I saw this graphic on Facebook and was immediately drawn to it for 3 reasons:
- I am an introvert
- It’s funny
- The baby yoga instructor at the library unofficially deemed my baby an introvert after seeing how reserved we were in class. What she said was, “it is sometimes a good idea for introverted babies to come early to give them time to adjust to the new environment“. What I heard was, INTROVERTED BABY. I found myself stuck on introverted babies, and couldn’t help but wonder if what she really meant was Introverted parents – like me.
Being an introvert is often a concern for me when it comes to networking and promoting myself for business purposes. I would much rather stay at home and partake in activities that involve me sitting on my rear, than I would mingle in a new environment and sing my own praises. But, it never occurred to me what being an introvert might mean for me as a parent, or how it might affect my child. Once that thought entered my mind, there was no going back. It had unleashed a fury of insecurities I didn’t know I had. For example:
“Oh lord, will my proclivity to spend time alone on my rear, rob my child of the social activity needed to avoid a life of involuntary solitude … on his rear?
In all fairness, thinking of myself as an extroverted parent would have yielded similar results. I probably would have thought something like:
Oh good lord! Will I cause my child to be loud and obnoxious? Or, too needy for attention?
I don’t think the baby yoga instructor meant anything critical by it. Any reasonable person would have heeded her advice and thought no more of it. But I am no reasonable person. There are days when no honest adjective or verbal description is safe from the deluge of self- defeat that runs amok in my mind. I must, therefore, prepare a line of defense.
Fortunately, there are other people who share my concerns about the challenges of being an introverted parent, namely no longer having sufficient time alone to recharge, and feeling guilty about hoping your little bundle of joy takes a nap for longer than 20 minutes. Knowing that I am not alone in this helps, but there’s more. There are actually benefits to being an introverted parent. I read an article on Quiet Revolution in which the author, Kristen Howerton, lists 6 benefits of being an introverted parent. I may have stumbled upon a spec of gold for my parenting woes, here. Howerton describes herself as an over-thinker, and I don’t know how to possibly describe how much I can relate to being an over thinker! I’ve always frowned upon being an over thinker because it gobbles up so much of my – what would otherwise be productive – time. As it turns out, overthinking can be a BENEFIT when it comes to parenting. Howerton says it actually helps her stay in tune with her kids. She is more equipped to read her kids’ emotions and see beyond their words, and is less likely to accept brush off statements from them, like, “I’m fine” when they’re not. This doesn’t apply to me quite yet. My kid is only 3 months old and unable to produce brush off statements. But, he is able to babble, coo and cry; and that is enough material for me to over-think and stay in tune with for decades.
P.S. If you are an introvert and you’ve ever felt insecure about it, Quiet Revolution is a great piece of ammo to have in your stash of weapons against introvert insecurity.