A warm welcome to Emma Scheib of Simple Slow & Lovely!
I think most mums would agree that motherhood is simultaneously the hardest and most rewarding thing we’ve ever done. But for those of us who flourish in quiet and solitude, mothering can sometimes feel too hard.
Interestingly, I wasn’t always this way, drawn to quiet and rest. Before becoming a parent, I attended every social gathering offered to me and was often the life of parties. But I’m finding that the older I get, the more I crave silence and alone time. And there is no doubt that these cravings have increased exponentially since having my two children.
I have become more introverted since I became a mother.
Some of you might be nodding your head in agreement, thinking that yes, you too have become more introverted since you’ve had kids. Why does this happen?
For one thing, when you have kids, everything gets turned up to full volume. And I’m not just taking audibly. Life becomes busier, more complicated, and all of a sudden, full of more people.
A new parent gets hit with a double whammy of social interactions. Not only do you now have an extra person in your house to interact with (never mind keep safe, fed, and clothed!), but on top of that, you are expected to interact with all the people this little person has inadvertently brought into your life.
We find ourselves going to music groups, coffee dates, dance classes, football practices, and more. Parenting brings us an influx of new friends, events, and opportunities.
Some of the closest friends I have today are people I’ve met through my daughters. But with that comes the downside of feeling like I’m drowning in social invitations and interactions, which is especially hard when most of the time, I only have the emotional capacity for social interaction with my family. So when I interact outside of this, it’s taking away from my capacity to be present for my family.
If I say yes to coffee with you, it may mean I have to say no to interacting fully with my daughter after school. It’s been a steep learning curve, paved with lots of missteps (as well as a frequent desire to hide in my wardrobe!).
It seems so contradictory that now that I am a parent, I have an intense desire for solitude. It’s strange how when you need it most, you’re the least likely to get it.
But instead of trying to change myself—trying to fluff up my extrovert feathers—I’m choosing to equip myself with tools that will allow me to both respect my introverted nature and flourish as a parent.
3 Tools to Help You Flourish as an Introverted Mom
Tool 1. Knowledge
I know my weak points (well, most of them…), and I know that there are certain times when I will need more solitude and self-care. In practical terms this means planning and preparation. If I know that I have three tasks in a day that require socialization, then I need to ensure that I find space in between them or after them to recharge.
And to be honest, often three is too many. For instance, I just declined a coffee date for tomorrow because I already have an appointment with a personal trainer and another meeting. This on top of being with my family is my absolute limit.
Which brings me to…
Tool 2. The Willingness to Say No
I think I’m good at saying no, but the truth is I can get better. We all can! I find that the best way to say no is with honesty. It’s not the easiest. Lying and saying you have something else going on feels easier and more socially acceptable than owning up to needing downtime. But saying no is crucial for an introvert. Saying yes all the time will break you. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Tool 3. Communication
Your loved ones need to know what you need. We are constantly hearing what our children want and need. It’s okay to let them know what we need too. I often escape to my room for downtime, even just for five minutes. If one of my girls finds me, I explain that Mummy needs some quiet time. And if I also explain to my husband, then he can help me get that quiet time I need.
I’m curious to hear if your experience echoes mine! Have you noticed yourself becoming more introverted as you get older? Do you think it’s related to age or parenthood or a combination of both?
A Helpful Resource
If this struggle is as real for you as it is for me, I’d love for you to check out my ecourse, Talked Out, Touched Out: Learn to Thrive as an Introverted Mom.
The 9 lessons will take you through topics such as—
- Accept yourself and know the benefits
- Help your loved ones GET IT
- Structure your days to accommodate your needs
- Play to your strengths as an introverted parent
And more. 🙂
Registration is currently closed but will re-open Fall 2018. Until then, feel free to grab a copy of our 12 tips for introverted parents—from introverted parents!
Credit for these beautiful mother-daughter images goes to Emily Amber Photography. See more of her work over on Instagram!
Emma…I feel this way too.I agree that it is since becoming a Mum.
I’m so glad I’m not alone Ali!!!
I’ve always been an introvert, but before having kids I was much better able to cope with the demands and noise of life in general, because I could recharge in the quiet at home. Now home quite often feels like a three-ring circus, and I homeschool so I’m with my kids all day, every day. I love it, but sometimes the constant noise and interaction gets to be too much. Now that they’re getting a little older my kids will sometimes respect the “mama needs a few minutes of quiet” request, but just as often they’ll be tapping on my door every five seconds telling me that their sibling looked at them funny, etc.
So I guess for me it’s not so much that motherhood made me more introverted, but it’s made being an introvert harder because of the lack of quiet and solitude in which to recharge.
I literally put myself in my room last night for time out! I sat against the door for 3 minutes. I knew that noone was going to die… except maybe me if I heard ‘Muuuuuuum’ one more time!
Wow I love this article. Sounds very similar to myself. I find myself saying no to more social gatherings than yes. But when I was a teen you never could find me at home on a weekend. I have 3 children and always thought of my rejection to social events more of a reaction to my obligations to my family. But maybe I’m becoming more introverted. I never regretted staying with my family on weekends or evenings. I found it relaxing because we were home safely together.
Great article. I need to remember that bit about how saying yes to a social engagement means not having energy to be present with the kids. That might help assuage the guilt-inducing nature of saying no.
Thanks for this!
Thank YOU so much for reading, Amy. And YES!