Being a mother is not the same experience for all women. All of our children are different. All of our circumstances our different. And all women are different, on the inside!
The internet has done an incredible thing for introverts. Where we used to hideout at home like hermits, we can now hide out at home and connect with other introverts on the World Wide Web! This has created something of an introvert culture and movement. We now understand ourselves much better and our experiences are normalised.
If you aren’t familiar with the whole extrovert/introvert thing, here is the quick guide. It’s not as simple as being confident or shy. Extroverts get their energy from being around people, and introverts recharge alone. And it’s a continuum, you could be somewhere in the middle, called an ambivert!
I also suspect that even some extroverted mothers become more introverted during the early years of mothering. So even if you are usually more outgoing and gregarious, you might find some of this is such an intense experience that we all find solace in silence. Some of this article may be relevant to you right now too.
There are some genuine benefits of being an introverted mother…
You’ve Got A Great Excuse To Avoid Social Stuff
Don’t want to go to that party? Even if you said yes but now can’t face all those people, you have got a stock excuse in your back pocket. No one can argue if you say your baby is sick, or your babysitter cancelled.
You Can Always Leave Early
Hit your social limit? I usually reach mine after around two hours, unless I’m feeling really energetic. Lucky I’ve always got a baby with me who needs a nap!
You Don’t Need To Talk To Anyone At Social Gatherings
I know many introverts who hide in the toilet or pretend to make a phone call at when they hit their social limit! Now that you have children you don’t need to. You can follow your toddler around making sure they don’t break anything, change your baby's nappy, explain something to your six year old… The options for opting out of social conversations are endless!
But there are draw backs too…
Always People In Your House
Where an extrovert would be happy to leave the house (and the children) behind, many introverts prefer to re-energise at home. Problem is, everyone else is also there! Sometimes you just want a few hours of peace and quiet in your home, and that is like waiting for a unicorn.
There are so many school runs, kids' birthday parties, mums' groups, extra curricular activities and more school runs… When you are a mum there are people everywhere. You are always having to get dressed and make small talk. Smile and chat. Chat and smile. It can be very draining.
Many introverts are extra sensitive to all sorts of things that some other people might not even notice. The constant touch and noise of children can lead introverted mothers to feel overwhelmed and at their sensory capacity at all times. Maybe you feel bad cause you’ve snapped at your kids for laughing too loud when your ears feel like they are bleeding, or pushed them away for trying to cuddle you when you are all touched out.
No Time For The Social Hangover
Introverts recharge and re-energise alone. There is no space in a mother’s life for a social hangover after all the long hours socialising.
A few strategies…
If you are reading this and nodding along, it’s likely you need some strategies to help you feel more at relaxed in motherhood. Here are a few suggestions you could try to embrace your introverted nature and enjoy being a mum despite the bustle and chaos.
Thank goodness for the Internet! Motherhood can be very isolating.
Spend your time with people who you really care about. Find your tribe, and share your deepest feelings with them. Avoiding the superficial stuff is essential if you are going to have the energy to find friends you connect with.
Wear Ear Plugs
There are some theories around that introversion is related to sensory processing. It’s possible that you just hear more, see more, taste more and feel more than your extroverted friends. No wonder the world is so exhausting!
Ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones can help to remove some of the background noise when you know your children are being safely looked after.
Nature can be so rejuvenating! Restore some of your fragmented energy by spending some time in the sun, breathing in the fresh air and feeling the earth beneath your toes. Besides, it’s a great place to encourage your kids to stop being so physically attached to your body and the noise disperses better.
A good book is a great way to stop friendly people from starting a conversation with you. I recommend carrying one with you at all times!
Scheduled Down Time
Schedule some time at home alone each week. Maybe you need a whole day, maybe it’s just an hour or two.
Friends With An Introvert?
If you have an introverted friend with children, please allow her some space. She still loves you, but she may be at capacity right now. She’ll be back when the kids are bigger and she has some bandwidth free!