Confessions of An Introvert Mom

I am the introverted daughter of a librarian.  This means that I like books more than people.   (Not you, of course. Just everyone else.)

 

jbwan via Flickr Creative Commons

Being introverted also means that I require a lot of time to myself to recharge.  A lot of time.  If you are thinking that this is likely incompatible with an infant, you are correct (see why I still prefer you to books?).  In fact, it seems like I require even more time than I did before Rex was born which is probably a direct proportional response to the amount of time that Rex deserves and requires.

Because Rex, being human and all, is a person who requires heavy interaction and entertainment, two things that easily drain my battery faster than your average person to person contact.  I’ve never been good at entertaining someone else for long periods of time – even adults! So, entertaining a baby for long stretches has been really hard for me.  Rex, bless his heart, is becoming every day more and more of a joy to entertain, though.  No adults I know give me such huge smiles or giggle at the simple things like he does.  Granted, very few would also probably let me tickle them.

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I can always tell when I haven’t had enough me time.  I begin to get cranky, even with Mr. X’s company.  I feel physically and emotionally exhausted and want just to go somewhere quiet for a while to be alone.  Of course, with a baby, that’s not always feasible.  I refuse to short Rex time with me because of my need for ‘me-time’ but negotiating away me time is also not an option.  The solution?

I take it where I can find it.  This has meant getting creative about fitting it into my day, especially since I’m still working to pay for those diapers and the SimiCrack (not to mention socking away cash for the ballooning college education expenses).

I’ve become more disciplined about how I spend the time that I do have allocated.  Gone are the days of aimlessly surfing the net.  I read, sew or (gasp!) work on my book (aren’t we all?).  If I find that I’m feeling particularly drained in a day and don’t have any long stretch available in the near term, I will take a quickie 5 minute break and read a trashy novel.  Works like a charm every time.

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I’ve also allowed Mr. X to help me.  Yes, you read that right.  I’ve come to realize that more often than not, I was not letting him help mainly because it was so much easier for me to do whatever it was that needed to be done.  The down side of this, of course, is that I was doing everything.  Stuff was getting done, but I was slowly losing my mind because let’s face it, folding the laundry, while productive and useful, is not a substitute for recharging time.  I realized that it was ok to let the clean laundry sit around until Mr. X got around to putting it away.  The world would not end, and it turns out that his schedule is not terribly later than mine.  So, rather than spend that time folding laundry or any number of things that need to be done but not right at this very moment, I will take that time to peruse a magazine, or play with the dog, or just be.

I’ve been able to squirrel away enough me time for now so that I feel normal again.  I’ve also recognized that I need me time like diabetics need insulin.  It’s what makes me work, makes me be able to take the daily onslaught with a modicum of grace and humor.  I also know that I can always find five minutes and I’m allowed to take them, if I need them, to recharge.

9 thoughts on “Confessions of An Introvert Mom

  1. I have to admit that I often fill that me time (while the kid is sleeping) to do laundry, answer emails, make food, wash the floor, tidy up, make phone calls, and before I know it, he’s up and I’m out of “me” time. And when he goes to bed, I’m too exhausted to do much of anything else. I gotta find a better way……

  2. i feel like i could have written this post. im glad you are finding some time for yourself. lately, my treat is to take a looong hot shower after bird goes to bed and read at least one chapter in my book. i get so excited for that quiet, me time!!

  3. Don’t be afraid of babysitters either; I seem to know too many parents that won’t consider letting a family member care for their little one so they can get some time either together or just for themselves. It takes guts in this culture to claim time for yourself if you are a mother, so good for you!

  4. I’m not looking forward to when my little one stops taking hour+ naps between feedings for exactly this reason.

    Though, sometimes I wish I was more disciplined to accomplish even a couple of the things deathstar44 mentioned since they don’t get done or only get half-done; and the house is a mess with a week til Christmas and family coming in Thursday morning. Augh!

  5. This is really, really important. Perhaps the most important thing for a mother to think about. It’s been the hardest thing for me to figure out, given that I work from home (read: have the worst of all possible housewife/working woman worlds in some ways) and am primary babywrangler (just barely started getting regular help, due to finances). I love my guy, but damn. I get so insane without ca 30 minutes a day alone, babyfree.

    So, way to go. Sounds like you have the solution. What activity proves the most restorative?

  6. Super important post! I get absolutely vicious if I haven’t had my quota of me time, but (as you definitely know) there are often not enough hours in the day. This morning when Squeaker woke at 5:30am, I put him in bed with the Mister and went running in the dark. And all the other runners I saw out there? Women, every one of ’em.

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