Are you an introvert, mama? Amanda and I certainly are – shocker, I know. But knowing that we’re both dealing with the same exhaustion by 5pm because of our little one, is kind of refreshing. In a solidarity type of way. I knew I couldn’t possibly be the only mama drained by 5pm because my little one, the light of my life, my mini-me in all ways but one, is… an extrovert. *GASP*
Sure, I’m making light of the situation, but it truly is exhausting raising an extrovert as an introvert! And if you’re in the same boat, then I’m sure you feel my pain.
Defining the Introvert Personality
When I say introvert, I just don’t mean “shy.” Just like I don’t think that extroversion is limited to an outgoing personality. These terms mean so much more.
Answer me this – how do you feel when you leave a party? Do you leave feeling energized by the company or exhausted by it?
Personally, I can’t comprehend how someone can leave a party feeling energized.
Introverts feel drained when they spend too much time with other people, and they recharge when they spend time alone. On the other hand, it drains extroverts to spend time alone, and they recharge when they’re in the company of others.
We’re all created differently, and that’s the beauty of life. However, it gets a little messy when you live with someone with different personality tendencies than you…
I was such a quiet, shy, keep-to-myself kind of kid. I didn’t make much noise, and I wasn’t very high-maintenance. I did go through my question phase, but what kid doesn’t?? We all want to know how the world works!
But I definitely, positively have an introvert personality.
My corporate job supports our sales team, and when I attend sales conferences, it takes me days to recover. Having to be “on” for long days, multiple days in a row – what a nightmare! My mind needs a full day alone to recharge from too much people time. It’s not that I’m not friendly; it’s not that I don’t like people. And it’s definitely not that I don’t drink enough coffee.
People exhaust me. My kiddo exhausts me.
She’s SO outgoing, so talkative, so vibrant – I can’t keep up! She’s a ball of energy, full of questions about the world she lives in, eager to play games and interact in some way, and always wanting to cuddle if we’re watching a movie or reading a book.
Now don’t get me wrong – I absolutely LOVE hanging out with K. But when we spend all day together without any independent play, I end the day utterly drained. I definitely have an introvert personality, and K definitely does not.
Raising an extrovert as an introvert is taxing, so it’s imperative to find ways to mitigate the extrovert tendencies. I won’t say that I’ve mastered this yet because I still have my days where I’m out of energy and have to tag hubby in at 5, but I have at least developed a few tips to ease the pain.
How to Redirect Extroverted Energy
#1. Go to an open play place.
At an open play place, your child can play with other children but you can relax on the sidelines (and not have to meet new mommies). We frequent a few different local joints that can do the trick!
#2. Invite one of your child’s friends over for a play date.
Play dates are perfect for letting her use that energy on someone else for a few hours. We have play dates after school at least once a month, and K thinks I’m so cool. Don’t tell her my evil plan!
#3. Nonfiction books.
If your child is the one that asks a million questions, I suggest getting nonfiction books (there’s an amazing collection here) or allowing limited screen time to watch an informational show. K loves “How It’s Made” and “Brain Games.”
#4. Tour local facilities.
Also for a question asker: Take a tour of a local facility (water plant, fire station, police station). The tour guide will be focusing all of his energy on your little one, so you have time to sit back and relax. Plus, it’s educational! Win-win, Mama.
#5. Get your child a pen pal!
Even before K could write, she was sending hand-drawn photos to a friend in Philadelphia. She can write complete letters now, so why not let her use some of that extroverted energy on a friend for a little while? Pro tip: make it last a little longer by getting your stamp sets/markers out and have your little draw her own stationery to send the letter on before she starts writing the actual letter.
#6. Sing with your little!
Throwing a dance party has worked for me and Amanda in the past, too. K loves music, and it helps her to feel like she’s socializing. It obviously exhausts me, but it’s way better than having to socialize with a lot of other nannies or parents (aka: strangers).
Here’s a visual example for you. I ran across this on Instagram and thought it summed up perfectly how awkward introverts like us can be when we actually socialize with other parents because it’s so uncomfortable and unnatural for us:
In addition to the strategies above, you should also make sure to let your child have alone time. It will strengthen her creativity and imagination and will lessen her dependency on her parents. It will also help her build her own personality. Creating her own stories with her dolls, imagining his own battle with his army men, or getting lost in a faraway land from a book, will all help your little one develop. It’s not necessary for us to be there every second.
We understand your struggle, Mama, and we truly believe that finding other outlets for your little’s extroverted energy will really help save yourself from daily exhaustion.
Keep us posted on how it goes – let us know what works for you in the comments below!