Dear Caring Parent,
Does being an introvert or extrovert affect parenting? Well, it for sure affects your needs as a parent. I am an introverted parent. We had masses of kid friends and activities, not to mention ‘situations’ with which to deal when my daughter was young. In other words, social bombardment. Not great 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-Briggs personality assessment tools. Basically, introverts are energized by 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. Socially, I am introverted, preferring small groups in small doses of time. My extroverted phases tire me out a lot!
Exhaustion Sets In
Tire myself out is just what I did in my early years as a parent. I drove myself pretty hard as a Mom. I had made a commitment to having a home where kids could gather, so a lot was always 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!
I loved the laughter, the talks, the explorations, the maneuvering through developmental stages and getting to participate in everyone’s maturing. And yet, I was wearing out. It wasn’t like my non-Mom life was standing still while all this marvelous kid stuff went on. I moved through becoming unmarried, job changes, a layoff, more job changes, two national economic downturns….the stuff of adult life.
Out of Exhaustion, Into the Musts of Introverts
Somewhere around my daughters 10th year I started to realize I needed to take better care of myself. I decided to start to focus on wellness. What a turn my life took! One of the things I soon came to appreciate and honor is my needs, even as a Mom, because I am an introvert. We introverts need more down time to get refreshed. And if you are introverted and highly sensitive like me, you need even more down time. Introverts get their re-charge from within. Extroverts re-charge by getting out. I learned that I needed to:
- get good at sifting through what was my emotion vs others emotions- noticing what I was carrying in my emotional field that really belonged to others.
- learn to just sit in quietness. Wow, did my battery recharge then! Whatever girl group was over, they learned to recognize “Mom needs a half hour.”
- become okay with saying , “can’t do that now” because I was on overload. Parents are asked to do a lot within the home AND outside of the home. It’s a must that introverted parents learn the art of saying ‘no’.
And I did! I learned all these things and more. I became really good at sliding into what I’ve come to call OM Moments. It made such an improvement in how much fun I had, how energized I was, and my clarity around parenting challenges. Plus, it’s had the side benefit of helping my introverted daughter 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 in to chill out time, sign on and you’ll keep hearing about ways to do just that.