Growing up, I had no clue that I was an introvert. Somehow, I had this perception that introverted people were shy bookworms who stayed home all day, every day. Essentially, in my mind, they were boring. I was not boring. I didn’t like to read. (Note I said didn’t). I was very involved in sports, school, and church activities. That all being said, I have never had large circles of friends. I don’t enjoy crowded parties or making small talk with people I don’t know and may never see again. I crave routine and downtime.
I truly consider myself an outgoing introvert, in that I have a certain capacity for social interaction before I need to retreat and recharge. Being a working mom drains my tank pretty fast these days. Frankly, by the end of most days, I’d gladly sit with a book by myself, or, as I’m doing right now, sit on my porch and write.
If you are an extroverted mom, good for you! But before you dismiss me as the stuck-up or standoffish mom, who is sitting in her car during baseball practice, let me offer you some of my confessions as an introverted mom …
Sports and Other Extracurricular Activities
I have two kids who are at the age of All. The. Activities. I work five days a week. My husband’s schedule is ever changing, and he is gone a lot. If you see me at soccer practice, baseball practice, or dance class, I’m probably sitting in my car on my phone reading something or just mindlessly scrolling through social media. It’s not that I don’t care about what my child is doing, it’s because this is the first downtime that I’ve had all day, and I know that as soon as, insert whatever activity is over, we’ll be rushing home so I can make dinner, help with homework, and get ready to do it all over again tomorrow.
It is truly that I just don’t want to sit and chat about the weather or the annoyance of having said practice three days a week. I’m sorry, I don’t want to make small talk solely on the basis that we have children who are engaged in the same extracurricular activity. Which leads me to…
I hate birthday parties. If I make small talk with you at a sports practice, at least our kids are interested in the same things and there is a high probability that we will run into each other beyond this season. At a birthday party, the kids pretty much only share a class. The odds that I will ever see you or your child again are slim to none, and therefore it is a huge waste of uncomfortable small talk energy just to make it through a 2-hour birthday party.
I have never felt so much joy as the first time I dropped my son off at a party and there was no expectation for the parents to stay. And you want to know what I did? I went for a long run BY MYSELF and it was the most glorious 2 hours of my day. Exceptions to this feeling obviously include birthday parties of the children of my close friends or family.
PTA and Classroom Volunteering
I’m just going to put this out there real #sorrynotsorry style. I LOVE my kids. I don’t love yours. I’ll gladly whip up stop by the grocery store after work for cupcakes for a party or send craft supplies for a special day, but don’t ask me to volunteer my time. Hear me when I say that I am so SO thankful for you moms that do PTA every other Thursday, help out on Walk-a-Thon days, and are at every field trip giving the much needed help that our teachers need, but it’s just not for me.
This is where I say that I firmly believe that it takes all kinds of people to make the world go around.
I crave routine. It is an actual physiological need for me to have structure and routine in my life. I just cannot live spur of the moment or “fly by the seat of my pants.” Even if to my kids’ dismay, they have structure and routine.
I work out every morning. I meal plan for the week and only go grocery shopping, lord willing, once a week.
We eat our meals at the same time. Our kids go to bed at (roughly) the same time, and early. Yes, I said it. Obviously this doesn’t happen every single day (see above about activities), but if I can help it, they’re in bed early. This is a nonnegotiable with me. We’ll skip an event or not participate in something because I know how much sleep my kids need, and I know that I personally need that time in the evening for myself to decompress from the day.
Some may call that “mommy and daddy time,” and while that is very true, it is very much for me. When I’m in control of my days, I’m a better person, a better wife, and a better mom.
I promise, I’m not antisocial. I’m not stuck-up or a snob.
If we become real friends, you get the real me … just in a quiet setting with less people around. I’m always willing to help a friend in need or stay late to take care of one of my patients. I just have my limits. I only have so much to give each day.