I never considered myself an introvert until recently. Before I had my baby I was a social butterfly. My social and professional calendars were full. It was legendary (in other words I still get teased about it by friends who have known me for a while). After I had a baby, I think I coasted for a while without it being an issue. The baby slept a lot and didn’t need quite as much interaction as he needs now as a toddler – so I got plenty of quiet/down/alone time. But in the past year I’ve noticed that as I have less and less of that quiet time to recharge that I’ve become much less interested in working in an office, less interested in saying yes to all of the social invitations that come our way and less interested in having my own social life after my son goes to bed. I’m drained. And the best thing for me is to quietly recharge my batteries at the end of the day.
I recently stumbled on this article: http://www.quietrev.com/surviving-as-an-introverted-mother/
In addition to the writer’s four tips, I’d add:
– Try trading childcare with another parent (bonus points if they are introverted, too. Then they will know you don’t want to chat for an hour at drop-off and pick-up). Everyone deserves a break so if you can either afford to hire a sitter or can find someone to swap with – it’s such a good investment.
– When it is time to reenter interacting with people, sit for five minutes and be really mindful that you are sitting there and giving yourself that transition time. Do some breathing exercises. So even if you feel like you are racing from thing to thing you at least get those few breaths to center yourself (Like sitting in the car 5 min before picking up your daughter from childcare).
– Try visualization and/or ”energy” work. May or may not sound a little out there to you, but I think it’s worth a try. This would be something like guided meditation.
– Can you get a sitter and check yourself into a hotel room one night through morning per month?
– Can you do some activities that don’t require so much talking/interaction with your child? For us, going to the beach or a nearby meadow is almost like alone time for me because I can sit and think and my toddler is nearby digging holes or collecting sticks.
– Sometimes a good stroller walk can calm things a bit.
Are there any other introverted single parents out there? How do you cope with it?
– Is there anything you are doing that you could cut out. Is perfectionism in work or in life adding to your feeling worn out? Are you volunteering too much to help others out or to attend play-dates that sap you of energy?
– Check out this book called The Ultimate Parenting Guide for Introverted Moms. http://amzn.to/1G7V9Tt
Are there any other introverted single parents out there? How do you cope?