Dear Caring Parent,
Does being an introvert or extrovert affect parenting? Well, it for sure affects your needs as a parent. I am an introvert parenting a child, who is really a young lady now, who had masses of kid friends and activities, not to mention ‘situations’ with which to deal. In other words, social bombardment for a parent who is an introvert.
By the way, if you aren’t familiar with introversion and extroversion, it all comes from Jungian thought moving into the Myers-Brigg personality assessment tools. Basically, introverts are energized by being with their thoughts and ideas whereas extroverts are energized by people and action. You can have a bit of both. For instance, I can be extroverted during the fact finding and brainstorming phases of problem solving. But am introverted on defining the problem and have to go into myself before making a decision. My extroverted phases tire me out a lot!
And I did just that in my early years as a parent. I drove myself pretty hard as a Mom in those early years, especially since I had made a commitment to having a home where kids could gather. There was always a lot going on; sleepovers, transportation to karate or dance classes, ferociously passionate play times, trips to the pool…you get the picture. It’s what a lot of us do!
And yet, I was wearing out. Because it wasn’t that my whole life was standing still while all this marvelous kid stuff went on. Nope, I moved through becoming unmarried, job changes, a layoff, more job changes, two national economic downturns….the stuff of adult life.
Somewhere around my daughters 10th year I started to realize I needed to take better care of myself. I was worn out and decided to start to focus on wellness. What a turn my life took! I started my journey into food as yummy nourishment (not just for weight loss), mind-body-spirit connection, and what makes a job work for me (get that play on words?)One of the things I’ve come to appreciate and honor more are my needs as an introvert. We introverts need more downtime to get refreshed. If you are introverted and highly sensitive, you need it even more to sift through all the stimulus of life including parenting. Introverts get their re-charge from within, unlike extroverts who re-charge by getting out. I realized I needed to:
- get good at sifting through what was my emotion vs others emotions; what I was carrying in my emotional field that really belonged to others.
- learn to just sit in quietness. Wow, does my battery recharge then!
- become okay with saying ,” can’t do that now” when I was on overload.
And I did! I learned all these things and more. In fact, I’m really good at sliding in to what I’ve come to call OM Moments. It’s made such an improvement in how much fun I have, how energized I am, and my clarity around parenting challenges. Plus, it’s had the side benefit of helping my introverted daughter to pace her life factoring in her introversion.
All this is not to say that extroverts don’t also need down time. It’s just a different kind of time needed. All parents need time to sift through life’s stimulus. Introverts and extroverts just simply do it differently.
So how about you? How does introversion or extroversion effect your parenting? And, if you are an introvert, what are you doing to meet your downtime needs?
Take care now, Natasha
p.s. If you want to improve your progress with moving into chill out time, sign on to my facebook group, OMG Parenting! One Minute Cave. It’s for moms in this fast paced world. We need intentional and expanded ideas on self care and reflection. I provide prompts for just that. Over time you will find yourself getting really good at accessing your own ‘reflection’ and ‘refresh’ strategies – I call them OM Moments.