It’s a statement I hear from almost all of my patients:
“I love my child, but the non-stop togetherness isn’t easy.”
The on-demand nature of having a new baby can feel overwhelming, exhausting, even suffocating for every mother.
And that’s without bringing the added challenge of being introverted — a reality that many new moms face.
You see, the introverted mom can face a deeper struggle with the reality of parenthood because her basic needs are contradictory to what’s expected of her. You know, like the expectation of happily spending every waking moment with a tiny human. And then, when you get that rare moment away, the expectation that you’re supposed to miss them the entire time.
(Again, NOT easy.)
Introverts, by definition, take in more information from their surroundings and require moments of solitude to process. They run into problems when they can’t get any peace to digest the influx of information, leaving them feeling sucked dry of energy 24/7.
But it’s not just the day-to-day activity that’s difficult for introverted moms. Instead, guilt is often the biggest struggle.
When an introverted mom feels like they need time away from their child to be their best selves, they may start to question their relevance and worth as a parent — feelings that can lead to a heightened risk of anxiety and depression.
So, does any of this sound familiar to you?
If so, you’re not alone. And keep in mind, being an introverted parent also has its benefits.
- Introverts absorb more information, so they may notice things that others miss (a child’s triggers, the tiny signals that indicate a switch in mood), which can be incredibly valuable when raising children.
- Parenting is about quality, not just quantity, and Introverts tend to pay more attention to the little moments, those simple times with their kids that mean the most.
- Introverts tend to be more aware of their own shortcomings, a trait that can lead to improved parenting skills and growth when used for good instead of beating oneself up.
But this doesn’t mean the day-to-day struggle isn’t real. To help,
I’ve put together my five expert tips for embracing your introversion to be the best parent you can be (and not giving yourself a hard time when you can’t).
1. Embrace structure — even when you can’t follow through.
Let’s face it; parenthood is a lesson in embracing the chaos. But it doesn’t have to be all crazy all the time. Even if things go off the rails (which they inevitably will), simply having a plan in mind at the start of your day can be less overwhelming than just flying by the seat of your pants.
2. Make time for alone time.
Whether it’s your partner, a trusted friend or family member, or hired help, invest in time for yourself. Have someone take your child out or drop them off somewhere so that you have time to be in your house alone. Be specific about how much time you need. This isn’t selfish; it’s self-care.
3. Find quiet in the little moments.
Whether it’s putting your children in the stroller/carrier and going for a walk with headphones in or parking in a parking lot and enjoying a few pages of your book while your baby sleeps in the car, create those quiet moments and make the most of them.
4. Don’t listen to all the “advice.”
Another typical characteristic of introverts? Avoiding confrontation. But if you’re presented with opposing viewpoints or “advice” about how to best raise your baby, you don’t have to take it all to heart. In fact, I’d argue you should ignore those comments most of the time. Simply work on a one-liner that tells someone you are aware of what they are suggesting, like ‘Thank you for the advice,’ and leave it at that.” Only you are the expert on your baby and yourself. Remember that.
5. Find your support person — and lean on them.
Introverts tend to be deep feelers who keep smaller social circles, which means they can often find themselves without close connections when going through a tough time. To help with this, identify someone you feel comfortable talking to and share how you’re feeling. For this, online communities or in-person support groups can be game-changers. Even reading stories from like-minded mommy bloggers can help you feel seen and less alone.
The biggest takeaway of all?
When you invest in yourself and give yourself the time you need to recharge your batteries, you’ll be a much better mom.
Take the time, even if it’s just a few minutes, to really think about what you need and what feels restorative to you, and how the people around you could help.
When you’re able to lean into your own needs, the guilt will start to melt away, and you’ll be able to rely on your introversion to enrich your family in profound, meaningful ways.