Are you an introvert or an extrovert ? I never knew what that was until I took a psychology course in college. That's when a little light went off in my head and I came to the realization that not only was I shy, but I also needed time by myself in order to feel rejuvenated and rested. Once I got married, it became even more apparent that I needed my own space and just time to myself.
My husband is an extroverted introvert. He can talk to strangers on the train or store and chat with them about anything, but he likes his time alone/quiet time to recharge. I, on the other hand, am a bit more shy. Sometimes I feel awkward in new surroundings and with people I don’t know, but I am better at adapting now that I am older and don't feel like an awkward penguin in the corner of the room.
Since introverts get their energy from spending time alone, what’s a introverted, married, stay-at-home-mom of a toddler supposed to do? I love my daughter. I love being a mom but we are together all day and I’m tending to her needs. When she was younger, it was physically harder (lack of sleep, breastfeeding, feeing tired) but now that she is a toddler, I find it to be more emotionally and mentally challenging. It’s my joy and privilege to do what I can for her, but by the end of the day I am beat from taking her on playdates, entertaining her, and just taking care of her. These are some things that have helped me find balance with taking care of her needs as well as my own.
- I find time for myself. I’m very lucky in that my daughter is a good sleeper. She sleeps in late so on the days when I wake up early, I have time to myself in the morning. Honestly though, that doesn't happen very often because I am not a morning person. I usually spend time to myself after everyone has gone to bed and sleep in.
- I say no. I have some friends who are definitely extroverts and after they put their kids to bed, they go out all the time or are on the phone talking to friends. There are times when I will go out after A has gone to bed, but for the most part I don’t because I’d rather stay home and relax. I know that it will make me a better mom the next day if I’ve had some down time to recharge and rest. I don’t have any qualms about saying no to GNO or MNO because I know myself and what my needs are. Sometimes I just need to stay home and play Candy Crush for a little while to unwind. Sometimes I also just can’t talk on the phone or text all night long because I need to decompress.
- Banish mom-guilt. There are some days when I feel especially drained so I will let A watch TV or use the iPad and I’m ok with it. I know there are numerous articles about technology and young kids, but there are times when you have to do what you have to do in order to survive that day. I’m not going to beat myself over it. Being a mom is hard enough without feeling guilty about your parenting choices unless those choices are neglectful or dangerous.
If I don’t take care of myself, then I can’t be an effective mother or wife. I know these things about myself so I’m more intentional in what I do. It doesn’t mean I’m not a social person, but I know my limits.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What helps you find balance?