And treehugz, I feel the same way being torn between my kids. I feel I'm at my best as a parent when I have individual time with just one of my children. I have three, 6 1/2, 3 1/2, and 7 mon. Sometimes I feel there just isn't enough of me to go around. The worst part for me is then they literally fight over who gets to sit next to me at the table, who get's to snuggle up to my back when I'm lying down nursing the baby. I just don't know how to handle these situations. When they happen I wish I could lock myself in the bathroom and plug my ears until DH gets home.
"Sometimes I feel there just isn't enough of me to go around." Yes, me exactly! I've been feeling more and more like this lately. I breaks my heart sometimes... especially for my older dd because she gets less from me because "the baby" needs me more. I'm just out of sorts somehow when I'm trying to manage the two of my kids together... I don't know how to explain it.
I'm uncomfortable with my dd going to other kids' houses too, so I'm not sure how to deal with that. Ugh, I hated these awkward friend situations when I was a kid. You get ZERO alone time when you're in school, so introverts get no break to recharge during the school day. And my parents always had me playing team sports year round, so even after school I couldn't get away. I was always feeling off-centered, which made it hard to sort through situations and make friends. Homeschool would have been a dream for me.
I think my DD is somewhere in the middle between introvert and extrovert. She does need some time to play by herself to recharge, but she also hates being alone sometimes and craves play mates. There are times she's happy to play by herself in the playground at school, and there are times when she feels left out and not included. There are also times she is included and has a good time with other kids. Overall she likes school so far. She's still on winter holiday and looking forward to going back. Luckily she has her little brother to play with at home. I try and remind myself of that when life with multiple children gets hard.
I'm glad that I wasn't usually in after school activities as a child. I remember near the end of a school day, really looking forward to that recharge time at home alone in my room. Though I had younger siblings that sometimes wanted my attention. I don't know if home school would have been ideal for me or not. My mother was an introvert who, like me, made no effort to build friendships. My Dad had wonderful social skills and good friends at work, but nothing outside of that. I would have had my siblings to play with, but we would have been very isolated as a family. It's hard to say how that would have affected me.
How old is your older DD, Treehugz? I found when my 2nd was a baby, it helped to remind my older child that the baby needs xyz, just like she did when she was a baby. It didn't help that my second was a high needs baby. I remember feeling really touched out at times and just wanting my body to myself. DD would want to sit in my lap while I was nursing the baby (DS1). I was so conflicted because I desperately wanted to meet her needs, but at the same time I couldn't stand being trapped under two children. It felt like being trapped under a boulder. Looking back on it, I may have been going through PPD. This time around it's easier because DS2 is easy going and usually happy, and the older two are both used to not being an only child. I feel like I'm able to give more of myself to DD now than I could then DS1 was a baby. So I like to think I'm making up for lost times. Still I'm only one person and they are three. So there are difficult times when I feel like I just can't meet all of their needs.
CuddleBug'sMama, thank you sooooooo much for reviving this thread. I searched Mothering with the keyword "introvert" and it popped up at the top of the list. Read through the first two pages then skipped to this one. Lots of good material in here, but I just wish I had more time to read through it all. How I crave a good, thoughtful read!
Where to start, except to say that I can relate to just about everything I've read in here. I'm sensitive to and distracted by so many things: odours, temperature, noise, just the presence of another person can throw me off and break my concentration. It's taken me a long time to realize that it's related to being an introvert. While I love and need some social contact, I find many social situations just overwhelming and draining, even more so now that I have two little ones to look after. As I write this, I'm skipping out on at least one social event I've been invited to. Before I became a mother, I would go to these events even if I didn't exactly feel in my element. But these days, the prospect just seems too overwhelming for me. I'd have to make myself look presentable, then talk to people I don't know, find things to say, pay attention to multiple conversations, try to remember names and faces, all while I'm in the dizzying haze of mothering a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old. I've finally decided to quit pushing myself into more uncomfortable social situations than is necessary, and to quit feeling guilty about it.
But of course, it's never so simple to quit feeling guilty. There's the worry that my children will never learn any social skills if I don't try to get them out into social situations on a regular basis. I spend a lot of time trying to figure it out, how to get them out into just the right situations to meet friends, how to not have my entire family come across as awkward and shy, how to navigate difficult moments and situations.... I could go on and on.
Sometimes I wish that our lives were set up to make socializing a little easier for us all. A little more casual. Like a playground within walking distance where we could just drop in every day, and gradually get to know the other regulars there. But right now we are not in that situation. Perhaps we will be in the near future... I hope... if all goes as planned. And they are still young enough to not become set in Mama's introverted ways. But still, I feel anxious about it. Probably more than I should.
You were asking about good books on the subject? I just finished reading Susan Cain's "Quiet: The Power of introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" and found it a very validating and informative. Has anyone else read it?
Well, looks like nap time is over. Must quit for now!
It's cool that someone so articulate is sharing her experience of being an Introvert. Everything she says sounds so familiar.
Do you identify as a HSP? You sound like one. It wasn't until after discovering I was an Introvert that I heard about being sensitive too.
Please come back and post again. I'd love to hear more about your experience and it really is so validating for other Introverts.
I probably do, though I haven't done any of the personality tests. When I have a bit of time I'll do some research, as I love psychology... as a hobby. Mostly I enjoy finding out more about myself and those close to me, as I feel that understanding is a key to compassion. And I hardly need to say it's important to be compassionate towards yourself and those you love.
When I learned that sensitivity to one's surroundings, in terms of the 5 senses, is common in introverted people, it helped me a great deal to understand what's going on with my emotions on a daily basis. It helps just to know that you may be experiencing sensory overload when your environment is noisy, crowded or otherwise stimulating. It helps to know that this is why I may be having trouble concentrating at times, or feel more stressed out than I should. And it gives me a valid reason to create a peaceful environment at home.
This is not the most articulate post... surrounded by people right now. I'll write some more when I get the chance!
When I first got into discovering that I was an introvert I researched the types of all the people closest to me too, so that I could better honour their needs. As it happened, at the same time I was speaking to their needs, I got better at speaking up and reminding people about mine. That helped a lot with personal relationships and certain aspects of community involvement.
I know it may sound impossible where you're at with a 3 year old and a 6 month old at the moment, but I was able to volunteer a little bit recently with DS. It felt so amazing to finally do something again for the greater good and be a mother. And he got to live it with me too - Yay! It makes me so happy. The other thing that was really good about it, was that it barely had any face-to-face social contact even though it was something that would directly benefit another person.
Regarding being a HSP, DH and I have a routine where he does things like wearing headphones while listening to music or TV. That helps a lot. Also, we found having zones in our home which are entirely his to do as he pleases alleviated any differences we have. Closing a door to a room or a cupboard is far easier than having to negotiate on a daily basis. And DH, takes DS to most of the kid parties. These are kids that we met through his preschool.
Choosing a school was a really big deal around here. There are so many needs that needed to be met. I really wrestled with the decision-making, because it could so easily go pear-shaped if it was wrong. DS is high needs, but totally in a good way. He is such a bright light and I didn't want that to be squished. The other aspect is that was totally important to me is that I wanted his spiritual growth to be allowed and developed.
Being Introverted and HSP, all the information that comes pouring into my senses when I'm around other people makes picking up, drop off and involvement with school activities a lot fuller and more complex than meets the eye. Therefore, like-minded people becomes even more key.
But, we've found a school and it really feels like the right school.
head4thehills, great name by the way, this turned into a longer post than I first imagined it would be. I'm wondering if this book would be of interest to you: The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide - Essential Skills for Living Well in an Overstimulating World. Ted Zeff, PH. D.
It's fun being on Mothering and meeting like-minded people, especially I think at the early ages when it's harder to get out and about. I hope you are enjoying it too.
I'm currently reading Elaine Aron's The Highly Sensitive Person. Your previous post prompted me to look up HSP, and found out about her book. It's a very good read, very sensitively written, as you might imagine. From what I've read so far, I think I'm somewhere in the middle of the sensitivity spectrum. I have a tendency to become somewhat of a hermit if left to my own devices, but I have very little trouble putting myself out there in the world. But learning about my own sensitivity has meant that I now pay more attention to the signs that I'm overdoing it. And now I know why I felt so strongly that I needed some time to myself after social activity. Before I became so busy with motherhood, I would take part in festivals and art shows (I'm a studio jeweler-- or I used to be!) several times a year. I enjoyed them very much, but really felt drained after an event. I would need several days to myself to digest everything that took place. I wish I had been able to explain this to DH, as my withdrawal after a show was the source of some tension between us in those days.
I think I can relate to some of your concerns regarding schooling for your young guy, as he is just a little older than mine. Right now I'm having trouble figuring out how we are going to meet his social needs while not overwhelming us. He's not used to being in a place with lots of children, so when confronted with a busy playground, he clings to me until most of the other kids are gone. The other day we went to a playground where there were no other children around. He was perfectly happy with it, but I thought it was a little sad. Where are all the children? Right now, DS says he doesn't want friends, but I think he needs playmates, because lately he's wanted me to play with him non-stop. And I'm confident he would enjoy a friendship once it was established. I love to play with him, but after some time, I want and need to do grown-up things, and of course tend to Baby Girl. I've been wondering if something a little more structured, like soccer for preschoolers, would be something he'd benefit from. Trouble is, he's not completely potty trained yet. I don't want to get him involved with something he's not ready for yet. But I'm puzzling over finding something that's just the right fit for him... and me.
I like your idea of volunteering. I have the urge to do something to give back, to benefit the greater good. I don't think right now is the time for me to do this, because my hands are so full. I'm a member of a small co-operative gallery which provides me with all the community involvement that I can reasonably handle, as well as a venue for my art. The other artist members have been extremely accommodating for me-- many of them are done raising their families and are happy to see the young ones at the gallery receptions. I like the arrangement; it keeps me active in the community, but more on my terms.
I'm also very happy to have this forum, as it gives me the opportunity to meet people like you who I can relate to... so difficult to do when you can't get out there enough!
I have to go now, but I will come back as soon as I have time to do so again.
You have a lovely, sensitive writing style. Also, when you speak about yourself, you do so in such a way that helps me feel included every step of the way. I hope it rubs off on me
I asked a previous poster when does that fleeting moment expand and while she didn't reply, I can now semi-reply from my own experience... Probably each child is different, but my high-needs (needing near-constant physical/emotional/mental connection/stimulation) is now comfortable to allow me to have a hot drink away from him from start to finish. This started when he was about 4 1/4.
That's when he's with me. When he's playing with DH on Saturdays, he can cope well with 1/2 day without me, as long as daddy is wholly focused on him. But then he needs to reconnect. He prefers shorter days at Kindy and attends for about 5 hours, one day a week.
Being an Introvert and HSP (quite strongly), that time needed for reflection still isn't quite there, but it's a start.
Soon after DS turned 3, we began early learning. He's shown such an interest. We developed a style that suited us - because he is so physical. Between solving each equation or problem, he would run a loop around the house. DS found it all very exciting. That was an investment because not only is he ahead in learning, but he has found something he is passionate about and something he can now do on his own. If he is leaning all over me (picture this in an active way), then the period of time that he can focus on that type of activity extends.
3 for us, was probably the biggest foundational year for self-sufficiency. We put so much focus into that. 4 is an extension of that, plus now there is the added layer of the child that he is becoming shining through. It really is delightful and rewarding.
Those three dots symbolise a break in time while I tended to DS who just woke up. He's with DH now, so I'll quickly finish up. It reminded me of how much energy we've put into our communication style. I've had to learn a lot about matching my true nature with the type of words I use. Still working on it. That's one of the reasons I'm happy to meet you. Like for example when you said 'puzzling' over something, where previously I'd used 'wrestling'. Puzzling is a much gentler word and if you don't mind I'm going to adopt it!
Empathy is for me, the foundation of communicating with another person. That's why I really enjoy the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish. I just used those techniques with DS right then and it smoothed his morning upset. Yippee!
Ah, there's still so much to say, as I feel I've only touched on your post... Hopefully in my round-about way, some of what you're thinking about has been mentioned here. I'm looking forward to adding more and hearing your perspective (and the manner in which you express it), when there's time. Soon I hope. And don't feel pressured whenever you can post is a gift to me, ...ever surrounded by extroverts and activity, hehe.
Last edited by Ella-6; 06-25-2014 at 02:10 PM.
So much I'd love to respond to. Your post was amazing, beautifully-written-- not to mention flattering! I'll try to hit a few of the high points and add a few things that have been on my mind.
You mentioned early learning, solving problems and equations, starting at age 3. Wow, that seems really advanced! Are you using any learning modules, or making up your own? I'd really like to know how to introduce my guy to some semi-structured learning, since we'll be homeschooling. I'd like to try different things and see what he responds to. I feel I need some guidance, in the form of activity books, to help him learn. I draw a bit of a blank when I try to dream up educational activities for him.
Oh, and do you have any advice on teaching self-sufficiency? Maybe I've been more attentive a parent than I realise, maybe a little too attentive, because he still seems very dependent upon me for everything... feeding, dressing, tooth-brushing. I often fall into doing these things for him out of lack of time (or maybe just patience). Today, suddenly he showed me he CAN dress himself if he's motivated enough. I told him we're going to his grandparents' and his aunt and cousin are there, and let slip that they have a present for him. Boy, you should have seen him get his clothes on! Now, can he do it for himself again tomorrow? Without bribery? We'll see...
It's been hard at this point for me to wrap my brain around educating him, since I'm over-occupied with household tasks, not to mention taking care of the baby. She has decided to skip crawling, and needs help "walking" all of the time. So, at this point I rarely get to sit down to eat a full meal. She's up and about before I'm halfway through. However, I will add that at least in the morning I can have my hot drink (coffee, yeah!) almost all the way through without having to get up for a walk-about with DD or help DS with a game.
I am hoping that there will eventually be a time when I do get that uninterrupted reflection session on a daily basis. But, as it is, I think I spend my whole day in reflection upon something or other. More than once, DS has said to me "Mama, stop thinking!" In other words, start talking and responding to what he is telling me. I'm concerned that my introversion makes me less effective as a parent, not playing or interacting with my children as much as I should, even if I'm there physically.
On a slightly different note, I was wondering, how do you evaluate (if that's the right word to use) your own children's traits? I'm pretty sure that DS is slightly more on the introverted side, but I'm not sure if that's due to my own tendency to be "in" more than "out". He's not used to being around people outside of his family, so he behaves more cautiously and quietly in public or in a playground than the other kids. DD is just a baby right now, but she seems to be more physically sensitive than her big brother. She's teething right now and is fussing much more than DS did. I think she'll be the real "princess and the pea," noticing all the little things. They are both sensitive to noise, like I am. I don't use vacuum cleaners or electric mixers very often, as the noise bothers me as much as them.
The last thing I wanted to mention was regarding the two books I recently read on introversion and HSP. While they were good reading, I was disappointed with how little they had to say on being Introverted or HSP parents. They focused more on being parents to HS or introverted children, but it seems unlikely that extroverted or non-HSP parents would ever think to pick up these books for advice on their children.
I'm going to do a little more online research for the fun of it, just to see if I can find more on being a parent with these traits. But, so far, this forum has been the best for advice and interaction with other "innies"!