Self Care For An Introverted Mom

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As an introverted mom, it’s hard to find time for self care with kids. Not only do we struggle with the constant chaos of motherhood but also the need to disconnect from everything to recharge. Even going to the bathroom for a few moments of peace is met with knocks on the door or, in my case, watchful eyes. Sometimes I feel like I’m walking in a foggy tunnel of exhaustion where being a mother is all that matters.

Since becoming a mother, I’ve changed. I don’t mean in the “I’m a mother now so my kids are my life” kind of way. While this is true, the very core of who I am has been altered. In my younger days, I was very interested in natural healing, new age thinking, connecting with nature, reading fantasy novels (I even wrote a first draft of my own novel) and finding the joy in a single moment (my mantra was “in this moment I am happy”). Now, I’ve lost the desire and ability to enjoy many of the things I used to. Is this because of postpartum depression? Possibly. Is this because my marriage has been utterly shaken? Partially. Whatever the cause, there’s a part of me missing, an integral part of my soul that just can’t connect with the old me.

The very root of this change is because my needs as an introvert have taken a complete back seat to the needs of my family. If I get overwhelmed, I can’t just go read a book or take a hot bath for self care. Tiny hands and eyes will be there. Everywhere I go, everything I do is watched, commented on and just plain intruded upon. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mother. I wouldn’t change it for anything. But, being a mom is far more consuming than I ever thought possible.

Maybe some day when my kids are older and don’t need me as much (a bitter-sweet thought), I can discover a little more about who I was and who I am now. But every single day I find it harder to connect with the person I was before having kids. Maybe this is due to 3+ years of sleep deprivation. Maybe this is due to marital issues brought to the front as priorities change with kids. Maybe this is due to just getting older. Who knows?

When it comes to self care, I’ll be honest: I SUCK at it. I’ve never been good at taking care of myself. But throw in a couple of kids that need me to take care of them full time, and my ability to remember myself becomes almost non-existent.

And don’t forget I’m a wife. I also have a husband to support. By the time he gets home from work (he’s gone from 8am to 6-7pm), I am exhausted. But that ultimately doesn’t matter most nights, because there’s a relationship to maintain and another person who wants and needs to feel loved. So I get a little help with the kids, they go to sleep an hour later, and then I need to go into wife mode. We have maybe an hour a day where we aren’t actively parents (or working) before we need to go to sleep and start it all over again.

With a toddler in need of socializing to learn how to get along with other kids, I make sure to take him to play dates. As a socially awkward person, I find these to be very challenging though they are getting easier to handle. Since we moved in December, I lost my “tribe” due to travel distance competing with traffic and nap times. I’ve had to try to form new mom friends in the area all over again, something all introverts will understand is a huge undertaking.

I’ve also always been sensitive to noise, struggling in settings like bars with a constant hum of voices, music and clinking glasses. Now with the unending chatter, crying, tantrums, giggles, electric toys and screens, the need to disconnect has become an even greater need thats harder to fulfill.

When your child is screaming, you haven’t showered and you are buried in toys…

Without the ability or time to recharge, I’m quicker to anger, I put up with less “BS,” I have less patience (in general) and a lot of the time I am fighting not to cry by the end of the day. There are little moments when both the kids are sleeping or they are both occupied with toys that I can just sit and breath (or blog about all of this apparently).

Although it’s challenging for my husband, the weekends are the times when I can have a little more time to myself (though I always have the baby with me since I’m his food and he only naps on me currently). He desperately wants some family time when all I want to do is sit and relax for a change. It has caused (and I’m sure will continue to cause) issues in my marriage. Although he is also an introvert, he loves to do family outings on the two days a week it’s possible. However, I know these outings are generally a lot more work than we want them to be (my eldest is 3 and loves to run as far away from us as possible, and is a very opinionated “threenager” right now). But what is the “right” solution for squeezing in what I need? How do I get time when there is none?

My husband calls it weird and strange, but there is one thing I do that he just doesn’t understand: I take what I call laps. If my husband is home to watch the kids, I grab my purse and take a drive for about 10 minutes. Sometimes I’ll take a lap because there is a free moment when both kids are happy and distracted, a major tantrum from my son sent my nerve endings into overdrive, a fight with my husband happened or was on its way, or if I just want a moment in the quiet to myself. Disconnecting from the chaos is very hard for me in my desire to be a good mom and an active wife. So I physically move myself away for alone time. Just 10 minutes. It’s not a lot, but sometimes it’s enough to perk me up to handle it all a little more clear headed.

There are a few things I’m now doing that seem like no-brainers, but these help me remember I am a person not just a mom:

  • Get dressed like you are leaving the house every day: I used to wear my pjs all day. Getting dressed really makes you carry yourself different, like your day is full of possibilities.
  • Take a shower regularly: I am lucky that I don’t have oily skin and I can get by on one to two showers a week (unless I do something that makes me need a shower). Taking a shower more regularly makes me feel more human (even if little eyes are watching).
  • Remind yourself you are normal: there are tons of introverts out there that are moms. What you/we are feeling is not new, strange or weird. You can absolutely love your kids and being a mom and still feel overwhelmed and need to recharge.

But, all of this, the craziness, the lack of sleep, the hardship on my need for alone time, the challenges in my marriage. All of it. Worth it for my boys. They are the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. The finest possible outcome to my life. They bring wonder, magic, imagination and joy like I never thought possible. It’s. ALL. Worth it.

If you are an introverted mom like me, you understand the struggle: needing alone time but not being able to get it (especially in the middle of the day). Everybody has different ways they can recharge, and I hope you find your quiet time alone to do so. If you have any advice for your fellow introverted moms, please leave them in the comments.

15 thoughts on “Self Care For An Introverted Mom”

  1. Taking a shower and getting all the way dressed for the day make such a difference! Working on my blog gives me those moments of quiet that I need. When my husband gets home from work, a couple nights a week, I take my laptop and find a quiet spot at one of our local coffee shops. It’s fantastic!

  2. A beautiful and heartfelt post. I hear you Mama. I just returned to work after more than two years at home with my little ones. As an introvert myself I know how tough it is in the world of motherhood to take time for yourself. Relish the few moments of calm that you can sneak in at naptime or just before bed. And know that you’re not alone – there are so many of us mom introverts that experience much the same feelings.

  3. Self care is crucial for us mamas, and it’s the quickest thing we forget. I love the remind yourself you are normal. These are great and much needed tips

  4. Definitely empathize with the constant noise and chatter and talking being such an energy zapper! I am an introvert too and so desperately need quiet time too. I love my husband to death and he is wonderful but sometimes I pray he will travel a day orntwo for worknso I can have a moment to myself. Glad to know I am not alone!

    1. You are so not alone! I’ve had that thought, too. It makes me feel terrible, but it’s all out of desperation for alone time, not a need for our partners to be away from us.

  5. Sometimes being a mum it’s hard to remember that we are our own person too. After having our baby I remember feeling frustrated that my husband didn’t seem to realise how it completely changes a woman’s life, while he went back to work as normal I couldn’t even go to the toilet alone for 2 minutes anymore! Yet at the same time if it was the other way around I wouldn’t want to be going out to work and leaving my baby everyday so I guess I can’t have it everyway!

  6. Total introvert here. Being around other people for extended periods of time is completely exhausting for me. That includes my kids, lol. I’m a single mom and my kids are with me more or less 24/7 and at the end of the day, I just want to sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix or read ALONE. For now, my self-care time is the hour a day I work out in my bedroom. My kids know it’s my “me time” even though they still wander in most of the time to chat. 🙂

    1. That’s great you find an hour a day to workout (rather than watch Netflix…which I do all the time, lol). My goal in the near future is to pay more attention to my health and do a simple workout routine that’s more than just chasing the kids around.

  7. This is great! As an introverted mom, it can be so hard to get out and do something for yourself sometimes. I am a firm believer in getting dressed out of my pj’s every day as well! I get so much more done and feel much better about myself, especially as a SAHM.

    1. Funny enough, I’ve been a parent for almost 3.5 years, and I’m just now starting to make sure I’m dressed every day! It’s also hard when you are breastfeeding on a budget so only have 5 tops that really work!

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