Before I married my Patient Husband, I realized one day how much I live in quiet.
Left to my own devices, I seek out quiet and thrive in it. Writing, reading, thinking, and so on. That’s not to say I don’t turn on the music really loud sometimes or even just to have it on for background noise. But the quiet helps me retreat into my own head and do internal processing.
Yes, even on the subways. It’s a 95-decibel white noise and even shoulder-to-shoulder with 350 of my closest friends, there’s a solitude (or an isolation) that makes me a world unto myself. Yes, I loved high school in part because of the 80 minute subway ride in each direction, plus the walk on either end where I didn’t have to deal with anyone.
You could call me a misanthrope or an introvert. Either one. Sometimes both. I think around the time I was 12 I started telling people I hated humanity. Around the time I was 24, I decided maybe human beings weren’t all bad. Noisy, but some of them had redeeming qualities.
And then I had kids.
Holy toledo! There’s no way to prepare a quiet introvert for children. Extraverts seem to derive strength from being with other humans, recharging their batteries a little with each social interaction and immediately ready for more. This baffles me. I imagine extraverts take to parenting like a dolphin to the ocean, diving right into their children’s 24-hour-a-day neediness with a hungry desire for more time together.
Me? Sometimes, I wish I could put my entire family on pause so I could go sit in my room for half an hour and stare at the wall. Because introverts spend a little energy whenever they socially interact, and we recharge with time alone.
(For some reason, and I mean this in a completely loving way, I recharge with my Patient Husband as if I were alone. Not because he leaves me feeling alone or because he ignores me, since neither of those things is ever true, but because together we function as if we’re one person. So it’s kind of the blending of being together and being solitary, and it’s the perfect recharge balance.)
Lately, Kiddo#3 has been doing the typical five-year-old thing, where he talks for two hours straight. And it’s not just talking: he demands attention while he talks. About nonsense.
“Mommy? Mommy? Mommy graham crackers are brown and they’re my favorite and the baby likes to eat them too and when I was a baby I eated graham crackers and MOMMY MOMMY LOOK AT THIS it’s a graham cracker but it looks like a ROCKET, and I’m going to eat my rocket now WATCH ME WATCH MOMMY I’m going to eat my rocket but now it looks like a duck where do ducks come from Mommy do you know because I think they come from the pond but you can buy them at the grocery store too just like the lobsters MOMMY MOMMY ANSWER ME can we see the lobster tank the next time we go to the grocery store?”
After two hours of that, this introvert wants to go hide under the bed.
But I can’t because my Patient Husband is already hiding there. He gets all the good hiding spots. And the kids keep sliding aside the clothes hangers to find me in the back of the closet. Help.
i completely understand this! especially at the end of the day.
i’ve got an extreme opposite extrovert for a child, and no other kids around to send her to go off and interact with instead. i find myself dreaming of an “off” button lol
I like your defiition of intro/extrovert — how they recharge! I’m definitely an introvert, but sometimes get confused.
Fortunately, my son is an introvert. My daughter thinks she’s an extrovert, but we can see how it drains her rather than recharging her. With any luck, she’ll figure it out before we go insane.
Recharging with your husband as if you were alone. You two are a good match! We’re the same, and it’s wonderful. (Hint: Put boxes labelled “My stuff” just under the edge of the bed. Make noises about needing more storage area, because under the bed is totally filled. Then you have a secret fort just for you.)
Cricket, if you ever want to hide something in my house where NO ONE will ever look at it again, put it in a big box and mark it “paperwork to be sorted”. It’ll be safer than if you put it in Fort Knox.
BRD, Kiddo#3 seems to be an extrovert, and it’s amazing how he has this boundless energy for connecting with people. Long after I want to hide my head in the couch cushions, he’s well fired-up and ready to socialize.
Just finished my exercise class, and I realized: The classes I stick with, for years (as opposed to not finishing the session) are small, with quiet music, and, although we sweat, it’s not frantic. They’re internal arts rather than mastering a dance step. Instructors and students are friendly, outgoing, but like quiet to recharge.
I come out of them tired but calm rather than frazzled and out of breath.
Thanks for opening the door to the insight!
I hear you about the paperwork box! (Goal today: One hour on in basket and bookkeeping. Wish me luck!)
Just took the Myers-Brigg test to see if I’m an Introvert or Extrovert. I have to wait for Friday’s class to see what it says. I’m an Introvert at home, but an Extrovert at work….at least I think I am .
BTW….I’m sorry I made you talk in HS 😉
Ah! I just posted on one of the forums that my 6yo hums all.day.long.
I still don’t know if I’m an introvert or an extrovert, because I like both. Either one can recharge me.
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Oh yes, I remember those days. Both of my sons are grown now and the youngest is getting ready to leave for the air force. It may sound horrible, but as an introvert mom, I am soooooo ready for the empty nest. Even my vivid imagination is starting to return to me. It’s like my brain has been in survival mode for 19 years. Like all introverts, I dearly love my children. I also believe I raised them well and did not miss out on watching them grow and change. Having said that, let me add that once I survived the baby and toddler years things were much better. Those are the worst years because they need your constant 24-hour attention. Even the teen years were not as bad in my opinion.
Thank you for writing this. I specifically looked up “introvert moms” because I am truly an introvert and my two year old, well, is not. I just wanted to see how other introvert moms are dealing with motherhood because it can be taxing and stressful to say the least. I love my baby dearly but, I just need some quiet throughout the day. Like, I literally need it.