You guys. I am tired as a mother. And not just any mother, either. I am tired as an introvert mother. I know what you’re thinking. You think you’re so tired that your tired is tired, how dare I try to trump your tiredness based on my introversion but here’s the deal. The. Struggle. Is. Real. But before we continue, let’s clarify what I mean when I use the term introvert.
In simplest terms (because, exhaustion) an introvert is someone who recharges their batteries in peace – preferably alone or maybe with one friend who understands the true meaning of golden silence. On the other end of the scale, we have extroverts. They recharge their batteries by partaking in all the hustle and bustle. I imagine Extrovert Moms get together with their whole tribe all at once (*wince*) to gallivant and talk (and talk) and do all the people-ing things to reground themselves. Heck, I often wonder if they might even enjoy the mayhem of their own families more than introverts do.
As an introvert mom, however, I will probably decline your suggestion for a standing weekly play date. Also, I will more than most likely sit out the monthly moms night out, even though I enjoy being invited and love the tribe dearly. You see, all I have the energy to do is sit in my house, in silence and read a book or maybe write if I have enough brain cells left. The day to day of this season of life takes me past fatigue to almost complete debilitation – on a cellular level. We live in an extroverted world. Workplaces, schools, activities, etc. are all organized in an extroverted fashion. Throw a husband, three kids ages six and under, and a dog into the mix, and it’s near impossible for this introvert mama to ever fully recharge.
I share this with you because we are a misunderstood lot, us introverts. Many of us (myself included) are even able to fly under the radar. From work to social settings I can people with the best of them (thanks mom!), but boy does it require an introvert hibernation afterward. Only in the past ten years have I embraced my introversion, and my life is better for it. I have learned to respect and honor my boundaries, even though I know it looks different from the outside.
The message that we make time for the things we prioritize is said again and again, and each time it makes my tummy do a little flip-flop. That little twinge of guilt and self-doubt starts to creep in. Like somehow I am wrong for not making the time to reconnect with a childhood friend or attend an event (in person or online) that might be important to someone for whom I care. The truth is, I care about myself more. And finally, by my early 30’s I accept who I am – introversion and all, and hope that once this season is behind me, those who genuinely see me will still be there.
In honor of Maternal Mental Health Week and all my fellow Momin’ introverts, I say this; You are OK, Momma. It’s not possible to be everything to everyone. You are a great friend, sister, wife, and mother, and it’s OK to protect your energy. You’re allowed to say no to events, phone calls, and even texts when you feel taxed. Those that know you will respect your boundaries and be there for you when you’re ready. And this season will pass. All of the needing, talking and wanting. Touching and running. It will be behind you. You will rest. And you will be OK.