Marzi, otherwise known as Introvert Doodles, is our newest contributor! Watch this space for more illustrated tips for you and the introverted littles in your life.
Q: “I’m an introverted mother of three kids, ages 2-10. I love my children but often feel drained from the constant interaction. Help!”
A: As a mom of three myself, I get it! Parenting as an introvert can present its own challenges.
From one introverted mama to another, here are some suggestions for maintaining balance:
1) Wake up an hour earlier. This will allow you to begin the day slowly and quietly. Resist the impulse to fold the laundry or empty the dishwasher—there will be time for that later. Spend these moments in peaceful introspection, just soaking up the silence. (A muffin isn’t a bad idea either!)
2) Host a playdate. It may seem counterintuitive, but hosting a playdate might make your day less stressful. If your kids fall on the more extroverted end of the spectrum, it’s important to acknowledge that they need social interaction as much as you need alone time. Inviting friends over takes pressure off you as the kids will mostly entertain each other. Bonus: all of that playtime will wear your kids out, and they’ll be ready for some quiet time later!
3) Schedule independent quiet play. When my kids outgrew nap time, I felt flustered. They may not have needed to rest, but I certainly did! That’s when I began to schedule a daily hour of independent quiet play. I didn’t expect them to nap, but I did ask that they play quietly in their own rooms. This practice can help children learn to appreciate solitude and enjoy their own company, which is so important for raising creative and confident kids.
4) Catch a break. It doesn’t matter who you are—every parent needs a break sometimes. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. If you have a partner, parent, or babysitter who can lend a hand, that’s great! Or maybe another mom or dad can host a playdate. If you’re looking to steal a few more quiet moments during the day, see what child-friendly activities are available in your community.
5) Implement a consistent early bedtime routine. I can’t say enough about the beauty of a regular early bedtime. Not only is it good for kids, but it’s also a lifesaver for exhausted parents! Knowing you’ll be able to unwind when the clock strikes 8 makes the chaotic dinner/homework/bath time hours more manageable.
Please remember that taking a little time for yourself throughout the day isn’t selfish—it’s self-care. For an introvert, alone time isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. These small breaks will likely make you a more energetic and patient parent. And that’s a win-win for everybody!