Being a parent is a tough job. We are responsible for little people and their well-being. It’s amazing when you think about it. Amazing how we can push ourselves to function when we shouldn’t be functional at all. Right?
If you’re an introvert, it changes the game quite a bit. Being an introvert parent can take exhaustion to a whole new level.
Yeah! Most people will classify an introvert as someone who is quiet, shy or even rude at times. That’s not the case. An introvert is someone who takes in more of their environment than others. Since their input is greater, they run out of energy faster. An introvert needs quiet time to process this input and “recharge”. Additionally, an introvert has higher brain activity, leading to limited input. Skipping a concert or a party? That’s just a choice an introvert will make to limit input.
An Introvert Parent
Now that you know what an introvert is, add being a parent to kids who provide constant input. It’s a recipe for anxiety, which is common among introvert parents. As a parent, we rarely get the choice to “turn off” our kids, or decide “No, I don’t want to socialize right now”. With less quiet environments for a parent to seek refuge in, it gives a new meaning to the word chaotic. What we’re doing throughout the day, is stress on the inside as we try to find quiet time to digest everything we’ve taken in.
Don’t worry. I’ve got your back!
5 Tips for an Introvert Parent
Make “Me Time” A Priority
We know that finding time for ourselves as an introvert parent can leave us feeling guilty. Truth be told, we question taking an hour to watch NCIS when we could be making lunches. You need this time! You need time for yourself. You need to be able to decompress, take the information you received thus far, and process it in a quiet environment, where you can look inward. Maybe it’s during your lunch at work, or getting up earlier in the morning. For me, it’s staying up a bit later to get that quiet time. Find it during your day. If you’re lucky, you’ll find multiple 15-30 minute times to take a moment and recharge.
Set a Consistent Bedtime
Last year, I wrote about parenting consistency. It’s the gold star all parents aim for. At least I do. To be consistent enough that a rhythm begins, that’s a happy place! There is more to being consistent, especially around bedtime than just consistency for your kids; it’s for you too! Imagine if your kids went to bed by 9 pm every night as planned. Even if you had an early morning and went to bed at 10 pm, there is still time for an introvert parent to recharge.
Find An Outlet
As an introvert parent, we don’t have many outlets available to us. If you’re a single parent, it’s much less, but not non-existent. You don’t need to be able to have hours or days without your kids to find an outlet that helps you recharge. Write. Writing is a great outlet, and I find it to be a dual-powered task! First, you’ll be able to get the things on your mind from the day out. Second, while doing that, you’ll be able to not just acknowledge the information, but also elaborate on it. Try it sometime. You’ll be surprised how you can go from “Man, today child #1 just would not stop talking” to getting other things like work or your relationship down in what you write. (If you call your first-born Number One as a tribute to Star Trek: The Next Generation, I salute you for making it so)
Separate Arguing Kids
Have more than one kid in the house? The arguing and bickering level escalates by one hundred per additional child. It’s a fact! I can’t count how many times I’ve had to raise my voice at the ridiculous arguing between two of the kids in the house, just because I was going insane hearing it. I’m sure you can’t either. Instead of raising your voice or losing it on all parties involved, separate them. Don’t question if you should be just “dealing with it”, or that they are just kids and they should learn to argue and resolve differences. Just separate them. There are other ways to work on sibling relationships, but what we’re talking about here is our own insanity as an introvert parent. The goal? Stop the arguing because it’s too much input and it’s causing a hurricane in our head. It’s difficult, I won’t lie. As introverts, we process more information than others, which means we’re often logical thinkers. So, we want to join the argument and try to explain why it doesn’t make sense. Maybe that’s just me, but I know there are others out there who get the same urge. Separate them. It works.
Get Some Headphones
This, is by far, my favorite. Not all parents can do this, but if you can, I recommend it. Get a pair of headphones and put on some music or an audiobook, and take a moment. With all of my kids being over six, I’m able to throw my headphones on and turn some music on when I fold laundry or do dishes. It allows me to escape from the noise and recharge. I grew up on music, and credit it as something that has always been there for me. So not only can I recharge with it, but it’s my favorite happy place.
Being an introvert is awesome and I will forever be grateful when I found out there was an actual word for the type of person I am. As parents, we have to find ways to integrate being an introvert into our lives, so we can maintain balance. Think you may be an introvert or interested more in your personality type? I cannot recommend taking the Myers Briggs personality test enough. I was so relieved when I found that I was an INFJ. The test is $49.95 plus tax, however, it’s worth it in every way.