What it Really Means to be an Introverted Parent
I am an introvert. I know this doesn’t surprise anyone who knows me. I’m a Hufflepuff, I crave quiet spaces, and I get really overwhelmed and exhausted after being around lots of people. Even though I genuinely enjoy time with family and friends, it can take me days to bounce back from an evening out.
All of this is hard enough as just a person. But now I am a mom. And being an introverted mom turns out to have its own set of difficulties aside from just being one lone person.
Being an introverted parent means: you need space from your kids.
I know that sounds standard, like “duh! Who doesn’t need space from their kids?” But I’m not talking about a nice break. As an introvert, I NEED a time I can look forward to every day that is quiet and peaceful. A time to unwind. Recover. If I don’t get this time, I fill up with anxious energy pretty quickly and things go downhill from there.
Sometimes space means Drew taking Marceline to the grocery store while I crank out work projects at home. Other times, glorious, amazing, just-for-me solitude means a long, long bath with a bath bomb, dimmed lights, classical music and my favorite wine. Get you a partner who knows how to orchestrate the perfect “you time” when you need it the most.
Being an introverted parent means: Having a hard time with parent friends
When I think of parents depicted in movies, they’re usually moms who not only have their shit together in a totally unachievable way, but they keep a busy social life going. Brunch dates, play dates, BFF mani/pedi dates, and so on. I promise you, that’s not real mom life for this introvert. My BFFs are my blanket, my couch, and taking off my bra.
While that kind of solitude is nice, sometimes I do wish I had someone to talk to other than my husband and my toddler. And being an introvert makes that hard. Instead of meetups and brunches, I rely a lot on online groups like Heckin’ Parents(e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to this group,) and the friends I’ve made through Candor, to make life feel a little less lonely.
Being an introverted parent means: Being misunderstood
I would like to think that I’m a nice person. I’m friendly, I genuinely care about those around me. But a lot of times, I worry that because I’m not outgoing, I come off as aloof. Drew often whispers in my ear that I look pissed, or asks if I’m okay. I AM! But when talking to people is hard and I’m feeling all the things, it’s hard to keep my face looking pleased. It’s easier to find a quiet corner and escape.
I swear, it’s not that I don’t like you. It’s not that I don’t want to be there (well, maybe a little), but as an introvert sometimes means putting out vibes that are easily misinterpreted as being about you or your party, when really, they’re about me and my energy.
There is no cure for being introverted, and having a kid doesn’t automatically make you any more outgoing than you were when you were childless, even though there’s more pressure on you to socialize for the sake of your kid. But I’m here to say that you are okay just as you are. You don’t need to change. Keep being you and hopefully, some day, people will understand:
we aren’t assholes. We’re just introverts.