introverted-parentingI can tell it’s the end of August because I’ve been eyeing the space under my bed, wondering if I could fit under there to hide from the kids. Just for a few minutes–that’s all I need. A few minutes of quiet.

Have you seen all the information going around about introverts lately? Just this week I’ve found all kinds of good posts about my people. (I’ve included links for them all at the bottom.) It has me thinking about the challenges of being an introvert and a parent, which is a challenging combination.

First of all, as a point of reference–introverts are those people who need a lot of time to themselves to refuel emotionally and mentally. (Extroverts, of course, gain more energy and life the more they are with other people.) The challenge for an introverted parent is that children don’t naturally give us a lot of space. We never get that chance to refuel.

Just last night at dinner I had one kid squashed up against me in the middle of the prayer and then 57 requests for something or other during the meal. It makes me jumpy and cranky. Multiply that times 70 days of summer so far, then add in all the wonderful-but-draining social events we’ve had, and you can probably hear my brain buzzing. Seriously, there’s a circuit somewhere in my skull that is kicking up an alarming sizzle. I fear for my mental health in the 12 days before school starts.

It gets even trickier when an introverted parent is raising an extroverted child. Our daughter is the extrovert. She loves to be with people, and she loves to be in constant contact with those people. So, it’s not enough to be in the same room together. She has to be talking with them and playing with them and sleeping right next to them. (As she gets older this is easing up some, mercifully. But the tendency is still there.)

A few weeks ago I blogged about how Audrey was at camp and Caleb and I were hanging out at home. I was enjoying the lack of chaos that comes with only one kid. It occurs to me now that Caleb is also an introvert, so we hang out in the same room and that’s good enough for us. I have a book, he has a fleet of tiny metal cars, and we each do our thing. I might look up after an hour and say, “You doin’ okay over there, kid?” And he looks up and grins and gives me a thumbs-up. We then go back to business as usual.

Honestly, I do fear that my introverted nature is short-changing my kids. But I also know that I’m working hard against my instincts to hide. I’m doing my best. (Most days. Sometimes I just hide so I can survive the day.) But more importantly, God placed these two kids in this family for a reason. He knows what they need, He knows what I need, and this must be working out some kind of good for each of us. It takes all kinds of mothers in the world, introverted and extroverted.

No parent can parent perfectly all the time. We all have quirks and shortcomings, just like our kids. But those characteristics are how God made us, because we’re made to work together. We’re part of a family, part of a body. No one part of a body can claim to be able to do it all.

As a mother, I know I can’t do it all. There’s no way I can meet every need my children have. But I serve a God who can, and while I’m hiding under my bed I will be praying that He’ll be making up for my shortcomings. Amen and amen.

“But our bodies have many parts and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part!” (1 Corinthians 12:18-19, NLT)

The links I promised you:

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16 Comments on Mama Is Hiding Under the Bed Because She’s an Introvert, and It’s August.

  1. Tanya M.
    August 22, 2013 at 9:03 am (4 years ago)

    Yes! Yes! And yes! To everything you said. Thank you, fellow introvert, for helping me appreciate wanting to hide out all alone in my bedroom more often than not. I’ve acknowledged my introversion for a while, but find it way too easy to use it as an excuse. My daughter sounds so much like yours (and my introverted son like yours, too). Confession: I love when she’s off playing with her friends because then she leaves me alone. Taking that verse to heart…

  2. Anonymous
    August 22, 2013 at 9:06 am (4 years ago)

    Jessie, I was in my bedroom hiding from my kids when I read this! Two woke up on the wrong side of the bed and the other one is in here with me now. He has been petting my head and is singing to me that I am king of the monkeys. Looks like another crazy day at the Vander Harts. Have a great day.


    P.S. I still have five kids; the big kids are off to work. 🙂

  3. Jessie Clemence
    August 22, 2013 at 9:24 am (4 years ago)

    Jennifer, you ARE the king of the monkeys. Wear your title with pride!

    Thanks for the giggle.

  4. Jessie Clemence
    August 22, 2013 at 9:26 am (4 years ago)

    I use my introversion as an excuse, too! But there are days I have to acknowledge that I am just DONE.

    Then I sneak chocolate and hide.

  5. Jennifer Vander Hart
    August 22, 2013 at 9:29 am (4 years ago)

    Hmm. My first reply has vanished. Anyway, I read this while hiding in my bedroom, so it was quite timely. Only one child found me. He started petting my head and singing to me that I was the king of the monkeys. It’s going to be a crazy day here at the Vander Hart home!

    August 22, 2013 at 10:45 am (4 years ago)

    I hear you. Both my wife and I have these tendencies difficult. It can make things challenging when it comes to your children etc. Anyway, good luck staying sane for the next 12 days or fitting underneath the bed.

  7. Jessie Clemence
    August 22, 2013 at 11:14 am (4 years ago)

    My first picture was me trying to fit under the bed… no go. At least not in the pajamas I was wearing at the time. Hence the feet sticking out. I had to angle myself at the foot of the bed before the timer went off. 🙂

  8. Delana
    August 22, 2013 at 11:20 am (4 years ago)

    It can be especially challenging when in a season of needing to homeschool one’s very extroverted daughter! And I totally hear you on the extroverted child’s need to be in constant proximity with people…even at night. She starts in her own bed but sometime during the night I become the jelly in the sandwich. 😉

  9. Jessie Clemence
    August 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm (4 years ago)

    I’ve often thought that I could not, simply could not, homeschool our daughter. It would have to be the very direst of situations. She just needs those friends, and I can’t do it!

    I give you a TON of credit for doing what you need to do! Way to go!

  10. myfivefreds
    August 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm (4 years ago)

    I can COMPLETELY relate. And now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure not one of my 5 children are introverts like I am. Explains a lot of things. When my husband works a lot of overtime, or plays a lot of sports …. look out kids! Momma is gonna blow! LOL. Only a few more days until school….

  11. Jessie Clemence
    August 27, 2013 at 8:13 pm (4 years ago)

    I’d like to run a poll–how many homeschooling moms are extroverts? How many regular school moms are introverts? I think my findings might be fascinating. 🙂

  12. myfivefreds
    August 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm (4 years ago)

    agreed! I was seriously pondering homeschool this year….and then we lived through the past 2 weeks of whining and boredom and fighting ….this momma needs a break!!!!

  13. Miriam
    September 2, 2013 at 8:13 pm (4 years ago)

    It’s funny how being introverted is suddenly cool. I feel like everyone I know says they’re an introvert… maybe we all just find each other. I have fairly intense kids so it’s definitely a challenge… I love being a mother but I struggle with meeting my own need for solitude and quiet. But I also have grown children and know how quickly the time goes, so I try to remember that someday the house will be very quiet indeed (and I’ll miss all the chaos).

  14. Jessie Clemence
    September 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm (4 years ago)

    I try to remember that too! Sometimes it works, but sometimes I still find myself hiding in a closet. 🙂

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