Once upon a time, an introvert (me) married an extrovert (my husband). And they had babies (really cute ones). And the babies turned into toddlers.
While I was pregnant, I was warned about getting touched out. Excess physical contact from little ones wanting hugs or breastfeeding or co-sleeping or tapping on mom’s arm—constant physical contact—all day, every day.
Being on the reserved side as far as physical touch, I expected this to be a challenge. And I was surprised to find it didn’t bother me as much as I anticipated.
But what did overwhelm me? The talking and the noise.
I’m an introvert by nature. My single days were filled with solo hikes through Tennessee’s rolling green hills, afternoons sprawled on the couch reading fiction in the sunshine, or trips to Target while I leaned against a red shopping cart and sipped my caramel macchiato, contemplating which scented candle to purchase. I lived on my own, too—a one-bedroom was my solitary oasis after a long workday full of discussions and meetings.
I have no problem being alone and no issue with quiet. While some people long for the background noise of television or music while driving, my preference has always been to think in silence.
So, when babies and kids arrived on the scene with the chatter and constant questions and crying and verbalizing their every thought, needing spoken affirmation that, yes, I’ve heard for the fourth time that they want the yellow Play-Doh and a snack right now . . .
I realized it took about two seconds for me to feel talked out.
The kids are still little and most days I still feel overwhelmed from all the talking. I long to finish reading a chapter of my book without another interruption or write a note without answering 20 questions (What are you writing? Who is it for? Can I have a piece of paper? How do you spell dinosaur? Can you draw a motorcycle?) Even as I type this, one kid is “reading” books and telling me about every single picture while another kid is running around the other room yelling about snacks and asking to go outside to see Dad.
But then one of them comes over just to press a sloppy kiss to my cheek and say, “I wuv you.” Or another thrusts a chubby little hand in front of my work to bring me a bouquet of dandelions, telling me all about the pretty flowers in our yard. Or delight fills a face as they chatter excitedly about a new discovery they made about the world and how things fit together.
And suddenly the interruption and the noise don’t feel as annoying.
I take a deep breath and release the frustration, allowing myself to delight in my kids and this season of life and the relative newness of this wonderful world they’re discovering. I try to give my kids and myself more grace and allow myself to lean into the questions and constant chatter that comes with mothering tiny people.
I’m still talked out. But I’m learning to enjoy it.