I knew I was raising an extrovert when at 10 months he reached out, smiled and made eye contact with another passenger on a long cross country trip. He kept trying to get her attention by flirting, laughing and babbling baby talk to the passenger. He happily entertained the lady most of the trip. Thankfully she was a mom and was a good sport about it.
This behavior was foreign to me. As an introvert, I often avoid social situations or I would keep my gaze lowered in situations when I just don’t have the energy or desire to carry on a conversation with another human being. My husband is also a very quiet guy, so together we’d often shake our heads in wonderment on how we produced this loud, talkative and outgoing child.
Let me be real here, REALLY real — if you are an introvert, being a parent can be one of the most draining and exhaustive jobs you will ever have.
Babies and young children need continuous care and attention. There is very little time for an introverted parent to recharge by being alone. And being an introverted parent in a home with an extroverted child is downright exhausting.
By the time my poor husband would get home from work, my energy level had been totally depleted. Honestly, for years, I would literally lock myself in my room when my husband walked through the door, and I would come out just long enough to have dinner with my family. My husband was put in charge of the bedtime routine, and I went to bed early.
I knew that something had to change, but I was too tired to come up with a solution. So what’s an introverted parent to do? I thought long and hard and sat down and I came up with several ways for an introverted parent to find time to recharge.
6 Coping Strategies for Introverted Parents Raising Extroverted Children
1 Schedule Alone Time Every Day: Personally, the very best way for me to recharge is first thing in the morning before my kids get up. I get up 2 hours earlier than they do. For you, this might be at night or during your lunch break. The most important thing is being intentional about keeping this time for just yourself.
2 Have a Mandatory Quiet Time: If you are going to be with your kids for the entire day or afternoon, consider instituting a mandatory quiet time. Just one hour of alone time will make a huge difference for an introverted parent.I call this my special hour. Not because I get much done, but because I literally get my power and energy back by spending one whole hour alone.
3 Get Childcare: Consider finding yourself a babysitter to come over, even once a week, so you can have time to recharge. If cost is an issue, then find another parent to do a swap with you. You’d be helping each other out. You may also want to consider having your younger child go to daycare for a day or a few days
4 Consider a Career Shift: This one is much tougher and may require much more energy to put in place, but it will save you a lot of energy in the long run. You can meet clients 2 or 3 days a week instead of every day. You could condense things in 3 days and have 4 free days. There are many more alternatives you can try.
5 Have Intentional “Mommy and Me” Time: with your children each day. This “mommy and me” time is time to actively and intentionally interact and engage with your children by doing the things that they really like to do. Like arts and crafts, singing songs, building with blocks are just a few ideas and there are many more to choose from. Your extroverted kids will know they will get this one-to-one time with you, they won’t feel so attention-deprived and act out to get attention. They’ll be much more better behaved, and you’ll have more uninterrupted time to yourself. This is a win for all!
6 Give Yourself Grace: Finally, give yourself much grace. Being a parent is very hard work. Being an introverted parent is so very draining. Don’t be so hard on yourself when you just don’t feel like being with your kids. You are a good parent just as you are and you know you are doing your very best.
Thes 6 coping ideas have made such a huge difference in my life as an introverted parent. Recognizing that I have a need for alone time has reduced the guilt I used to feel for my craving time away from kids. Alone time makes me a better, happier, more involved and more intentional parent.