Are you an introvert who needs your own space and time to recharge your batteries? Are you also a mom with small kids who keep you constantly busy and on the go? Do you find it difficult to balance it all? Read on to discover my five top tips for the introverted mom…
I am an introvert. It took me a while to realize why I felt so drained after being in social situations or around lots of people. I used to think I was weird, then I just realized I was an introvert.
Extroverts feel energised by spending time with others, but introverts are energised by silence and solitude.
I am an introvert, but I’m also a mom. I have two little girls and every other weekend I also have my step-kids to stay. We have a small house that fits the four of us fine. But filled with my step-kids it suddenly feels very busy and overwhelming.
I love the kids, but I didn’t handle the weekends very well – too much noise and movement and not enough space. It felt like an assault on my senses and I was totally drained by Sunday evening.
Being an introvert is so much easier when you don’t have loads of children. You can create your own space and time. You can be as selfish and choosy as necessary to preserve your sanity and your senses from overload.
But not when you’re a mom!
Over the years I have adapted to my needs as an introverted mom. Here are my five top tips to help you find space amidst the chaos.
1. Develop rhythms and routines to create free time
Carve out some extra time for yourself during the day. For example, make it a habit to set your alarm early so you can spend time doing what you want before the rest of the house wakes up. Having the right evening routine also makes a big difference.
You can then spend time for yourself or by yourself. Creating this extra time means you won’t feel guilty or selfish for having time for you when you should be spending time with the kids, your other half, working, or looking after the home.
2. Teach your children to be as self-sufficient as their age allows
Why spend time helping your children get dressed in the morning or showering in the evening if they are old enough and capable of doing it for themselves? It may take practice and perseverance, but it can create some extra minutes of space for you.
Of course, this is different for every family and depends very much on your own children and what you feel is appropriate for them. For example, teach your children to tidy up the toys and their bedroom before bedtime so you don’t have to spend time doing this yourself. It’s a great life skill to teach your kids and it will soon become second nature (with a reminder every now and then, of course!).
3. Don’t be afraid to take up offers of help
How many times have you declined an offer of help because you thought you should be able to do it on your own. Did you think it was a sign of weakness or not being a good mom? Think again.
If you run yourself ragged and end up being irritable or shouty with your kids, is that being a good mom? It’s better to take up an offer of help from someone you trust, even if it’s ten minutes. Just having time for a cup of tea sitting on the sofa, is better than nothing at all. Be kind to yourself.
4. Teach your children that mummy needs mummy time
After I’ve finally got my children into bed after dinner, bath, reading a book and quiet time, it’s normally about 8.30pm. After many weeks, if not months, of perseverance they now understand that the time after that is ‘mummy time’. Unless they are ill, or the world is about to end, they know that they need to stay in bed and go to sleep.
Yes, of course, it sounds too good to be true and they do still try an endless list of excuses. But, invariably, they get sent back to bed with a kiss, an ‘I love you’ and a reminder that this is mummy time. I can read, have a bath or dance around my bedroom. Whatever it is that makes me happy and brings me joy.
5. Set up your home so you can get some space
When my small house is full of children it’s very difficult to find a space for me. In the past I’ve resorted to locking myself in the bathroom or sitting in the car on my driveway! However, I soon realized that I am the adult, the glue that holds my home and my family together, so why on earth do I deserve to shut myself away in such ridiculous and uncomfortable places?
So, I made my bedroom my safe haven. The decor is calming, peaceful and I have everything in there that brings me happiness – my music, books and yoga mat.
Being a mom is a constant juggle. On top of that, being an introverted mom is a delicate balancing act and one that’s very easily tipped off balance.
Don’t be hard on yourself. Recognize when you need time and space and allow yourself to get it. You’ll be a better mom for it and you’ll be teaching your children how to care for themselves alongside caring for others.
My blog – ‘A Mum in Progress – helping mums find balance through simplicity’ – helps Mums find a way to do things differently, to learn that you can make your life simpler, more intentional and fulfilling by making small (and sometimes big) changes to your life to benefit you and your family.