Parenting as an introvert: my experience & how to cope

Parenting as an introvert: my experience & how to cope

I’ve never really thought that parenting as an introvert could be a struggle. After all, what does the baby care if you’re an introverted mom or a total extrovert? The answer to that is: the baby doesn’t care. But being an introverted parent comes with its challenges.

If you’re interested in my experience during my first year as an introverted mom, just keep on reading.

An introvert craves alone time, a baby doesn’t

As a parent, you cannot just retire whenever you need a break. And while all parents, not just introverts, need breaks, this can be especially hard for someone who is used to spending lots of time in their head.

Of course, you still get time to yourself. Sort of. When the baby’s sleeping, for example. But you’re not in charge of your alone time anymore, and that can be tough.

Here are a couple of tips to cope with that:

– Use a baby carrier or wrap when your baby is little. At least for one or two naps a day. They tend to fall asleep in there quite quickly. And while your baby is sleeping in the carrier, you get to read, watch a show, scroll through Instagram, and generally recharge a bit. You could just hold them, too, but that makes it difficult to do anything else while they’re napping.

– Try toy rotation when your baby gets bigger. Whenever I desperately need a break, I get some new and exciting toys (water bottles, the remote, an old landline phone, a box of tissues …) to give to my son. He loves it and usually plays independently for at least a couple of minutes. It isn’t much, but can help so much when you’re getting overwhelmed!

– Take a walk. Just put your baby in the stroller, give him a pacifier and some toys, and walk around the neighbourhood while you recollect your thoughts.

You have to talk. All. Day. Long.

Did you know that you’re supposed to talk to your baby all the time? I did, and yet it didn’t occur to me what that actually meant.

A baby doesn’t reply. You’re just narrating all you do 24/7. And it becomes exhausting.

This part does get easier with time since babies start to interact more with you and talking to them becomes a lot more fun. But it’s still hard.

I’m just looking forward to the time when my son will be able to speak to me. At least the conversations won’t be as one-sided then. But who knows if that’ll be that much easier! I heard that toddlers are difficult, too.

Here are some tips to avoid getting burnt out with talking as an introverted parent:

– Focus on playing with baby for 10 minutes, then take a break. I’ve read something like that on the raisinglittletalkers Instagram page and it helped so much! Being 100% present for 10 minutes at a time is a lot easier for an introvert than being 80% present all the time. And it allows for some quiet time, too.

– Put on some music. My son loves music, and it entertains him without me having to talk. Babies also love when you sing to them and apparently don’t care how bad you sound. Thankfully for me.

– Tell stories. After reading children’s books aloud 5356 times, you probably know them by heart. Especially the ones that rhyme. And I love telling my son these stories throughout the day, even without having the book on hand. It calms him when he’s fussy. It makes him laugh when I make funny voices. And I guess that he likes recognising familiar words because he smiles as soon as I start.

– Read books. Since we’re already on the subject of books: they are an introverted parent’s best friend. Just read instead of talking whenever your introverted brain needs a break. It’s fun, baby loves it, and it’s so easy!

You have to advocate for your baby

As an introvert, I hate confrontation. And when it comes to myself, I usually avoid it. But you can’t do that as an introverted parent.

Parenting as an introvert means that you have to get over your natural barrier and advocate for your baby. Whether it’s during a doctor’s appointment when you feel like something isn’t right. Or when your in-laws give you unsolicited advice and are ready to apply it right away.

The good news is: it does come naturally. At least for me. At least most of the time.

I still don’t seek confrontation, but I’ve gotten quite accustomed to saying ‘thank you, but I know my baby and that’s not right for us’. To asking our paediatrician millions of questions even though that might annoy him.

When you’re an introverted mom (or introverted dad, I guess), this part of your introverted personality simply gets buried under parental instinct. Again, for me at least. 

You miss social interaction but dread it at the same time

A big struggle I face when parenting as an introvert is my paradoxical relationship with social interaction.

On one hand, I miss talking to adults and I miss ‘normal’ topics. On the other hand, my introverted brain cannot handle even more social interaction that I already have with my baby.

At the end of the day, I’ve spent hours interacting with my son. I’ve spent naps working, or doing chores. And when the evening comes around, my introverted brain is fried. In desperate need of some time to wind down.

When someone then suggests that we do something social, I just can’t. I’m too tired. I need to be by myself before I go to bed and then do it all over again.

Yet at the same time, I desperately crave seeing friends, family members, and going places.

I believe that this is just a normal parenting dilemma in some way. Maybe even for extroverted parents. But here are some tips that might make the situation a little bit easier:

– Use calls to your advantage. I love calling people while I play with my baby. He likes hearing people talk while he plays. And I get to have a conversation while also exposing him to language. It’s a win-win! If you do this, just make sure that the people you call won’t get annoyed at baby interrupting the conversation. Because that will happen. Multiple times.

– Plan activities with friends AND your baby. Going out with friends and bringing your baby is great for two reasons. One: your friends get to bond with your little one while also spending time with you. And two: your baby is entertained by seeing different people and probably won’t get so fussy. My son is usually super calm whenever we’re around people, so I love doing that.

– Avoid sleep-overs if at all possible. I hate sleep-overs with a baby. Maybe it’s just us, but neither my partner, nor I, nor my son sleep very well when we’re not in our home. This means that sleep-overs usually turn into sleepless nights, a very fussy baby, a foggy brain, and just one thought: ‘I want to go home!’. And yet, we live so far away from all our friends and family that sleeping over is inevitable. But if you can, choose to sleep in your own bed. 

Parenting as an introvert: my experience & how to cope

Are you an introverted parent, too? Please let me know your experience with parenting as an introvert in the comments! And don’t forget to share this post on social media if you liked it. 🙂

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