As a stay at home mom, I struggle with being around my children all day, every day. It’s not because I don’t love them; it’s because I would struggle to be around any other person (or combination of people) for that amount of time. I am an introvert.
Not only that, I’m an extreme introvert. Like, whoah. I’d be perfectly content to not see another human being for a week.
Being an introvert and a stay-at-home mom is hard. It feels like I’m constantly looking for a break throughout the day, a little escape here, sneaking some reading in there, lingering in the laundry room or bathroom for an extra few minutes just for some solitude.
It’s not at all because I hate my children. The idea that a mother wanting a break from her children makes her a bad mother is a societal construct that was probably made by moms who just absolutely loved being around kids, and who couldn’t understand ever wanting to be out of her own children’s company.
For some mothers – and especially for extroverted mothers – spending time with others is not only enjoyable, but fueling. But for an introverted mother, being around her children all day is draining – not because she hates her children, but because she needs alone-time to recharge. That alone-time makes her a better mother in the long run – what, if anything, is hateful about that?
I’ve been seeing some great articles and discussions pop up recently, touching both on “mom-time” and on introverted moms. Here are a few of my favorites:
You are not a locust by Mama Knows, Honeychild:
Let me just say this. Dear moms of the world: you are not a locust.
You’re not supposed to go underground and hide from the entire world, putting yourself last to the point of not taking care of YOU until your kids reach adulthood.
That is absurd. That is a flawed message. And sorry, but that is not of God.
Life hacks for the introverted mom with a full house by Mama Needs Coffee
I don’t want to confuse the reader with the impression that I don’t love being a mom and that I don’t adore my kids, but parenting has brought with it a particularly steep learning curve in the “loss of personal space” category that never fails to confound me.
So it’s not that I don’t enjoy motherhood. It’s just that it hasn’t always come naturally for me, at least not the teaching and constant togetherness aspect of it.
On any given work day I generally crawl into the 5 o’clock hour feeling extremely touched out and like I have maaaaaybe 90 minutes of fuel left in the tank. So not quite enough to get to bedtime, but perhaps enough to throw some dinner together?
It was actually a tremendous relief to me once I discovered that much of this could be attributed to temperament (Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy talks a lot about temperaments and personality types) and that not all if it (some, mind you, but not all) was due to my crappy, limited capacity to give of myself.
Nourish Motherhood & taking time for ourselves by Caitlyn Buttaci, Michele Chronister, and myself (this is one of our recent podcasts!)
Suddenly it’s not being seen as a given that moms need time. If we need time for ourselves, it’s now being seen as taking time away from our children, instead of just being a given that we should have time…
We really do have to take time to recharge and to be a happy person. The old saying “If momma’s not happy, then no one’s happy” – that’s really true.
When is alone time too much time for your family? Alone time is for making you a better mother, not for shirking duties. When your family is suffering as a result of your schedule, it’s time to reassess. At the same time, when you are suffering, it’s also time to reassess. There will naturally be seasons of life when we cannot meet all of our needs, or all of our family’s needs, but it shouldn’t be the norm.
Yes, dad needs a break when he comes home from work. At the same time, fathers should have parenting duties, too. If dad is running around singing “everything is awesome!!” and mom is all “I’m dying over here!!”, well, then dad needs to help more. Even if that means there are times when it’s difficult for dad.
We’re in this together – it’s not our role in life as wives and mothers to make our children’s lives and our husband’s lives as easy as possible, or to be their life-long slave – far from that. It is our vocation to help each other – each other. The role of a wife isn’t to support every one else in her family until she wastes away – there are times and ways for her family to support her, as well. Without caring for ourselves, we would very quickly fade away, until we couldn’t be there for our children and husband. For some moms, taking some alone time, or investing that time in a hobby that doesn’t revolve solely around our children, is part of caring for ourselves.