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I recently made a discovery which has changed my life in many different areas… I am an introvert.

While I started to realize this several years ago, it wasn’t until recently that the reality of what this means sunk in. I was talking to my husband (a noted extrovert) and I was having a “bad day” as a mama… I was tired of the noise, trying to keep my sanity in check. Suddenly I turned to my husband and said “some days I feel like such a bad mom but I just want time alone- just quiet- just me! I know that is selfish of me, but I am just so overwhelmed!”

He had been telling me how a guy at work mentioned how much of an extrovert he is and I laughed because I am the opposite. On the weekends, my husband is excited to hang out with others and go for a drive to visit. Me? Give me a cuddly blanket, a book, and a cup of tea. If I can stay in bed all day, PERFECT!

Granted, that doesn’t happen often as an introvert, but it is my ideal!

As the reality of being an introvert started to sink in, I decided that I needed to make some changes in order to better handle the stress that comes from being constantly in Momma mode. Here are 5 things that I have started applying to my life and have found helpful.

Take Quiet Time Seriously.

You read that right! While we had “quiet time” as part of our daily routine, it wasn’t always quiet… I had been using that time for working out, or spending one on one time with children… but that just kept draining me further. Since my realization, we have put into affect a true QUIET time. The older children have books and quiet activities that they can do on their beds or at the table- WITHOUT chitter chatter. The younger children take naps. And mama? Well, I usually take this time to journal, read, blog or take a nap myself! I try to not get carried away with planning, scheduling, or cleaning- because the point of quiet time is to recharge a bit before the rest of the daily interaction. We set a timer and as long as it is going (and baby cooperates!) it is quiet time.

Communicate What I Need.

I also learned that I need to be open to communicating about my needs. Being an introvert means that in order to re-charge, I NEED quiet/alone/non-stimulation. When I start to feel overwhelmed or over stimulated, I am learning to communicate. If my husband is there, I may need to tell him that he is in charge for 5 minutes as I take a brief walk outside. If I am alone with the children, it may be telling them that Mama needs a minute alone, ensuring everyone is in a safe place, then going to the bathroom and shutting the door. Whatever works!

Find Ways to Recharge

It is hard to get alone for recharge time. Lately, I have been finding that time in grocery shopping. Now, I HATE shopping… but it has become the time where I can be alone in complete silence for the 7 minute drive to and from the store. Also it is a bonus when I can use self check out and completely avoid having someone talk to me or having to spend energy talking to them in return!

Another re-charge for me has been giving myself one morning on the week-end where I don’t have to rush to get up and fix breakfast. The children can come in and say good mornings and snuggle, but Daddy is home and he takes charge of breakfast while I cuddle the baby and doze back off. This gives me a little bit of a recharge boost and I feel much more energetic and ready to face the chaos!

Say “No” (Nicely)

I used to think that saying “yes” to everything was the right thing to do… Yes, we can come to that. Yes, I would be happy to help. Of course, yes, you can drop off your kids so you can run to the store.

While I still have a desire to help others, I am better learning my boundaries and when it is healthy to say “No” nicely. If I say yes and instantly have dread and regret, that may be helping someone else, but it isn’t helping my sanity, which then spills into MY family. I need to keep myself in a good space where I can bless and serve MY family first. So sometimes, hard as it is, I need to say “No”… and I am still not so great at this!

Forgive Myself

Lastly, I am learning to forgive myself. Being an introvert is hard in the culture we live in. For years, I have judged myself and felt guilty for not being “enough”. No more. I am learning, albeit slowly, to forgive myself and to be who I was designed to be.

While I don’t need to LOVE socializing, I do need to be polite. I don’t need to love noise, but I do need to put up with it at times with a good attitude. It is an on-going process, but I am learning to not criticize myself when I desire peace and quiet… or when I send my children outside to play and joyfully scream while I wash the dishes in silence… or when I put everyone to bed an hour early so I can take a hot shower and cry. It is all a part of the journey… and I should not judge myself for being different than other people!

Introvert Conclusion

Yes, I am an introvert! Over the past few weeks I have found that when I take quiet time seriously, communicate my needs, recharge, say no nicely, and forgive myself, I am a much happier and healthier person to be around. No, it isn’t easy… but it is a step in the right direction!

Introvert Mama Bear