Ah, spring - green shoots, swelling streams and family schedules bulging with soccer, T-ball and end-of-year field trips! It’s enough to make an introverted mom wish for winter’s return!
I had reason to think about this when author Susan Cain passed through our city on a tour promoting her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. In listening to her being interviewed and, subsequently, reading her book, I was inspired again to take stock of my own ‘introversion assets,’ particularly as they relate to my uniqueness as a mother. For myself and for all the moms with a preference for introversion, here’s an opportunity to consider and celebrate the gifts that your introversion brings to your children and your experience of family life.
Introversion and extraversion are traits of temperament or personality that refer to where we like to put our attention and how we get energy for life. Those of us more inclined toward introversion typically rely on our interior life to restore us. We value solitude, rest and reflection as means to topping up our reserves and more deeply engaging with life. We tend to process events and ideas internally.
Although we can and do enjoy having things to do, places to go and people to see, we also need a healthy fix of alone time to truly be at our best. It can be particularly challenging for introverted moms to honor this need given the realities of life with children and our culture’s tendency to equate activity with productivity. Family life on a daily basis calls for us to be interacting with many others as well as our children, and to be contending with an endless list of related tasks. Then there is the guilt that arises from our tendency to compare ourselves with a more active mom and family. We may volunteer less often. We might not sign our child up for quite so many extracurricular activities. We just may say ‘enough’ a little sooner than most. At times, we might wonder if we or our child are missing out on something important. This is the time to claim the gifts of your introversion and to celebrate your unique style of mothering.
Our introversion allows us to offer space for thought and rest to others as well. We can readily respect that our child needs time to be alone. In fact, we are especially good at pacing our days and developing rhythms that support our families. We know the value of saying ‘no’ to too many activities, and we are able to readily sort out the necessary from the superfluous. Our children come to rely on us for our composure and for our consistent presence in their lives. They also benefit from our tendency to go deeper in understanding them.
Here are a few tips to support the introverted mother, adapted from Janet P. Penley’s book Motherstyles, to help us make the most of our introverted assets. They include:
Introvert or extravert, knowing and valuing our unique style of mothering only adds to our store of mothering wisdom and allows us to discover and bring our best to everything and everyone, in our families and in the world.
Dulcie Gretton, M.Ed., from Renewed Parent Coaching, is a PCI Certified Parent Coach® and a Simplicity Parenting Group Leader©. She supports parents in realizing their best parenting intentions. For more information, visit www.renewedparent.ca.
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