As an introvert, I am comfortable being alone. After spending time with large groups of people, I need my time and space to recharge. Therefore, socialization takes concerted effort and strategic planning (i.e. what is a reasonable amount of time to make an appearance and slip out?). I’m one of those people who have a small circle of close friends rather than a vast network. My connections may be few, but they’re deep.
Being an introvert has brought its challenges in my life (I’m looking at you, speaking presentations), but I’m comfortable with who I am and have found a career that suits me (yep, a writer).
But one life choice that doesn’t quite gel with my introverted tendencies? Becoming a mother. On days when all I want is to come home and unwind alone, I know I need to get out and remember that I’m not on this motherhood journey alone.
When you’re in the throes of parenting, it is so easy to become self-absorbed and believe no one else has experienced the difficulties or issues you are going through. The sleepless nights of a fussy baby and stubborn pre-schooler. The mad rush to get everyone out the door in the morning. The dream of sitting down after the kids are asleep to catch up on a book, only to fall asleep within five minutes of cracking it open. How you question nearly every parenting decision you make and constantly believe you are failing your kids in some way.
But you’re not alone. Not even close.
While it can be helpful to scour the internet for articles such as this, or join a Facebook group of like-minded mommas, there’s another way to soothe your mommy soul: get out and socialize. Now, this goes against The Introvert’s Code. It’s everything we typically try to avoid. But what I’ve learned is that there is no way to be a mom and keep my sanity without conversing with my fellow mothers.
After a particularly difficult week of both kids being sick and not sleeping, on top of my 3-year-old going through typical rebelliousness for his age, I felt incredibly defeated. I wallowed in my self-pity, thinking no one can be as worn down as I was.
But you know what? I got out of the house and went to talk to a couple of friends, and surprise, surprise, found out they were going through THE EXACT SAME THING. Just hearing their similar struggles took an immense amount of weight off my shoulders.
I practically ran home to my husband, excitedly telling him that “So and So” was going through the same thing. Spending time with fellow moms and hearing the exhaustion in their voices reassured me that I’m not in it alone. I’m doing OK at this mom thing and whenever I start to doubt myself, I just need to reach out and make that connection.
So the next time you feel like you are stranded on your own little isle of chaos, I encourage you to reach out to a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, or a fellow daycare parent because I can guarantee you that they are just as eager to exchange stories and find comfort in a mutual connection. At the end of the day, we are a band of mothers, and we have each other’s backs.