At first glance, it might seem that of course an introvert stay at home mom will thrive…she gets to stay home! Isn’t that where introverts want to be anyways?
The short answer is yes.
The long answer is also… umm, yes.
But life is a little more complex when you add in the “mom” part. Introverts love to be home alone. Introvert stay at home moms (who homeschool) are never alone.
You might be an introvert if just listening to other mom’s playdate schedules exhausts you.
Just being honest, I can’t even keep standing weekly dates of any kind. It’s too taxing. Not that the people that I’m spending that time with aren’t perfectly wonderful people.
It’s literally and completely an “it’s not you, it’s me” situation.
My kid’s have adjusted fine to my relaxed and laid back “let’s stay home” routine. I mean, they don’t really know any different and they don’t have much of a choice…but still. I will say, the level of excitement that a trip to the store elicits from my three year old is enough to convince me my kids aren’t necessarily the stay at home type just because I am.
Do I feel bad that I’m an intro and turn down more out-of-the-house event invites than I accept?
Not at all.
Also, don’t be fooled, I don’t actually get very many event invites. #becauseintrovertsarentusuallynetworkingawholelot
The facts are facts, moms can burnout… and when mom’s not happy aint nobody getting dinner… or something like that.
Introvert moms burnout, sometimes quicker, but for different reasons.
An extrovert mom might burnout because she overloads her schedule.
An introvert stay at home mom will burnout if she doesn’t keep her schedule pretty clear.
An extrovert mom might burnout because she doesn’t have a tribe of go-to good friends readily available.
An introvert stay at home mom will burnout if she doesn’t have a space to “retire to” to decompress and process with no one around.
Oh, yes, friends, mom burnout is real. Neither intro nor extro is exempt, it’s only a matter of understanding yourself and what causes you to wave the white flag of surrender.
We’ve all heard it before: you want to thrive, not just survive.
It’s true. Thriving is the bomb. And when you’re thriving, you can’t not be happy. They go hand in hand.
Okay, everything in me wants to say “get alone time every day.” That would definitely be beneficial and ideal. But life isn’t perfect, especially when you have three kids thrown into the mix and anything can happen.
I mean, I’ve accepted the fact that we now have such things as indoor rocks so… literally anything can happen.
Some people say don’t expect or rely on alone time because it may not happen and will cause you to be in a bad mood if you don’t get it. Those people are not introverts. What will cause me to be in a bad mood is not my expectation of alone time not being met. It’s the actual not getting alone time.
I need it like people need to eat. We can all go a few days without nourishing our bodies properly, but eventually, we will become faint and die.
That’s the law of the land.
Here’s the thing, my fellow introvert stay at home mama, I didn’t design me and you didn’t design you. We didn’t pick the introvert life, the introvert life was given to us by Someone much smarter than we are.
I used to think I was selfish to insist on being alone. Absolutely alone. Not semi alone semi in conversation with my nine year old who asks great questions almost all day long without stopping. But alone, door closed and locked thank you very much, alone.
But the truth is, my “physical people in my space threshold” is much lower than a lot of other peoples.
Create a space that feels like yours. All yours and only yours. The more private and away from regular life it can be, the better. Decorate it with all the things that scream you. Pop into that space throughout the day, even if it’s just to run your fingers along the spirals of your notebook longingly, promising yourself that you’ll be writing in it soon.
Talk with your husband. Tell him your needs. If he doesn’t know that you’re an introvert and you need that downtime away from everyone, then he can’t help make it happen for you. In my experience, because my husband is amazing, once he realized that introversion wasn’t a choice, or a flaw, he began insisting that I take that time for myself on the regular.
Mama, let. things. go. Save yourself the mental space. Give yourself grace. Be kind in yo’ mind.
I mean it. Stop comparing yourself to Susan who’s always at the church bake sales, bringing ten pies she made from scratch, heading every campaign, and hosting every missionary who comes through town in a pristine dwelling she cleans herself.
You’re not Susan.
You are you.
You do things like read, and write, and reflect. You sit and ponder and process.
When it comes to charity, you donate resources.
When it comes to hosting, you’re a great one on one listener and encourager.
Some people need to stay busy the way other people need to be still.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop seeing yourself as flawed. And stop believing that you have to change in order to please God or others.
We all have areas in which we ought to be growing. And we are all expected to be generous, welcoming, and hospitable. But a hand wasn’t made to do a foot’s job and you weren’t made to do an extroverts extracurriculars.
Take a deep breath. And release yourself from that.
One of the key characteristics of an introvert is their rich inner life, their thought life. They spend time inwardly digesting, breaking down the whole wide world into bite size pieces that they can handle.
At least I do.
There have been seasons in my life when thinking wasn’t necessarily happening, for me. Newborns, surgeries, family crisis, depression… there are times when there isn’t time or mental energy enough to think about the here and now, much less setting goals for the future.
What I’ve found, however, is that when I don’t have personal growth goals for myself… when I’m not actively thinking about ways that I can improve various areas of my life… when I’m not analyzing or contemplating some deep or profound aspect of myself or my beliefs…
I’m kind of like a lump on a log.
If someone asked me the three things that I most love to do, spending time with my family aside as would be the good and proper stay at home mom response, I would say: reading, writing, and thinking.
When I can’t think due to mental fog for whatever reason, I am not thriving.
Make space for your thought life and give yourself real, valuable things to think about.
Whether it’s how to be a better wife, mom, disciple, homemaker, homesteader, homeschooler, cook, candy apple maker, or scrapbooker… giving yourself something to work towards that you are responsible for, that doesn’t depend on your circumstances or surroundings, will put purpose back into stifled, stale stay at home momming.
Start journaling! The best way to unravel the ball of yarn that is your mind is to take hold of that end piece and put it down on paper. Once you have a rhythm, it will naturally unroll and you’ll find yourself decompressing in no time.
When your thoughts are jumbled, you’re stressed. When you’re stressed, you’re not thriving as an introvert stay at home mom or otherwise. Find ways to unjumble the mess!
And then find ways to turn your strengths (being alone and thinking things through) into even stronger strengths.