet, but I see it as I approach and every step provides just that little bit more confidence and also relief.


Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#5 of 23 Old 06-17-2009, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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PreggieUBA2C, thanks for your post! Very helpful. I think you are a little further along the road than I am toward understanding yourself and what your needs are. Hopefully I can learn from that.

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Originally Posted by PreggieUBA2C View Post
If you are an introvert, and you think that you are not extending yourself adequately to meet your child's needs, then by all means, do so, but if you are wondering if it's okay to be introverted and raise your child as the introvert you are, then keep doing that.
Yeah, I guess I kind of was looking for someone to tell me, "It's ok to be who you are and you can still be a good parent".

You and I are in opposite situations to a certain extent - your children can keep each other company to a certain extent, but that means you always have more people in your house (I can see how that would be very difficult). Whereas I only have one child, but I guess the advantage of that is that I don't have a house filled with people, because I love my son very much but two or three of him would be very taxing emotionally to me.
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#6 of 23 Old 06-17-2009, 06:05 PM
 
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I can relate to everyone here so much! My DH and I are both introverts and would be happy to hide away for days on end if we could.

I'm not so worried about socializing our DD, in addition taking her out a few times a week to the park, woods, etc, my mom watches her during the day while we work and both my mom and DD are social butterflies so they do lots of activities and play dates. Although, our home is our sanctuary so even when we do play dates, it's never at our house unless its with family members or really close friends.

I always feel awkward with lots of strangers so, like Qestia, I worry that people think I'm snobby. I really don't want this to be an issue with DD goes to preschool (next year)/school -- that is, she's not included because the parents don't like us or think she's weird. I'm also dreading sport events, receitals, etc that she'll have when she grows older. We're working really, really hard at getting out our comfort zone - I'm hoping we'll be able to fake it really well by the time she's old enough for most of this stuff.
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#7 of 23 Old 06-17-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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Not only did I spend the last 20 years with a phone pasted to my ear and having to be around dozens of people non-stop, but with four kids, I've become an introvert as well. Frankly, I don't like being around people that aren't my family. I will NEVER do mother's groups or play dates, so I won't even apologize for that... and yes, the family could stay holed up for a month and I wouldn't feel like I missed anything. I spent so many hours on the road, I don't want to drive. And the mall? Don't even get me started!

Fortunately, our friends and family know this, and they will visit us in our home... lol! Ironically, I'm in a business that I see people, but it doesn't bother me as much because it's on MY time, and it's doing something I love doing (photography). So with the exception of my shoots, I would be happy never ever ever leaving my house!

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#8 of 23 Old 06-17-2009, 07:15 PM
 
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Yes, OP, it is a huge stretch for me to have four children, but on the other hand, well-supported (as in having another adult around who knows us well, or dh), it is very enjoyable because they spend the majority of their time together and just a small amount of time directly engaging me- unless I'm the only adult around, and then it's near-constant interaction.

The other thing is that the natural way to expand our awareness and circle of comfort, is not by going outside of our comfort zones, but rather by expanding it from its interior, imo. It can be done both ways, but the idea of stepping or jumping straight out of it to expand it is a patently extroverted strategy, imo, and for myself, leads to a smaller zone, not a larger one.

I think of myself as becoming more aware of the boundary by moving alongside it, running my hand along it, and purposefully stretching it by massaging or gently pressing it outwards as I see the results of the first little nudges. I also think of my 'space' or 'zone' as a sphere which is much more realistic and beneficial to me.

That said, most of my personal growth usually happens at a rapid pace because I focus intensely on specific things. Sometimes I can change a whole enormous paradigm in myself in an afternoon, but other times it takes years (as with understanding my introversion and what my needs are). In both cases, I never leave my 'zone'; I just expand it from the inside as I am able and willing.

And on the worry about seeming snobby, if it hasn't actually happened, then why worry, and if it has, and you're not, than why worry about it (I cannot at present come even close to being able to count how many times I've been accused of this and otoh nor can I count how many times people have perceived me as compassionate and reflective- two interpretations of the same observation)? In reality, what can you do to change the perception of closed-minded people? Nothing. That's their need for growth. What you can do instead is to continue to grow and as that happens, they will either see that their initial perception was inaccurate, or they won't, but either way, trying to moderate how you are viewed is a lot like trying to keep sand in a sieve.

I hope that's not too abstract or cryptic, but I suspect it probably isn't.


ETA: My dh has admitted to being a snob, and he really was and still struggles sometimes, though it's rare now. It has taken a lot of personal work to figure out why he thought as he did about others and that revealed some other issues that required resolution. Sooo, I just wanted to include that being an actual snob (not just a perceived snob), if it doesn't align with (generic) your values, is possible to change.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#9 of 23 Old 06-17-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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I'm incredibly introverted and have done OKAY so far. I just can't do mom's groups or la leche or anything like that. I do okay in small settings. For what it's worth, I don't think it's rubbed off on my kids in any way. My 13 yr old is just about as outgoing as it gets with my 12 and 6 yr olds right on her heals. My 7 yr old is just naturally more introverted. I was thinking about this whole introversion thing today. I took my youngest to a new peds office and it was so loud that I almost walked out. People everywhere, tons of noise. It was like a major assault to my senses or something. I'm glad that I stuck it out though. It calmed down and after the 1 incredibly loud and running around everywhere mom and child were called back I was able to reassess and be okay with it. As far as having kids over, that I've never had a problem with. I prefer kids who I know personally rather than a casual friend but either way, I'm okay. That has gotten better over time. Now it's almost a revolving door especially with my 12 yr old's friends but then again with them, I know most of them from his school and soccer team and know their parents as well. As far as the snobby thing my I drive my dh crazy that I'm not more social. He's a social butterfly and totally doesn't get this facet of me. I do worry sometimes that I seem snotty but it's not a predominant fear or anything.

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#10 of 23 Old 06-17-2009, 10:19 PM
 
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Subbing.

I'm pretty introverted, and definitely a homebody and am very similar to a lot of people here. I have a hard time getting out of the house a lot of the time, only because I really enjoy being at home and being relaxed. Large crowds make me extremely anxious and I generally don't do the social thing very well. I have *always* been this way since I was very young, so it's been a difficult thing to pull myself away from.

My son is 4 and VERY extroverted. He will walk up to anyone/everyone wherever we are and starts conversations with them. He's done this since he could walk and say "hi" so it has forced me to socialize more than I normally would. It used to make me really uncomfortable, but I'm finally starting to get used to a it a little bit, and the fact that the conversations are usually only a few minutes as made it a bit easier. There are places we frequent often, like the grocery store or the coffee shop, where people remember who he is and enjoy seeing him on a regular basis, yet I still have a difficult time with it myself.

I, too, worry sometimes that I could be affecting him negatively because he very obviously loves to socialize and be around people and some days I just can't force myself to do it. Although, the fact that he is still very extroverted at this point, despite my being the complete opposite, does help me feel a bit better about it.

One step I am taking next school year, now that I have quit my part time job, is being more involved with his school. Focusing on the idea of experiencing school events with him and showing him my support in that way is helping me not spazz out about the idea that I will inevitably HAVE TO socialize with other people on a regular basis/possibly daily.

- Jen, Mama to DS1 (02.04.05) and DS2 (02.11.10) & baby #3 due in early January 2013

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#11 of 23 Old 06-18-2009, 10:43 AM
 
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I don't have much time to respond in detail at the moment, just wanted to nod to most of the comments made so far. I identify with many of the issues mentioned - disliking big group events, feeling like a 'snob' at the toy library, mum's groups...

... I cannot imagine what my life would be like with numerous children. I only have one ds (3). My husband just had a few months of leave, and it nearly rubbed my nerves raw - the extra noise, the extra person trying to talk to me, the extra body moving around and taking up space. I was really irritable. Just thinking about having extra people around ALL THE TIME makes me spin out.

I'll be checking in on this thread. I always love to hear from mama's like myself.
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#12 of 23 Old 06-18-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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I'm very much an introvert and DS is just like me. DD is an extrovert and needs to be around people. Fortunately for the most part, her family is pretty much enough. They are getting to the age of having friends over and it is very, very hard for me to have them in my house. I feel awkward and embarassed...over kids! I had a terrible childhood and I tend to see the bad attributes of my "friends" in their friends. We do get out quite a bit, a lot more than I would on my own. It still makes me nervous and uncomfortable. I would be content to never go anywhere, except shopping
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#13 of 23 Old 06-18-2009, 01:27 PM
 
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I worry about this too. Not only am I an introvert, we're night owls, so even on days when I might feel up to taking my kids to local groups (where I just on the sides and watch on the extremely few occasions I've gone), we're usually not even up yet since things always seem to be in the morning. And we're homeschooling due to ds1's issues, so the poor kid doesn't even get interaction at school. I've been thinking that if we just had a car, I'd try harder to take him to homeschool events, but I'm not sure I would, unless it was something I could just drop him at.

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#14 of 23 Old 06-18-2009, 04:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by savannah smiles View Post
I believe there's a tribe for introverted mamas somewhere here in MDC land.

I'm very, very introverted and am grateful that my girls are now old enough to be in school/preschool so that they're getting regular interactions out of the house. We do go places but I don't like to have people in my home; I just find it draining.

My girls aren't as introverted as me, but they're not very social either so they seem fine with being home or doing short outings just the 3 of us.

i tried to click on your etsy link but it didnt work!

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#15 of 23 Old 06-21-2009, 10:37 PM
 
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i tried to click on your etsy link but it didnt work!
THanks for letting me know! It should be fixed now.

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#16 of 23 Old 06-21-2009, 10:45 PM
 
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I don't have much time to respond in detail at the moment, just wanted to nod to most of the comments made so far. I identify with many of the issues mentioned - disliking big group events, feeling like a 'snob' at the toy library, mum's groups...

... I cannot imagine what my life would be like with numerous children. I only have one ds (3). My husband just had a few months of leave, and it nearly rubbed my nerves raw - the extra noise, the extra person trying to talk to me, the extra body moving around and taking up space. I was really irritable. Just thinking about having extra people around ALL THE TIME makes me spin out.

I'll be checking in on this thread. I always love to hear from mama's like myself.
For me, having 2 kids is much easier on me than just one because they have each other to focus on! DD1 was (and is) a pretty intense child. When it was just me and her the dynamic was very intense and draining on me. Having a second child changed the household dynamic is a really positive way. It also means I don't feel guilty (or as guilty) needing so much time alone because they have one another. I imagine I would feel differently if they didn't get along as well as they do.

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#17 of 23 Old 06-22-2009, 12:50 AM
 
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introvert thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1039645

also subbing

mom of 3 , homeschooling the oldest with google and the internet
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#18 of 23 Old 06-22-2009, 01:13 AM
 
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Hello Fellow Introverts,
I have only been coming out of my shell because of my daughter.
Being in a military family that moved every 3 years, my High School years and my parents divorce at 14 put me in a bad state of self-esteem
and left me just being kinda unsocial. I didnt want to put forth the effort in relationships.
College was a bit better but I lived in the dorm the whole time I was there and didnt party etc.
My husband is a computer geek and we met online and find it more comfortable at times to communicate with anyone by email. My family often complains about me not answering the phone. Before social events I often get a bit cranky and afterwards I want to lay down and recover.
My daughter on the otherhand was born wanting to be out in the world...never wanted to snuggle...she wanted to be facing out in her Baby Bjorn before her head was even stable. Now she is almost 5 and is asking about playdates all the time! Love makes me get out...and I often am starting to like it.

I really do think that our children come to teach us. My dd has shown me that I need to lighten up and not think so much about myself. I have found that helping others is a good way to realize the world is not just about me and that I do have talents/positive aspects to share with others. There are other introverted moms out there who do want to have friends, they just want meaningful ones and not the superficial fake hellos and "keeping up with the Jones" type conversation.

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#19 of 23 Old 06-22-2009, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband is a computer geek and we met online and find it more comfortable at times to communicate with anyone by email. My family often complains about me not answering the phone. Before social events I often get a bit cranky and afterwards I want to lay down and recover.
My daughter on the otherhand was born wanting to be out in the world...never wanted to snuggle...she wanted to be facing out in her Baby Bjorn before her head was even stable. Now she is almost 5 and is asking about playdates all the time! Love makes me get out...and I often am starting to like it.
That's funny... I generally prefer e-mail to the phone as well, and don't generally even answer the phone unless I know who it is and why they're calling.

My son has gotten me out of the house a lot more (not necessarily to crowded places, sometimes it's just to the local nature center and hiking trails) and these aren't things I would have normally done - having him has really showed me that I can relax and enjoy new things.

Reading this thread has really helped me, I felt like I was the only person in the world who needed "alone time" to recuperate! Many of the coping mechanisms listed here are very insightful to me.
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#20 of 23 Old 06-22-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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I'm absolutely an introvert! During college I essentially lived the life of a hermit, really only socializing in class occasionally. My thrice-weekly fencing practice was my social outlet, and I was perfectly happy with that limited amount of social contact - I even had friends there! DH, on the other hand, is probably the most social person I've ever met. He can make friends with anyone. Little Eleanor seems like she's going to be the same way, although at 8 months old she's perfectly content staying in with me, so this very fundamental difference in personality isn't an issue yet.

I'm really not looking forward to the idea of playdates and other situations where I'll be expected to make mindless chatter - in most situations I refuse to do this unless it's really necessary to be polite or I'm really interested in the person. Don't even get me started on having to talk on the phone!

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#21 of 23 Old 06-22-2009, 04:35 PM
 
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I need to lighten up and not think so much about myself. I have found that helping others is a good way to realize the world is not just about me and that I do have talents/positive aspects to share with others. There are other introverted moms out there who do want to have friends, they just want meaningful ones and not the superficial fake hellos and "keeping up with the Jones" type conversation.
Exactly what I was thinking. As for "socialization"...way over emphasized in my opinion. Kids need to play, they need to be loved, they need to eat, and to sleep. They do not need crowds of children doing activities together to be well adjusted, and I really consider it more of a hindrance than a help as far as kids developing their genuine interests, personality, etc. I think introverts tend to be looking for a more genuine life in general, and so weed out the superfluous stuff. How could that be bad for a child?
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#22 of 23 Old 06-23-2009, 12:55 AM
 
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My daughter on the otherhand was born wanting to be out in the world...never wanted to snuggle...she wanted to be facing out in her Baby Bjorn before her head was even stable.
<snip>
There are other introverted moms out there who do want to have friends, they just want meaningful ones and not the superficial fake hellos and "keeping up with the Jones" type conversation.
That was my daughter too! In fact, I started a thread not too long ago asking for survival techniques because I am the only introvert in a family of four. Not too long ago, I became depressed because I realized my daughter wanted MORE interaction already! We see cousings regularly and she accompanies me around everywhere. But when I took her to the park and she did nothing but chase around other little people trying to make friends I thought "Damn! I guess this means I have to join mommy and me." <shrugs shoulders> Eh, what're you gonna do?

And the other issue I'm having is that I'm lonely. My world is filled with superficial and very little deeper connection. I mean, how to introverts find one another? It's not like we are likely to just strike up conversation!

OP, As far as wondering how other people think of my aloofness, I have soooo given up even caring about that. I make the effort to smile, literally, and to have an overall positive demeanor. I find that does wonders to bridge the gaps that my lack of chit-chat conversations make.
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#23 of 23 Old 06-23-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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I am not a phone person either. I used to feel guilty about it and tried to force myself to make more calls to friends/family but I just couldn't do it. In fact, a few years ago, my sister had a huge issue with me not calling enough. She lives in another state and prefers phone over email but I think she's resigned herself to the fact that I'm a different person than she is. She was a cheerleader in high school and very social and outgoing and when we visit in person or talk on the phone, I am so drained. It's too much interaction for me.

I never thought about how my shyness/introversion would affect my daughter. I think it's because she's a little like me except that she's a bit more social. She loved playing with other kids (she's an only), I did notice that and she liked having her little friends over but I wasn't comfortable with it. But she was good about playing by herself and seemed happy as long as we were together. I grew up in the kind of household where children "should be seen and not heard" so maybe that has something to do with my shyness. Because of it I'd let my dd babble on and on. She still likes to talk and she used to mention that she feels like she's keeping up the conversation more than I am. I feel bad about that but sometimes I just really cannot think of something to say. I really try with her, though, and I know I'm better than I used to be. We have lots of nice conversations now.
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