Especially When You’re an Introvert with Anxiety.
I’m an introvert. I’m also a mom.
I didn’t realize I was an introvert until graduate school. One of my required readings was Susan Cain’s “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.”
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Her book opened up a whole new world for me and made me realize why:
- Certain things, like bright lights and loud noises, make it difficult for me to focus.
- I am physically exhausted after socializing.
- I feel panicky when I haven’t had enough down time.
- I’m fine with my only friends being hours away and spoken to about once a year.
- I’m easily overwhelmed when I have difficulty with a simple task.
How Introversion Impacts Mommin’
Well, now I sound crazy, but let me tell you, I’m really not. I’m just an introvert. And, being an introverted mom is hard. Really hard. Here’s a few of my struggles:
- If I take #1 to play group and it’s in a location that’s loud and wild with children running everywhere, and other mom’s are going to talk to me. Well, I just can’t. I have to be able to focus on #1’s safety, and the noises are seriously going to hurt any chance of me focusing on a conversation.
- I can only take play group for so long. It’s tiring to socialize and that’s what mom’s are supposed to do while their children play, but geez, I’d rather be playing than having to carry on a conversation.
- I love my son, with all my heart and every fiber of my being. He is literally the greatest thing, ever. But, he also loves his Mama, and sometimes, Mama needs a break. Mama needs some down time to herself where she can listen to David Gray on Pandora and take a few deep breaths.
- My best friends live in different states. I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen either of them in person and I’m certain our last phone calls were well over a year ago. But, they’re the kind of friends you can pick back up with like you never left off. Thank goodness, because most days, I just don’t have the energy or calm about me to socialize that much more.
- As Mom’s, you know every day is different and every day is a struggle for perfection. It’s hard and sometimes the little things don’t work out and you feel like a failure. And this simple task that I could have mastered yesterday has officially kicked my butt today. It’s overwhelming.
I recommend you do some reading of Susan’s book and see if introvert is a hat you wear.
I’m an INTJ. I’m also a mom.
Show of hands, who has taken the Myers-Briggs personality test? Not you? Well, go take it here, then come right back.
If you’re not familiar with this test, it’s a 93-question, 15-minute personality test that will tell a lot about you. The results are broken down into 16 possible personality styles and the site will explain each.
Disclaimer: The test does cost $49.95 to take (I am not an affiliate and receive no compensation if you do or do not take the test).
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, try this on for size.
I’ve taken personality tests a few times in my life. Honestly, I can’t recall what I ranked as the first few times, but most recently, I clocked in as an INTJ.
How INTJ Impacts Mommin’
According to Myers-Briggs, Introversion-Intuition-Thinking-Judging personality types “have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others.”
You read that right, I am skeptical and independent. My high standards for others have been a downfall before. Hubs says you can see it in my eyes and that I’m far too obvious with my opinions. Until I figure out a way to change these personality traits, I guess I just have to live with them.
As a mom, that’s rather hard. Thankfully, with #1 still in the toddler age range, I haven’t put any crazy, authoritarian parenting styles to work. Though, I doubt I ever will seeing as how my thesis was all about that.
I have anxiety. I’m also a mom.
As I sit here and vomit honesty on you, I wonder how I’ll be perceived. Enter the anxiety. It’s hard enough being a mom, but what’s harder is being shamed for being a mom, or feeling like a failure as a mom.
I had a woman tell me a couple of weeks ago that I should remove “Mom” from my profile on a freelance website. She said it wasn’t professional. The rage that entered my soul was insane. How could she? Being a mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but also the best. I have learned more as a mom than I ever could at any job.
But then, I started to doubt. Maybe I should remove it. Maybe it wasn’t professional. Shut up, anxiety!
Mom is my name. It’s my life and, now, my brand. Nothing is more important, especially the opinion of some twit that doesn’t know how to edit her own APA citations.
How Anxiety Impacts Mommin’
Either way, mommin’ with anxiety sucks. Plain and simple. I worry about what I say at play group, what I wear, how I react. What if I’m not disciplining my child “correctly?” Did I accidentally slip a cuss word into conversation? What if #1 mentions that he refused to eat dinner tonight but somehow weaseled his way into Oreo’s and his 984th viewing of Toy Story?
So, how do I get through all this? One, it’s not easy. Two, I talk to Hubs.
How to Handle
Explain to Hubs
Hubs and I have been together for nearly five years. I would like to think he’s got me figured out. He can tell when I’ve had enough and when I simply can’t handle anymore, most of the time. Sometimes, though, I have to spell it out for him to understand.
I will say, once he catches on, he’s fully on board, for a bit. So, we’ve sort of come up with a plan to tackle my much needed introvert time, me time, Mom time, pre-panic attack time, whatever you want to call it. I…
This started out as Taking Five, but I quickly realized I needed the first five minutes to calm down and breathe deeply, and the next five minutes to recoup and get my game face back on.
Just having the first five minutes is great and all, but it doesn’t get the job done. It simply takes me back to zero, only to spike my anxiety quicker next time.
That extra five minutes allows me to get down to -10 and completely reset. When I reenter the chaos of Mom life, the panic and anxiety doesn’t spike as quickly or nearly as strong.
So, what do I do during those 10 minutes? Sometimes I cry, sometimes I don’t. I avoid social media and email. If I use technology at all it’s to turn on some calming music.
My favorite relaxation song is “Wah” by Bolo Ram. I had a yoga instructor play this in class once and I loved it so much that I still listen to it today.
And I lay down, sometimes on the floor, sometimes on the bed. I stretch out, close my eyes, and breathe deeply and slowly. In true yoga fashion, I feel the stress and anxiety leave through my fingers and my toes.
It helps that this song is exactly 10 minutes long, too, because I know when it’s over to dust myself off and get back to mommin’. And Hubs knows that I’m usually okay after my 10-minute break.
Your Turn to Tackle Your Introverted Anxiety
The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by mommin’, in need of introversion, or you’ve just had too much from the day, take 10 and try this. I assure you it will help.
Do you have some other techniques to help? Tell me in the comments below!
And remember, beyond anything, being a Mom is the hardest, most worthwhile job ever. You’re not going to be perfect. You don’t have to be Mom of the Year, because Mom of the Moment is just as great and much less stressful!
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