3 Tips for the Introvert Parent
A common misconception about us introverts is that we don’t like people. This is so not true. Though, I can definitely see why there is this misconception.
Speaking from my own introverted persona, I like people. I like people a lot. I LOVE visiting. I love getting to know people. And I love having those deep conversations with others face to face about things that matter in their life and in mine. Sharing opinions and struggles. Joys. Just genuine and meaningful heart to hearts. I really do!
But, there is a definite downside to these visits afterward for me.
I get tired, so very tired. Not just physically, but mentally too. Stress and anxiety start to climb up the ladder. I start to get easily irritated and frustrated. I basically become an impatient, neurotic grump. Of course, I still take accountability of how I act; it’s just that my mind has less light than before to fight off the dark.
Here’s my own analogy for people to understand it better. It’s like we all have rechargeable batteries. For extroverts, their charger is amongst people. For us introverts, our charger is away from people.
Here’s my own analogy for people to understand it better. It’s like we all have rechargeable batteries. For extroverts, their charger is amongst people. For us introverts, our charger is away from people. If I’m going to be away from my charger for a portion of time, I have to make sure I’m charged to 100% or close to. I also have to be aware of when my battery hits 10% so I can plug myself in, fast. As introverts, we basically give our energy away to people in social situations, which leaves not much left for ourselves.
Being a stay at home parent I am constantly around my littles. So, I have to be mindful of where and when I can or should spend outside people time. My husband and children don’t drain my battery like others do. Thank goodness! I do still get drained, but it’s at a very, very slow pace. Because I have to physically and mentally commit so much to the constant care of my children, I have to be even more mindful of my battery life.
These 3 things are what have helped keep my battery at a safe place so that I can be the best parent I can be to my darlings.
Be Self-Aware. Learn your moods and your physical energy levels. If you find yourself extra tired after X amount of social interactions, take note of it. If you are noticing you are being more impatient and frustrated with your children than normal, look back at what you did previously that day that may have lead you to that mental place. Get to know yourself and how your battery runs. This way, you can adjust life accordingly where possible. For me, I usually have to have a kind of 1 to 1 ratio. 1 day I can have social interaction, the next I’m at home without. Of course there have been times when I’ve spent 3 days in a row in some sort of people outing, but I usually take 3 days of shut in afterward. If I’m amongst strangers and there is no social interaction I usually do ok. It’s when I have that social exchange that my energy gets pulled out.
Don’t plan ahead and don’t make plans you can’t keep. Nobody likes a flake or a friend who is undependable. So don’t be it! Most all my friends know I’m a last-minuter. I’ll hardly ever tell them I’m for sure going to make it until closer to the date. This is usually for my battery/stress sake. When the date gets closer and I’m at 100% charge, I’ll commit to the outing whole-heartedly. I’m so there! I have to be a little family-selfish though. My mind and body’s energy levels have to be there for my kids. They’re the most important, so they have to get my highest battery-powered self.
Limit play dates. I’m not the Mom that can spend every day amongst other friends and children. I love meeting up at playgrounds and hanging out. But, again, my energy depletes. For the sake of my parenting energy I have to make play dates a sparse occasion. If you are an introvert and are struggling with the pressures of constantly being invited to play dates with Moms and their kids, you must learn to be assertive. Limit those play dates. Explain yourself to your Mom friends. If they’re truly your friends they’ll completely understand and support you. They’ll keep inviting you, but never be offended if you say you can’t make it.
Explain yourself to your Mom friends. If they’re truly your friends they’ll completely understand and support you. They’ll keep inviting you, but never be offended if you say you can’t make it.
So in short, save your energy where you can. Be open and honest with friends when discussing get-togethers. And don’t ever feel guilty about placing your family first by saving your energy for home.
Hope this helps. I’d love to know how you deal with your introversion as a parent too!